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Quatloos! > Quatloosia! > Quatloosian Guide to Gambling > Craps > Craps Crap

Craps: Helpful Hints and Craps Crap

Here we are going to go through some helpful hints and tips about playing craps, as well as debunk some of the more popular superstitions and rumors.

Helpful Hints -- In addition to the general Helpful Hints and Tips for the casino in general, these are specifically for the craps table:

  • Get a corner spot close to the dealers -- If you can't get a spot, wait! There are MANY important reasons for this:

    • You are going to betting only Pass/Don't Pass, Come/Don't Come or Odds, so you need to be close to those bets so that you can get your bets down quickly and efficiently.

    • You will be talking to the dealer nearest you, and telling him where to place your odds and how. If you are in the corner space, you will standing next to him and can speak in his ear so that it will be difficult for him to misunderstand you.

    • You will be able to look down the "line" at your bets, and more efficiently check to see that you are being paid the correct amounts on a win.

    • You don't have to worry about people being behind you, or watching the action on one side while somebody steals your chips or wallet on the other side, and you can protect your chips with one hand.

    • You will not be forced to break your concentration to make conversation with people on both sides of you.

    • You will not be making any Center Bets ("Crazy Crapper Bets"), so you don't need to be close to the center of the table -- and being as far away from those bets as possible reduces the possibility of an "irresistible impulse" bet.

  • Touch and throw the dice with your forefinger and thumb only, and make sure the dice hit the backboard -- Some "experts" say "Never throw the dice" while other "experts" have written whole books on "Rythmic shooting" and how you can magically cause the desired numbers to appear. This is all crap (excuse the pun). Throwing the dice is a fun part of craps which you should learn how to do, but at the same time do it right by using only two fingers and keeping the dice in sight of the boxman at all times. When you throw the dice, make a nice arc which causes the dice to land right in front of the wall, hit the wall, and then bounce back on the table. This (common) method of shooting will draw the least amount of attention to you by the casino personnel, which correspondingly will keep your own stress level low. Oh, and don't believe for a second that you can cause the dice to land any particular way, because you can't.

  • Keep an eye on the payouts -- It is not that dealers are dishonest, but there is a lot of action going on whenever a craps table is "hot" and they are human and make mistakes. If they do make a mistake against you, point it out, and if disputed ask the boxman for a ruling. If they make a mistake in your favor -- keep your mouth shut! If you don't know what the payouts should be, you have no business gambling.

  • Avoid Crowded Tables -- Although crowded tables are generally more fun, there is also a much higher likelihood that the dealers will get distracted and screw up your bets. So don't play at crowded tables. The best tables are often empty tables. There is NO truth -- nada, none, zilch -- to the statement that "an empty table is a cold table". Dice have no memory, and if you are the only bettor you can play at your own pace without much chance of the dealers screwing up your bets.

  • Beware Superstition -- On each and every roll, the odds of a particular number coming up are exactly the same. Dice have no memory and are controlled by nothing other than gravity, momentum, and random chance. Do not think that because the dice have been "cold" that it means they will eventually "warm up" or that because they have been "hot" they must now go "cold". You must wash all such thoughts from your mind, and concentrate on the odds on each individual roll.

Superstition/Craps Crap

  • "Because Something Happened, the Next Roll Will Be a _____"  -- Usually, when you hear this line it will end with "7", such as in "If one of the dice bounces off the table the next roll will be a 7". And in fact a 7 is the most likely roll, because it is easier to make a 7 than any other number. But this has to do with statistics, and nothing to do with luck. The dice are little cubes of clear plastic, and do not remember what object they last hit.

  • The Rythmic Shooter -- Some (self-proclaimed) experts will state that some craps players are "Rythmic" shooters, meaning that they can roll the dice in such a fashion that the 7 never appears, or does appear depending on what is needed. This is completely bogus. Because of the felt table, and the serrated foam wall, it is impossible to throw a certain number or predict what numbers might appear. People who claim that they can do this are "full of it".

  • An Empty Table is a Cold Table -- Empty tables are neither "hot" nor "cold" (remember, the plastic dice cubes have no memory).

Craps Trivia

  • The dice are clear plastic -- This is so that the boxman who examines the dice can look for weighted inserts which cause the dice to roll or not roll some number more than others. These are known as "loaded" dice, and they do exist. Usually, the cheater will take some dice and bore holes in them, and fill the holes with lead. But they can be quickly caught with clear dice.

  • There is a mirror on the wall opposite the boxman -- This is so the boxman can see the back of people's hands when they are rolling, and can look out for either changes in dice or somebody stealing chips.

  • "Right" bettors bet on Pass and Come, and "Wrong" bettors bet on Don't Pass and Don't Come -- The famous gambler known and "Jimmy the Greek" was a "wrong" gambler, meaning he always bet with the House that the 7 would appear before the number. Of course, Jimmy was best known for setting the spread the year Joe Namath and the New York Jets won the Super Bowl -- heavily against the Jets (in retrospect, Jimmy the Greek was a really lousy gambler). But whichever way you bet, the odds are about the same.

Additional Pages on Craps

  • Introduction to Craps -- What Craps is, how it is played, the mathematical odds, and more

  • Craps Strategies -- Analysis of the basic craps strategies, and several popular strategies for betting.

  • The Parity Hedge System -- Short history of the Craps system that took the gambling world by storm in the early 1970s -- until the system's most prolific gambler was found dead in the desert!

Books on Craps

For additional reading on Craps, vist our Gamblers' Reading Room

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