Explaining the Craps Table For Beginners
It might look simple – there are only two dice after all – but the game of craps is probably one of the most complicated and intimidating games you'll find in a casino, online or otherwise.
Things aren't helped by a rather convoluted-looking table, which is itself enough to put off beginners. If you've ever wanted to shoot dice with the best of them (virtually or with actual dice) then fear not – below is a comprehensive and easy round up of the craps table and what it all means.
Craps Table: Understanding the Basics
The first thing to understand is that the diagrams on the table are just the spaces for the different types of bets you can make. The game is based around simply betting on the outcome of the roll of two dice, but there are lots of ways the dice can fall (more on these bets later), which is why there are so many different fields.
The other thing you'll notice (mainly at a physical casino) is the staff around the table. There's the boxman, essentially the game supervisor and cash handler. The stickman stands opposite the boxman. Their role is to push the dice around with the stick, funnily enough, but they're also responsible for calling results and determining how fast games play out. Then, there are two dealers. They handle the bets and payouts.
Each game of craps can accommodate up to eight players, who can simply stand around the table next to the dealers. Players each take a turn being the shooter or dice roller and you'll normally be offered a variety of dice sets in the name of fair play (and possibly superstition, if you've got a lucky colour and so on).
What Bets Can You Make in Craps?
- The Pass Line | The pass line is closest to the players and is a single line that curves around the table. Pass line bets are the simplest ones you can make – you're betting that the dice will roll a 7 or 11 as the first number. You can also make a 'Don't Pass' bet on 2,3 or 12.
- Come Bets | Just after the 'Don't Pass' section of the table is the come bet area. Come bets are similar to pass line bets but you place them after the roll. This lets new players seamlessly bet on a game already in progress and any winnings here pay even money. Along with pass line bets, they're generally the best places to start for new players.
- Proposition Bets | The section between the stickman and the boxman, in the centre of the table next to the two 'field' sections, is where you make proposition bets. These are bets on a specific roll; you can also place hard-way bets here. One example of a proposition bet would be ten coming up as two fives before a seven is rolled.
- Field Bets | You'll easily spot the 'field' sections as they are clearly marked and right next to the 'come' areas. These spaces are where you bet on the numbers shown (so 2, 3, 4, 10, 11, or 12). Be careful of this area – it might seem the odds are on your side because so many numbers could come up, but statistically numbers like 5, 6, 7 and 8 are actually more likely to be rolled.
- Big Six and Big Eight Bets | These corner sections are pretty self-explanatory (thankfully). This is where you can place a bet that either a six or eight will come up before a seven. That's all there is to it!
Craps Lingo: Terms You'll Here at the Table
While it's not strictly table-related, it can help to know the slang for craps so you know what's going on during a game. Everyone probably knows 'snake eyes' means two ones, but there are lots of different phrases for both rolls and bets that can really help you make sense of the game. If you're planning to play a lot, you'll certainly pick them up over time, but to get you started here's a short list of the most used terms you can use to start off.
- Boxman: Table supervisor who sits between the dealers and opposite the stickman.
- Box Numbers: These are the place bet numbers; 4-5-6-8-9-10.
- Come out roll: The first roll of the dice to establish a point.
- Crap Numbers: The numbers 2,3 and 12.
- Hard Way: A bet on 4, 6, 8, or 10 that wins only if the dice roll as pairs; 2-2, 3-3, 4-4, 5-5.
- Hi-Lo: A one roll bet on 2 & 12
- Hi-Lo-Yo: A one roll bet on 2,12 & 11.
- Inside Numbers: Place bets on the numbers 5-6 -8-9
- Marker: The plastic disk used to mark the point. One side is printed “on” and the other “off”.
- Mark the Point: The dealer puts the Puck on the layout to indicate the point number.
- Off and On: Refers to the way that Dealers pays off COME BETS when a new come bet is the same number as one already established.
- Outside Numbers: Place bets on the 4-10 –5-9.
- Point: The number established by the come out roll.
- Right Better: A player with a bet on the pass line.
- Shooter: The player rolling the dice.
- Snake Eyes: Slang for the number 2. Also called aces.
- Stickman: The dealer with the stick that pushed the dice to the shooter and calls the rolls.
- Wrong Bettor: A player betting against the shooter.
That wasn't so bad was it? Now you know the basics of the table and what the bets mean, it's simply a case of checking over the rules (as well as any house rules your online or local casino might have), then off to find a place to shoot some dice. Remember, it's always best to bet low and conservatively, especially if you're completely new to the game.
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