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Casino Craps Primer
On this page we don't look at the exact game-play of the game, but at the aspects that are specific to land-based casino craps (as opposed to online casino craps). That is, how to not look like a fool when you start to play. Of course, it's your right to look like a fool, and Fat Tony doesn't mind, he's not the one looking like a fool. But if you don't want to ruin your rep, read on.
In the casino, craps is treated in a way I'm sure I don't understand yet. With the words used by the dealers and the pace of the game, it seems everything is geared towards scaring new players away. It really seems like they push any potential craps players away with all of these unnecessary complications. This might be done intentionally in an effort to attract a higher class of player to the craps table, but does that really outweigh the opportunity to introduce a number of new players to the game? Maybe it does, I don't run a casino so I can't really know, but it seems illogical to me.
To get started at a land-based casino, craps is played with 'checks' (the word 'chips' is only actually valid at the roulette table) and you'll want to purchase some either before arriving at the table, or once you get there. If buying at the table, make sure the dealer understands you want to buy checks with your cash, or he may assume you want to bet your whole bankroll! Be sure to buy in when the shooter hasn't yet been handed the dice, less chance your hand will get in the way (take that to mean, pay attention to your hands all the time at the table, they can easily get in the way!).
The sessions work the same way as described on the first pages of this site, but playing in the casino means you need to have decent etiquette too. This starts with paying some attention to the space you're taking up. People at the craps table need a little elbow room, but big guys like myself often lean into the table, elbows up and out, taking over a lot more of the table than we even realize. New players may want to join a table, but if there is no space to step up they can't. The people beside you will appreciate you watching who you bump too.
Superstitions abound in the casino, craps being one of the hardest hit games. Never, ever, say the word 'seven' out loud at the craps table. It's like the word devil, quote his name and he will appear. If you throw the dice and they go flying off the table, before anything, say (loud enough for the dealers to hear) 'same dice'. This isn't to avoid bad luck (like not saying seven), it's to bring you good luck. Nobody will get too offended if you forget to ask for the same dice. Never blow on the dice, its just gross, unless of course, you're a gorgeous woman. Gorgeous women seem to be able to get away with just about everything at the craps table, and can ignore all of the superstitions I just mentioned. Last but not least it's good luck when a 'virgin' girl (first time feelin' the felt) is rolling.
While understanding the superstitions of the game and acting accordingly
is one way to avoid looking like a fool at the casino craps table, you also
have to know how and where to place each bet. Read our page dedicated to
that prickly pear, the craps table
then move on to our craps rules page, which
explains a bit more about how the game works, why you are allowed to bet
on either outcome of many events, and puts things in perspective for you.
This is essential before diving into the world of learning each bet on the
table, which is split up for you into a good bets and bad bets section.