Craps Basics

Should Know

The Dice

Rolling the Dice

Everyone at the table has a chance to roll the dice but have to follow certain rules. You cannot just pick up the dice and do what you want with them. The stickperson will send you five dice and you pick two. The stickperson will take back the other three then it’s time to shoot. Follow these rules when handling the dice:

  • Do not go hand ot hand with the dice  – Once you pick up the dice with one hand do not switch them to the other hand. Keep them in the same hand! If you want to switch hands, simply place the dice back on the table and pick them up with your other hand.
  • Keep the dice over the table – Do not grab the dice then turn around because the beverage server is coming around asking for drinks. If something is so imperative that you need to turn around, either keep your arm stretched out over the table or put the dice down and do what you gotta do.
  • Hit the back wall with both dice – The back wall would be the wall on the opposite side that you are shooting from. It is not the wall closest to you. If you do not hit the back wall with both dice it is still considered a roll but you may be reminded by one of the dealers or the box to try and hit the back wall.
  • Do not pick anything up with the hand you have the dice in – Many people will pick up the dice and be ready to shoot but then decide they want to make a last minute bet. What do they do? They reach into the rail with the dice and pick up some chips to make a bet. This is common but a no-no. Use your other hand or put the dice back down.
  • Throw them down the middle of the table – There will be many times where the table is filled with bets and there might not be any other option but to hit some chips but please do not try to hit bets on purpose. Specifically: do not throw the dice in the Place bet area. When these chips get hit they very easily get mixed together and it becomes hard for the dealer to determine whose chips belong to whom. Nobody wants arguing at the table. Please try to not hit the mirror. When the dice hit the mirror they begin to chip and after enough abuse the dice will need to be replaced. It causes the game to stop so they can put on a new set and slows the game down.
  • Same Dice – If you happen to throw one or both of the dice off the table the stickperson will dump the bowl and you will have to pick two more. If you want the same die/dice you must tell the dealer “Same Dice” before they dump the bowl in order to get your same dice back.

When your turn to shoot is over the dice will move to the next person in a clockwise position. The stickman will dump the bowl so there are once again five dice and the next shooter will get to pick their own two and establish a Point

Watching the Dice

You must watch the dice at all times! The time to make bets is when the dice are sitting in the middle of the table and as soon at the dice leave the middle of the table you should be done making bets. If you don’t watch the dice and the shooter throws them down the table and hits you, you’ll very likely be blamed if a 7 is rolled and everybody loses. If you would like to make a bet while the dice are out than you can make a verbal bet.

Courtesies to the Shooter

The person shooting the dice bears the burden of whether or not the table makes or loses money. For most shooters, there is no skill in shooting the dice nor can they do anything to make the dice land on a certain number. Even though they can’t control the outcome of the game other players should still have some etiquette towards the shooter.

  • #1 Rule: Keep your hands up!! – When the shooter is about to roll the dice, do not reach down onto the table for any reason. If you want to make a last second bet then simply tell your base dealer what you want to bet. If you want to add or remove money from a bet, once again just tell the base dealer.
  • Don’t talk to the shooter as they are about to throw the dice – It’s pretty much ok for the table to root for the shooter as they’re going to shoot the dice but trying to ask a question or start up a conversation as they’re about to shoot is a big no-no.

No Roll

Not every roll will be considered a valid roll and they are called No-Roll’s. There are numerous situations that warrant a No-Roll such as the dice landing off the table or a player not throwing them properly. If there is a No-Roll the shooter will get the dice back and throw again. Check out the What is a Roll page for more on No-Roll’s.

Getting Hit with the Dice

The dice will be thrown off the table many times and many times they will hit the players. How a player reacts to being hit by the dice determines whether or not a roll will be considered valid. Be a statue. If you see the dice are going to hit you and you don’t move and the dice land back on the table, it will be considered a roll. As a very general rule of thumb, if a player makes a forward motion with any part of their body that keeps the dice on the table it will be considered a No-Roll. It is at the discretion of the Stickperson and/or Boxperson to determine whether a player made a motion that they considered to be “forward” and should say “That’s a roll” or “No-roll” before the dice come to a complete stop so no one can argue their decision was based on what the dice landed on.

More Useful Tidbits

Verbal Bets

Craps is fast game. Sometimes the dealers will move the dice so fast that you might not have time to make the bets you wanted. You don’t want to put your hands down after the dice are out so you’re allowed to make verbal bets. As long as the dealers can see that you have the money for the bet you want than you are allowed to make bets by saying them aloud. I.e. if the dice are out and you want $5 in the field, look at the dealer and say, “I want $5 in the Field”. The dealer will repeat it back to you and after the dice have landed you can put the money on the table.

No Call Bets

Tables that are labeled with “No Call Bets” mean you cannot walk up to a table and verbally ask for a bet without showing that you have the money for the bet. If the dealers can’t see money than it will be a “No Bet”.

Repeat Bet

Having a dealer repeat your bet is one of the most important things that need to happen in craps. Any bet that you ask for that is not repeated back to you can be considered a “No Bet”. Dealers repeat the bet to let you know they heard you, to make sure it’s the bet you actually want, and so the Box can know what’s happening at the table. If the dealer does not repeat your bet back to you then you must say it again until they do.

My Bets are 'On'

During the Comeout Roll, certain bets don’t win or lose. They are considered “Off”. If you want those bets to have a chance to win before the puck turns ON then you need to tell the dealer “I want my bets turned On”. You can say “all” or pick certain ones.

My Bets are 'Off'

During the Intermediate Roll all the bets are already turned ON. You can tell the dealer that you want all or any specific bets turned Off. Usually when you say “I want all my bets turned Off.”, the dealer will say “Odds work unless you pick them up” meaning that it’s your own responsibility to pick up any Odds you have for your Pass Line Bet. You might also hear “Hardways are also working unless called Off” meaning that you must also say that you would like your Hardways Off.

Self Service

A self-service bet is a bet that is taken care of by the player, not the dealers. It’s your responsibility to put the money in the bets’ correct spot, pick up any winnings, and know that the bet is actually yours. Players who don’t watch their self-service bets are inviting other players to claim those bets as their own. Check this page out for a complete list of self-service bets.

Lays it Plays

When you hear a dealer say “If it lays it plays.” they are telling someone that they have won a self-service bet but haven’t picked up their winnings. If a roll goes by without that player picking up their money than it will be added to the original bet regardless of whether the player wanted it or not.