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The game of craps is traditionally played with a pair of dice but now there are variations of the game that is played with specially marked playing cards or traditional playing cards to simulate the roll of the dice.  We will look at the games of craps and card craps here and discuss developments with craps and card craps -- with and without throwing dice.

BOTH CAESARS AND MGM CASINOS HAVE NOW DOWNGRADED BONUS CRAPS PAYS

Update June 24, 2017  Both MGM and Caesars have now downgraded the payoffs on Bonus Craps bets. The Bonus Craps bets pay if a shooter rolls the small numbers (2, 3, 4, 5, 6) before a 7, or the tall numbers (8, 9, 10, 11, 12) before a 7, and there is a big payoff if all the numbers (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12) are rolled before a 7.

At first blush it appears that the Caesars Casinos (Bonus Craps is offered at both Caesars Palace and The Flamingo and may be at other casinos) has better payoffs than the MGM Casinos (Bonus Craps is offered at Bellagio and Monte Carlo and may be at other casinos), but they actually have the same payoffs. Below are photos of the table layouts with the payoffs. The payoff of 31 for 1 at Caesars Palace is the same as 30 to 1 at Monte Carlo. A dealer explained the wording to me this way: "when you see the word for subtract one unit from the payoff."

In April 2017 Caesars Palace lowered the pays on
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the Bonus Craps bets. Few players noticed.

Bonus Craps payouts on a craps layout at the
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Monte Carlo, part of the MGM group.

The payoffs used to be significantly higher. The photos below show what the payoffs used to be at both the MGM (Bellagio is shown) and Caesars (Caesars Palace is shown) casinos.

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas
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Small, Tall, All bets layout on craps table

Bellagio Casino, Las Vegas
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Small, Tall, All bets layout on casino craps table

TAKE A FREE LESSON TO LEARN TO PLAY CRAPS

Update June 24, 2017  To new players, the game of casino craps appears to be both complicated and intimidating. Part of the reason is that there are so many different bets on a craps table, and another reason is that sometimes rolling the number 7 is a winner and sometimes rolling the number 7 is a loser. Also, there are times when you win with the numbers 2, 3, and 12, and then there are times when you lose with a 2, 3 and 12.

I first learned how to play craps by just walking up to the table and making bets. I learned more by reading a book. And then I learned even more by taking a free lesson at a casino about playing craps.

Several Las Vegas casinos offer free lessons. I have seen signs promoting free lessons at Cromwell and Monte Carlo on the Las Vegas Strip and also at Sam's Town on Boulder Highway. Sometimes, after taking a lesson, the casino will give the "graduates" a free chip to make their first bet. My advice is to take the lesson and take the chip.

Sign on a craps table in the craps pit at the
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Monte Carlo Hotel & Casino for free craps class.

CAESARS PALACE IN LAS VEGAS MAKES MORE SIGNIFICANT CHANGES TO ITS CRAPS GAME

Update June 2, 2017  Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, which is an industry leader when it comes to casino craps, has made three significant changes to its craps games over the past two months. The latest change has replaced Bonus Craps bets on about half of its tables with Repeater Bonus Bets. A couple of weeks earlier, Caesars Palace added a one-time bet that pays even money if the next roll of the dice is either under or over the 7. It has also lowered the payouts on the Bonus Craps bets. Read the full report by clicking here.

A FLAWED DIE AT A VEGAS CASINO CRAPS GAME

Update March 7, 2017  There are lots of rumors about casinos that use flawed or unbalanced dice. Usually these rumors are false and they are spread by craps players who were unlucky, or perhaps they were spread by dice influencers who were not able to control their shots. It's easy to blame the dice. But I recently played at a Las Vegas casino where there really was a problem with one of the dice. Click here to read the article "A Flawed Die At A Vegas Casino."

BONUS CRAPS HAS CHANGED HOW THE GAME OF CASINO CRAPS IS PLAYED

Update January 3, 2017  The "Bonus Craps" bets that are licensed by Galaxy Gaming and now appear at many casinos has caught on to such a high degree that it is changing how players think about and play the game of casino craps. For my special report on this subject please click here.

HOW DO YOU SHUT UP OBNOXIOUS CRAPS PLAYERS? MAKE THEM LOSE.

Update December 3, 2016  On another page of this website I have an article about craps etiquette and the proper way to play the game of casino craps so that the play is more enjoyable for you and other players and for the dealers. This is an article about players who are simply obnoxious.

On a recent visit to a casino in Las Vegas I walked up to a craps table where there were five players and when I took my position at the table I was the sixth player. I looked at the bets on the layout and immediately determined that three of the men at the table were "don't" or "darkside" players meaning they wanted the shooter to "seven-out" so their "darkside" or "don't bets" or "lay bets" would win. A young lady and a man at the table were "right way" bettors meaning they wanted the shooter to roll many numbers and make passes and keep the dice for a long time.

Since darkside players are in the minority, nearly all of them stand at the table quietly and collect their winnings while the right way players moan and groan about rolling a seven-out too quickly. But at this table the darkside players were very vocal. As the two right way players got ready to roll the darkside players called out "throw us a seven" and after the come out rolls and for each subsequent roll they would call "give us a seven now." Most darkside players quietly wait for the right way players to lose so they could win.

These darkside players became obnoxious as they collected more chips in their rails. They started to call out "this casino is a dream maker" and "we're living the dream" and "make us more money" and then they got obnoxious with the dealers. They started to call one of the women dealers "honey" and "cutey" and that's when a floor person said "why don't you call her by her name?"

The darkside players were making "lay bets" on the 4 and 10 which are two of the harder numbers to roll in craps because on two dice there are only 3 ways to make a 4 (1,3 and 3,1 and 2,2) and only 3 ways to make a ten (4,6 and 6,4 and 5,5). A lay bet means they believe the shooter will throw a 7 before a 4 or 10 is thrown.

The darksiders must have had a nice round of wins before I arrived because each of them was now betting $1,000 or more on the lay bets on the 4 and 10, and they were being very verbal about their success and very verbal abusing the right way players and the female dealer. So how do you shut up obnoxious players? You make them lose.

If there's one thing about the game of craps it's that trends don't last forever. Suddenly the two other right way players and myself started throwing 4s and 10s during out turns as the shooter, and suddenly the darksiders' chip stacks dwindled and almost as suddenly they shut up.

To read my article about dice and craps etiquette please click here.

SHOOTER HAS A "MONSTER ROLL" BUT LOSES ALMOST EVERYTHING ON IT

Update November 6, 2016  This is a sad story and unfortunately (for the shooter at a craps game) it's a true story. This story is about a craps player who had her turn with the dice as the shooter, and while she had a roll that lasted nearly a half hour, and helped other players at the table win a lot of money including hitting the "All" for the Small, Tall, All Bonus Bet, she went virtually broke.

Here's what happened. A young lady got the dice to be the shooter at a $10 minimum bet table and had in her rail about $400 in chips. She made the minimum $10 passline bet and started to roll. It was going to be a long roll in which she hit every possible number before the seven-out which meant that players who bet the Small, Tall, All Bonus Bet all received big payoffs that included a 176-for-1 payoff on the All. But she didn't make the STA bet. In fact, she didn't even make any substantial bets on the box numbers, so when they hit during her turn with the dice, she didn't get much in winnings. What she did wrong, however, will make you shake your head in disbelief. What she did was have a $10 bet on the Field on every roll and what she did was have bets ranging from $5 to $25 on the high and low (aces and boxcars) on every roll. While she was making passes and hitting numbers for everyone else at the table, her losses were much greater than her wins. And, when the final seven-out came she was left with about $35. Other players at the table were celebrating with winnings of a thousand dollars or more, but instead of betting on the numbers that would give her a return, she literally threw chips and her money on longshots that only hit twice (aces once and boxcars once) during her entire time as the shooter.

Having the dice as the shooter for a long time is only part of what's needed to win at casino craps. Even if you don't have a long roll but if you make the bets on the numbers that hit you can still win money and come out ahead.

Making matters worse for the shooter was that several of her girlfriends were with her at the craps table. They had never played before so the girlfriends followed the lead of their friend, the shooter. And since I stood next to the shooter, I couldn't help overhearing the girlfriends asking why they didn't win money like everyone else at the table.

At one point, when the shooter was throwing $25 chips as bets on the high and low I looked at her and whispered "stop, they're not hitting." She responded with something like "they are overdue." Well, when her seven-out came they were not only overdue but they weren't coming.

As the shooter and her girlfriends walked away from the table, I heard some of the girlfriends say that they had lost most of their gambling money. The shooter said "but I'm still up." And I said to myself "really?"

BAD MATH ADVICE ABOUT PLAYING CRAPS

Update May 11, 2016  There is some bad advice -- math advice -- about playing casino craps. The advice, and you will see it online and in magazine articles, is to make place bets on the 5, 6, 8 and 9 because these bets have "a fifty percent chance of winning." That advice is wrong.

First, let me explain to you why that suggestion is being made:

There are 36 combinations of two six-sided dice. Of those 36 combinations there are 18 cominations that make up the numbers 5, 6, 8 and 9. So the basis of the suggestion is that when you have money on the 5, 6, 8 and 9 you have a 50% chance of winning when two dice are thrown on a craps table.

Now, I want to explain to you why that suggestion is bogus and is just bad advice: 

While it is true that there are 36 combinations on two dice, and while it is true that the numbers 5, 6, 8 and 9 represent 18 (50%) of those 36 combinations, you can't win all four place bets at the same time. You can only win one of the four -- which is the number that hits. And, to make matters worse, you can lose all four bets (the 5, 6, 8 and 9) if a 7 is rolled.

Now let's look at the true math of the game. First the combinations of dice that give you the numbers:

5 can be 4,1 or 1,4 or 2,3 or 3,2 for a total of 4 combinations.
6 can be 4,2, or 2,4 or 1,5 or 5,1 or 3,3 for a total of 5 combinations.
8 can be 6,2 or 2,6 or 3,5 or 5,3 or 4,4 for a total of 5 combinations.
9 can be 6,3 or 3,6 or 4,5 or 5,4 for a total of 4 combinations.
7 can be 1,6 or 6,1 or 2,5 or 5,2 or 3,4 or 4,3 for a total of 6 combinations.
 

When you play craps the dice will have one outcome. When you place the 5, 6, 8 and 9 to win each of those bets stands on its own and they don't all win together. So in reality you are betting that the 5 will be rolled before the 7, and you are betting that the 6 will be rolled before the 7, and you are betting that the 8 will be rolled before the 7 and you are betting that the 9 will be rolled before the 7.

This simply means that betting on the 5, 6, 8, 9 does not give you a 50% chance of winning. The reality is that, for example, when you bet on the 5 you have 4 chances to win and 6 chances to lose on each roll.

Now, there is nothing wrong if your craps strategy is to place the 5, 6, 8 and 9. If you are comfortable with that go ahead and make those bets. But remember that betting on those numbers, even though they represent 18 of the 36 combinations of two dice, do not have a 50% chance of winning.

THE CRAPS PIT AT BELLAGIO

Update May 5, 2016  I like the craps pit at Bellagio in Las Vegas, but I didn't always. About ten years ago I had two nasty incidents involving dealers and floormen at Bellagio who didn't like that I was setting my dice and using a soft throw to the back wall. In one case the dealers refused to pay my winning bets, and in the other case a floor person asked me to leave the casino after scanning my player's card into their system. I don't know what came up on the screen. Bellagio's management later apologized to me and said I did nothing wrong but the dealers did and they were going to be "retrained."

After not playing at Bellagio for many years, a host at Bellagio invited me to return to the casino last fall, and I've played there several times. Now, I really like my experience in the craps pit. The dealers are professional and friendly. The boxmen and floormen are also professional and friendly. Playing there is really enjoyable.

There are other things about the craps pit that I also enjoy.

I like the environment. Bellagio is a beautiful casino and there isn't a rowdy crowd there. I also don't have a problem there with excessive smoking and some of the craps tables are no-smoking tables. The tables are clean and cocktail waitresses and porters keep the shelves under the tables clean. The layouts are clean and the lighting is good so that you can see the dice on the tables and there are no shadows on the table.

I mention that there are no shadows because at several other casinos lighting at the craps tables can be poor and the dice can fall into the shadows making it difficult for players to view. While I trust the dealers to make the correct call, I like to see how the dice land. It doesn't happen often but there can be a dispute about a call if one or both of the dice are tilted.

I like the tables at Bellagio because they are a good size which means that they are not too big. Some casinos have very long and wide tables that to me resemble aircraft carriers. All of the tables at Bellagio appear to be the same size so I feel comfortable on any of their tables. At casinos with tables of different sizes, I prefer the smaller tables. The Bellagio tables also have a soft bounce to them. I hate casino tables with padding that cause the dice to bounce around too much and often bounce off the table.

I also like that Bellagio has the Feature Bets called the Small, Tall, All Bets. I wrote more about this on this page. I think the Feature Bets are a fun bet and give you a chance to win a lot of money with a small wager. When I am on a tight budget I make a passline bet with a small bet on the Small, Tall and All. A $1 bet on the All pays $175 and you don't even have to make a single pass to win that money.

Things have certainly changed at Bellagio when it comes to shooters who set their dice. While I ran into trouble with some dealers years ago, today I have not seen any objection to shooters setting their dice and using a soft or controlled throw. The only time dealers have objected to a shooter was when the shooter took too long bouncing the two dice against the wall below him before actually throwing the dice. In this case the shooter was going through this routine four or five or even six times and even the other players were tired of it.

The dealers and boxmen, I discovered, are also tolerant of a player who regularly visits on weekend mornings. He has a strange routine of setting his dice and using a controlled throw but he bets both the passline and the don't pass line. If you bet like that you can't win any money! In fact, all he can do is lose because any passline win will cause a loss on the don't pass, and if a 12 is rolled the Don't Pass doesn't win anything but the Passline bet loses. But sometimes this "doey-don't" player might place a six or an eight bet for a couple of rolls and only a couple of rolls. If he wants to practice his throws, he'd be better off getting his own craps table for his home rather than play the way he does. The dealers watch as he takes his turns and cordially service his play.

CROMWELL STARTS 100X ODDS

Update April 26, 2016  The Cromwell Casino, at the corner of Flamingo and Las Vegas Boulevard, now has 100X odds at its craps tables. The maximum flat bet for 100X odds is $50 so the maximum odds is $5,000. The Cromwell has a $10 minimum bet on its craps tables. For Field bettors, Cromwell pays double on the 2 and on 12. Cromwell also has the Fire Bet with a maximum $10 bet.

Certain craps players prefer to play where they can bet heavily on the odds because the odds bet in craps has no mathematical advantage for the house. It also has no edge or advantage for the player.

The 100X odds started about two weeks ago, and I was told this is not a promotion. "It's permanent until management says it isn't," one employee told me. The Cromwell has always paid 2X on the aces and midnight on the Field. Ironically, no one who plays 100X odds because of concern for the math of the game would make a Field bet that only pays double on aces and midnight.

The Cromwell is a Caesars Total Rewards casino and members of the Total Rewards program will see a little advantage in making larger odds bets because Cromwell includes the "odds" in its ratings for Tier Points and Reward Credits in the Total Rewards Program. This is really significant because some casinos do not include "odds" in player ratings because the odds bet has no theoretical edge for the casino and those casinos do not want to offer comps for bets that don't carry a house edge. However, some casinos look at the "odds" differently and realize that the no-edge "odds" bet is linked to the flat bet, and the house does have an edge on the flat bet.

But with that said, how table bets are rated is a mystery. While we know how many tier points and reward credits are given for slot and video poker play, we don't know the formula for rating table play. We can guess at the formula, but the formula has not been published.

NEW CRAPS TABLES, LAYOUTS AT CAESARS PALACE

Update April 19, 2016  The new craps tables with new layouts are now being used in the main casino at Caesars Palace Las Vegas. Please click here for our special "Caesars Palace Craps Pit" page with photos and a discussion about the new craps tables and why some of the changes were made to make the game easier and more efficient for the dealers with a new ergonomic design.

THE CALL BET SCAM AND THE HOP BET SCAM EXPLAINED

Update April 13, 2016  One of the ways dealers and players can steal from casinos is by running a call bet scam at craps. A call bet is a verbal declaration that a bet is made. A dealer or "suit" or manager must acknowledge the bet since there isn't a chip or chips on the table in the designated position on the craps table layout. In effect a call bet is a bet made by the player to pay on his honor if it loses.

Many casinos have signs at their tables prohibiting call bets. Some casinos will accept a call bet if they know the player or if the player has chips in his rack to pay or has an available credit line to cover the bet.

The call bet scam is when a dealer working with a player or players at the table pays off a call bet as a win when it wasn't actually made, or if the call bet that was made actually didn't win. In the case of the call bet scam at the Bellagio, it was was alleged that the the players would mutter what sounded like a call bet on a particular number and the dealers paid the bet even if the number muttered was not the number that appeared on the dice.

The Bellagio call bet scam worked for a while because that casino permitted call bets. For example, if a player muttered "a thousand on 3-2" but the dice showed 4-1 the dealer would pay the call bet as if it won.

Many casinos now have more intricate table layouts that have all conceivable bets marked on the layout. This is an added layer of protection for the casinos who also do not accept call bets because now every possible bet has a position on the layout and security cameras can see if the bets are "booked" with chips in the appropriate positions on the layouts.

Casinos with these new, detailed, table game layouts can avoid another dealer/player scam known as the hop bet scam. Until recently few casinos had a layout with hop bets which are one-roll bets for particular results. For example, a hop bet might be 3-2 which means the next roll of the dice would show a 3 and a 2. This bet might pay 15-1. Until layouts with hop bets were available, dealers would place the bet (chips) on the layout in an unmarked area and say "hopping 32." But without actual markings on the layout, dealers and players had an opportunity to cheat the casino with payoffs on hop bets that didn't actually hit. For example, a player might mutter "hopping 32" but a dealer might pay the hop bet when the dice showed 44.

PERFECT DATES FOR PLAYING CRAPS?

Update April 6, 2016  Many craps players are superstitious, and it seems that experienced, long-time craps players are naturally superstitious. There are lots of craps superstitions including that the shooter will 7-out when there is a change in the stickman, or that when a first-time craps players is the shooter (a craps virgin) that player will have a monster roll. Some superstitions involve the date that players play.

If one of your superstitions includes the power of numbers and numerolgy you might want to be playing craps tomorrow -- April 7, 2016 because in digits the date is written 4/7/16 and when you add 4+7 it equals 11 which is a lucky number in craps, and when you add 1+6 it equals 7 which is a natural winner on the come-out roll. If you add all four digits you get 4+7+1+6 which equals 18 which is also a lucky number for some people.

In case you can't roll dem bones on 4/7/16 you might be able to make it to a casino on 7/4/16 when adding the digits equals the same sums.

ECONOMIC CHANGES FOR THE GAME OF CRAPS

Update March 23, 2016  I think there is a good reason for casinos that offer craps to change out their smaller craps tables for larger ones. I don't think the dealers will be happy about this, but I think the corporate bean counters will. Some players might not think there is any difference in their results or luck if tables are a bit longer or a bit wider, but those craps players who prefer short tables because they are attempting dice influencing might hate the idea of bigger tables.

Let's put aside the concerns of dealers who don't want to serve more players, and let's put aside the concerns of dice influencers and dice controlers who think they'll do better on shorter tables. Let's concentrate on what the corporate bean counters are thinking about longer and wider craps tables.

Imagine, for example, Casino Mendelson has seven craps tables. Usually a craps table is set up to handle seven players on each side, for a total of 14. If Casino Mendelson has seven tables and they are filled to capacity there can be a maximum of 98 players.

Now suppose Casino Mendelson decides to order new, larger craps tables that can fit eight players on each side. But instead of ordering seven craps tables, the Casino Mendelson bean counters decide to order just six tables. Having six tables instead of seven tables means that Casino Mendelson will not have to have the same number of dealers and floormen (or boxmen if still used). By eliminating one table crew, Casino Mendelson will not need the three working dealers plus the dealer who rotates for breaks, plus the suit or suits (boxman or floorman) supervising the game.

But at the same time, having larger tables will not have much impact on revenue. Consider this:

With larger tables, Casino Mendelson can have two sides with 8 players on each side for a total of 16 players. If the casino is filled to capacity and all six tables are filled there can be a maximum of 6 X 16 or 96 players.

So what did the bean counters accomplish? With larger tables they have almost as many players but save the salaries of at least five employees.

There are other savings, too. Lower costs for licensing fees for special bets on the table layouts, and with 16 positions at a table instead of 14 positions, there is less pressure to open an additional table.

One of the biggest changes in craps forced by economics was when Caesars Palace became the first casino to eliminate boxmen who supervised the games and was in charge of the table bank of chips. When Caesars eliminated the boxmen the dealers were forced to take on new responsibilities handling buy-ins and cash-outs. Yes, that slowed the games and may have hurt gaming revenue, but the Caesars move has spread to more and more casinos.

Adding larger tables could be the next wave to spread as casinos try to control costs.

CAESARS PALACE CHANGING ALL OF ITS CRAPS TABLES

Update March 22, 2016  Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, one of the most famous casinos with one of the largest and best craps pits in the gaming industry, is changing all of its craps tables. The new tables are expected to be larger to give players a little more elbow room. There will also be a new color scheme for the layouts but the Galaxy Gaming Small, Tall, All Bonus Game will continue. Below is a photo of the craps pit in the Palace Casino at Caesars. What you are looking at is history as these tables go back to the opening of Caesars in 1966. The new color scheme is already being used on layouts at blackjack tables. Starting late Sunday, March 20th, Caesars started closing down its craps tables and removed the bank of chips, in preparation for the removal of the old tables and the delivery of the new tables. It's not clear how many new tables will be placed in the Palace Casino and how many of the new tables will be in the Forum Casino at Caesars. There is one table currently in the Forum Casino but it is used only during peak hours.

The photo below was taken when there was a small fire in an escalator in the Palace Tower at Caesars which is why the casino is empty. But the tables had already been shut down.

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, craps pit.
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Original craps tables going back to 1966 opening.

NEW STRATEGIES FOR PLAYING CASINO CRAPS

Update February 27, 2016  The game of craps has changed over the past couple of years with new jackpot bets including the Fire Bet and the Small, Tall, All Bets which are also called "feature bets" or "bonus bets" and with those new jackpot bets the strategies that some players use when playing craps has also changed. Click here to read more about "New Casino Craps Strategies" on a special page.

THE SMALL, TALL, ALL BETS IN CASINO CRAPS GAMES

Update February 23, 2016  More than ten years ago I saw a special bet on a craps table at the Sam's Town Casino in Las Vegas caled the Small, Tall, All bet. It was actually three different bets but players tend to make all three and refer to it as a single bet. To win the bet you have to roll certain numbers before a 7. If you roll various numbers but there is a "winner-7" on a come-out roll you lose the numbers that you made towards winning the Small, Tall, All bets.

Since that first time I saw the Small, Tall, All bet at Sam's Town certain feature or bonus bets have increased in popularity in craps games and now you can find the Small, Tall, All bets at many Las Vegas casinos all over the Vegas Valley. I've played it at Bellagio, Caesars Palace and Red Rock casinos.

To win the "Small" a player needs to roll a 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 before a 7 and at most casinos this bet pays 35-to-1. To win the "Tall" a player needs to roll a 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 before a 7 and this usually pays 35-to-1. And if you happen to get the Small and the Tall before rolling a 7 you win the "All" which pays 175-to-1 which is a very nice jackpot.

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas
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Small, Tall, All bets layout on craps table


There is no strategy for playing the Small, Tall, All bets at craps except to avoid rolling a 7. But with most craps players a 7 on a come-out roll is a winner -- except if you're betting the STA bets. If you are betting the STA you never want to see a 7. If you've ever been at a craps table when there are players betting the STA and there is a winner-7 rolled on the come-out roll you might hear the stickman call "seven a winner, but also a loser" or something like that.

The other ironic part about the STA bets is that those betting the Small, Tall and All need the craps numbers of 2, 3 and 12 to win their bets. While most craps game players want the point to be repeated (4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10) and they want the box numbers (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10) to be repeated to win money, those betting the STA don't care about repeaters as much as they care that every number but the 7 is rolled.

Bellagio Casino, Las Vegas
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Small, Tall, All bets layout on casino craps table

Should you bet the STA bets? You should if you think you have the ability or the skill or the luck to avoid rolling a 7 and the ability or skill or luck to roll all of the other numbers but the seven.

If anyone thinks they can influence the dice when they shoot, or if they claim to have a high Sevens-to-Rolls ratio (SRR) which means they can roll sevens fewer than what is expected by random rolling, these shooters should definitely be playing the STA bets.

One thing I really like about the STA bets is that you never have to roll a number twice to win. The popular bonus or feature bet called the Fire Bet requires that you make all six different "points" on the craps table before a 7-out. So to win the Fire Bet a shooter must throw a four twice, and a five twice, and a six twice and so on so that every point is made. With the STA bets rolling the same number twice is not required. In fact, you can win the ALL for a payout of 175-to-1 plus the SMALL for a payout of 35-to-1 plus the TALL for a payout of 35-to-1 without even making a passline win.

What is difficult, of course, is avoiding the 7. Rolling a 7-out will cost "right way" players their money but rolling 7s even on the come-out roll could cost STA players a lot more.

I've seen players betting $10 on the passline and $5 on each of the STA bets and when a "winner 7" is rolled on the come-out roll the player is paid $10 for his passline wager but he loses the $15 on the STA bets. For this reason it is wise to have the combined STA bets equal or total less than your passline bet. So, for example, if you wanted to bet $5 on each of the STA bets you might want to have $15 or even $25 on the passline.

Should you include a "Big Red" or "Any 7" on the come-out roll to insure your STA bets? I know players who do bet the Any-7 or even the one-roll bets of 2-5, 3-4, 1-6 as a hedge for their STA bets. But most players don't want to make another bet with a high house edge like the Any-7 when they are already making the high house edge STA bets.

IS THE "ODDS BET" REALLY THE BEST BET ON THE CRAPS TABLE?

Update February 29, 2016  The odds bet on the passline, and the odds bet on the come bets in craps, are often called the best bets on a craps table because they have "no house advantage" and are paid "at true odds" with no edge or discount on the payoffs.  These are some of the technical terms used in playing craps and a craps newcomer should check to be sure they correctly understand what house advantage and edge and true odds really mean.

While the "odds bet" has no house advantage, not all odds bets have the same chance of winning -- and too many players forget this when they go to a craps table with a limited bankroll.

Even though the pass line odds bet on the 4 or 10 has no advantage for the house -- and also no advantage for the player -- the player still only has a one in three chance of winning either the odds bet on the 4 and on the 10.  Yes, the odds bets are paid at the same true odds of three-to-one.  What this means is you have a one in three chance of winning and you will get paid three to one when you win -- so no advantage for the casino, and no advantage for the player either.

But I look at the odds bets differently, and perhaps if your bankroll is limited you are better off betting only the passline or the don't pass with a house edge of only 1.4-percent, with place bets on the 6 and 8 which have a house edge just slightly higher than 1.4% and leave it at that.

The problem with making those hefty "odds bets" is when the point is more difficult to hit.  Remember, you will hit the 4 or 10 less often than you will hit the 6 and 8 or 5 and 9.  Keep in mind that some casinos allow you to bet as the odds as much as 100-times your original bet, while most allow for 3 times the original bet on the 4 and 10, 4 times odds on the 5 and 9, or 5 times the orginal bet when the 6 and 8 are the point.

If you have the bankroll to play the long term expected math, go ahead and bet the odds and by all means seek out the casinos offering 100X odds.

My classic observation of the underfunded "odds bettor" is this:

A young couple walks up to a $25 craps table with only $100.  They never played craps before and ask the dealer how to play.

"Put $25 on the passline," the helpful dealer tells them.  And they put one of their four green chips on the passline.
The shooter throws the dice for the come out and the number 4 is rolled as the point.
"What now?" the young man asked.
"Put down your $75 as odds -- it's the best bet on the table," the helpful dealer tell them.
And the remaining chips go as odds on the 4.

At this point, according to the math of the game, the odds bet on the 4 is the best bet on the table because if it wins, it is paid at true odds, without any commission or fee paid to the casino or withheld by the casino.  But -- that's if it wins.

The shooter then starts a monster roll... the numbers 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10 are rolled and repeated over and over again.  The rest of the table is raking in chips from their place bets on the numbers, but the young couple with only a bet on the passline and full odds on the point of 4 stands and looks and waits for the point of 4 to hit.  But it never does.

And as the the chips are scooped away from the passline and the odds after the 7 out, the young man says to the dealer "I thought you said it was the best bet on the table?"

Mathematically it was the best bet on the table but it was not a bet that was more likely to win.  Any of the inside numbers -- the 6 and 8, or 5 and 9 -- were more likely to be rolled than a 4 or its sister number the 10.  With a limited bankroll, that couple should have bet the passline and used their remaining chips either for come bets or hold them for future passline bets, or to place perhaps a 6 or 8.  The odds bet on the 4 was not the best bet on the table.

Well, that's how I see it.  How about you?  What's your idea of a good betting strategy at craps?  Please share your thoughts by sending me an email at Alan@AlanBestBuys.com and let me know if I can include them in a future article.

THE FIRE BET COMES TO A CALIFORNIA CARD CRAPS GAME

Update November 22, 2012  The "Fire Bet" is now available at California card craps, and I was expecting this to happen ever since Shuffle Master bought the company that developed the "Fire Bet" for the game of craps.  Harrah's Rincon recently installed new craps layouts with places for the Fire Bet, and there is now a sign and information booklets on display.  The Fire Bet is available at several of the casinos operated by Caesars Entertainment, and Harrah's Rincon is operated by a unit of Caesars Entertainment for the Rincon Band of Indians in San Diego County.

Poster announcing Fire Bet
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at Harrah's Rincon Casino in San Diego.

The Fire Bet at Harrah's Rincon is similar to what you will find at Las Vegas casinos.  If the shooter makes four different passes (points only, come out winners do not count) the bet pays $25 for every $1 bet.  If the shooter makes five different passes the bet pays $250 for every $1 bet.  If the shooter makes all six different points the Fire Bet pays $1,000 for every $1 bet.  At Rincon the minimum Fire Bet is $1 and the maximum is $5.  In Las Vegas you will find some casinos that allow a maximum of $10 on the Fire Bet.

I was at a Vegas casino about a year ago when a craps table was reserved for a high roller and the Fire Bet maximum was raised to $100.  I don't know if that high roller was also a good shooter or a lucky shooter, so I can't tell you if he got any payoffs on the Fire Bets.  But imagine the possibility of getting a $100,000 pay day on a $100 bet.

What will appeal to craps players is that the Fire Bet is, at most casinos, the only "jackpot bet" available.  Craps for the most part is a game that requires big bets to win big money.  The Fire Bet opens the possibility to win a thousand dollars for just a dollar.

CAESARS PALACE ADDS NEW FELT LAYOUTS TO ITS CRAPS TABLES

Update November 16, 2012  This report is accurately titled: "Caesars Palace Adds New Felt To Its Craps Tables."  It's titled that way because that is what Caesars Palace in Las Vegas is doing.  Instead of removing the old craps table felt and layout, workers were installing a new felt and layout on top of the old, existing layout.  In the photo below you can see a table getting ready for the new layout.  The sides of the table have been removed, and the new felt is being readied to be placed on top of the old.  I watched as it was done.  Several years ago I was there when new layouts were installed, but years ago the old layouts were removed first.  You can see the old layout at the top of the picture, with the new layout on top of the table.

So now I have to wonder if this will change the "bounce" of the tables?

Some casinos put liners or padding under their layouts.  Some actually put nothing more than newspaper under their layouts to cushion the dice.  You don't want the layout directly on top of the wood base of the table because the dice edges could be worn away or even chipped faster, so you do want some sort of cushion.  But I am wondering if the layout on top of layout might be too much of cushion and give a soft bounce to the table.

If you are a regular at Caesars and are used to the bounce they have, playing on these tables with the new layouts might mean you have to adjust how you throw the dice.  But in reality, all tables at all casinos have a different, unique bounce.  No two tables are alike -- and even tables within a casino are never alike.

New craps table layout being installed
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on top of old layout at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas.

PLAY CRAPS AT YOUR COMFORT LEVEL: ADVICE FOR ALL GAMBLERS.

Update September 10, 2012  Several years ago, a friend and I were at Caesars Palace and we wanted to play some craps together.  But it was a Saturday night and all of the tables were filled -- not a single spot was available on the various tables that required $10 and $25 minimum bets.  But there was one table open -- and it was a $100 table.  It was well above his bankroll and well above my bankroll.  Normally, I bet "odds" on the pass line and place several numbers.  But at $100 a bet, I was limited to one bet on the table -- the passline.

I had several good rolls on that table.  Good rolls meaning I threw lots of "numbers" but because I was playing over my limit and well above my comfort level, I did not have multiple bets on the table.  One of the dealers said to me, "Alan, you should have made $25,000 the way you are shooting."  What he meant was had I my "bets out" on that $100 table, I would have been hitting a lot of pays.

The fact is a lot of craps players play at tables that are "too rich" for their bankrolls and as a result cannot take advantage of the best bets that make the best pays -- and that's the odds bets.  I originally wrote about this on our Las Vegas Forum and I am repeating the article here.

The game of craps has been described as "two games in one." The first game is the "come out roll" where (for the pass line shooter) a 7 or 11 is an immediate win. The second game is when a point is established during the come out roll -- and a point can be a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10.

In craps a 2 or 3 or 12 is a "loser" for the pass line player on the come out roll.

So here's a question for you: If you are a pass line player do you load up your bet money on the pass line hoping for a 7 or 11 on the first roll, or, do you make a smaller bet on the pass line and saving money to bet "odds money" after the point is established?

In the movie "Indecent Proposal," Demi Moore throws the dice for Robert Redford who has one million dollars on the pass line -- and she throws a seven and wins. I love this clip, watch:

But was it really a smart play for Robert Redford's character to put all of the bankroll "on the line"?  (It certainly was a great plot line for the movie!)  Some players do this all the time in craps -- they put more money on the pass line and sacrifice the odds bet which actually returns more money for a "winner" on a point than is paid for a come out winner.

One reason why players do this is that they are playing at denominations that are too high for their budgets. You should only play at a craps game where the denomination allows you to be full odds. If you can't bet full odds, then move down in a denomination.

When you play at denominations that are too pricey for your budget you tend to make what amount to "stupid adjustments" in strategy.

For example, at a $100 craps table, a player with a limited budget might bet $100 on the pass line but not bet the odds because his budget is strained just to make the pass line bets.

Here is how the same amount of money with odds and without odds changes a payout:

Let's say you have $60 to bet when a point of 6 is rolled.

A. If all $60 is placed as the "flat bet" and wins, this pays even money, or $60.

B. With traditional 5X odds (casinos allow you to bet five times the amount of the flat bet as odds on the 6), a player would have $10 on the pass line for the flat bet, keeping $50 for odds. If the point of six is made, the payoff would be:

$10 flat bet is paid $10
$50 odds bet is paid $60
Total payoff is $70

Here's another example with the point of 4 with a casino allowing 3X odds and a bet amount of $40.

A. If no "odds bets" is made, then all $40 is on the pass line, and if the 4 is made the payoff is $40.

B. If odds bets are made, the player would put $10 on the pass line and $30 odds, and the payoff would be this:

$10 on the pass line would be paid $10.
$30 on the "odds" would be paid $60.
Total payoff $70

What makes the payoffs bigger on the "odds bet money" is that it is paid at "true odds" reflecting the odds of winning the particular point bet.

Playing at your comfort level and at a denomination you can afford will allow you to take advantage of the best bets on the table.  Similar advice applies to games such as poker and video poker.  If you have the correct budget you will play correctly.  For example, if you cannot afford to be on a $100 per coin video poker game and you are dealt a flush with four cards to the royal, you might want to hold the dealt flush even though proper strategy tells you to sacrifice the dealt flush which might pay several thousand dollars, to go for the royal flush that would pay $400,000.  And in live poker, playing above your comfort level might have you slow playing winning hands, and not playing hands that could give you a winner on the draw.

THE JACKPOTS CAN SAVE YOU WHEN YOU PLAY CRAPS

Update August 5, 2012  Craps is a negative expectation game which simply means the longer you play and the more you bet the more you will lose.  Every bet favors the house.  Yes, there is no house advantage or edge on "odds bets" but the house is more favored to win the odds bets made by "right way" players, and the odds for "don't players" pays less than true odds.  Trust me on this -- the casinos have this game all figured out.  You can't win -- unless you get lucky.

There are players who win at craps but it happens rarely and those players get lucky and hit a lot of numbers, make a lot of passes or hit a jackpot bet.  There are several different kinds of jackpot bets and they vary at various casinos.  Some casinos offer a bet for hitting different combinations of numbers, and some casinos offer the "Fire Bet" which pays a jackpot if you make four, or five, or all six different passes.

Five different points are passed.
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Fire bet at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas.

Here's a photo of a craps table at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and this photo shows that five of six different numbers have been passed by a single shooter.  There is a Fire Bet disc placed at the top of each point when that number is passed.  When four different point numbers are passed the Fire Bet pays $25 for each dollar bet.  When five different point numbers are passed the Fire Bet pays $250 for each dollar bet, and when six different point numbers are passed the payoff is $1,000 for each dollar bet.  In the example in this photo, the shooter made five different passes and a $10 bet paid $2,500.  I know the story well -- I was the shooter.  My fifth point that passed was the 6 leaving only the 8.  After I made the point of 6, my next come-out roll landed on the 6 again, and a couple of throws later it was 7-out.  I was literally just a couple of rolls away from a $10,000 payday.

It's not easy making four different point passes.  Most craps shooters don't make even one pass.  So be ready to lose a lot of money on the Fire Bet -- but when it hits you'll be happy you bet it.

Remember, I started this article telling you that craps is a negative expectation game.  Well, hitting a jackpot bet like the Fire Bet can give you a boost to turn the game around.  It's one of those weapons in your arsenal of being lucky.

Now, while it is important to get lucky to win at craps you can't play stupid.  That means play the game with some smarts.  I've been at tables and watched players only make the long-shot bets with the highest house edge, and at the same time they would avoid the bets that give the players the best chance of winning.  And then there are bettors who think they know better than everyone else.

I was at the table when a player came up and dropped five-thousand dollars on the field bet.  That is a one roll bet.  The dice are rolled and either you win or you lose.  A lot of players like the field bet because it gives you a one-roll bet on a lot of numbers.  At most tables, if the roll is a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 or 12 your win.  But the numbers of 5, 6, 7, 8 are not "field numbers" and if they show up on the next roll you lose your field bet.  Unfortunately for field bet players it is more likely that a 5, 6, 7 or 8 will roll than the numbers that make up the field bet.  Well, this high roller threw $5,000 cash on the field bet and the dice showed an 8.  His money was gone on one roll of the dice.

I also was at a table when a player decided it would be a good idea to bet the 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10 during the come-out roll.  The come-out roll is when you want the 7 to show -- because that's an instant winner for both the right side bettors and the bettors who have don't come bets.  (Don't Pass bettors lose when there is a 7 on the come-out.)  Unfortunately for the player who decided to have his place 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10 working on the come out -- a "winner 7" on the come-out is a big loser for him.  Ironically it happened to him twice and both times he was the shooter throwing the dice.

There is a reason why the "place bets" are turned off during the come out -- because most shooters are hoping for a 7 to show.  Ironically, in the case of the player who had his place bets "working" he was an obvious supporter of the idea of dice influencing or dice control.  He carefully set his dice, he carefully delivered the dice in an even, soft toss -- but twice in a row he rolled a come-out 7 that wiped out all of his active place bets.

Remember this when you play craps as a "right way" bettor: you only win one bet at a time, but you lose them all at once when the 7 is thrown and your bets are working.  It would be wonderful if you knew in advance which number the dice will show, but I'm not a psychic and I doubt you are -- so we have a risk for lots of bets with each throw.  This is why some players limt their bets to just a couple of numbers -- and not the entire layout.

CARD CRAPS CONTINUES AT HOLLYWOOD PARK CASINO

Update July 29, 2012  Hollywood Park Casino in Inglewood is the last of the Los Angeles area poker casinos to still offer card craps.  The Indian casinos including Pechanga and Rincon and others still offer "card craps" but various poker casinos including The Bicycle and the Normandie Casino in Los Angeles have dropped it.

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There is a new layout on the craps table at Hollywood Park and frankly, I hadn't seen one like this before.  Not only are the payoffs listed for every bet, but there is a determined place that is labeled for the eight players.  And what was really interesting is that the "hop bets" have a place on the layout as do the three "seven" bets.  The payoffs are also listed.  I guess when you list the payouts right on the table felt and layout there can be no denying exactly what the payouts are -- and no arguments either.  Also, late bets and call bets are blocked at Hollywood because there is a "light system" on the table and the lights signal when bets can be made and when it's too late.  The game is played with an automatic shuffler that deals two cards.

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Hollywood Park Casino offers the game in the evenings, and there are eight player positions and chairs are already set up for the eight players. The table is small, so if dice throwing is ever allowed, Hollywood Park would have to switch to a larger table to accommodate additional players and to thwart those who think that "short tables" are ideal for dice influencing and dice control.  The game is popular and when I've been there all or nearly all of the eight positions are taken.

Like other so-called "California Games" at Hollywood Park Casino, there is an outside company that "banks" the game.  And players pay a commission or fee to the house on bets made.  So the payoffs listed on the table are only part of the "math" you'll need to decide what bets to make.

HOW ABOUT A NEW CRAPS GAME, CALLED "SIMPLE CRAPS"?

Update July 2, 2012  I just got back from a short trip to Las Vegas where I played a little craps -- or dice, as some call it.  First of all, I want to be sure that everyone understands that craps is a negative expectation game which means the longer you play and the more you bet the more you will lose.  You can't beat the casino playing craps.  So play it to have fun and to try to get lucky.  There are companies and people who claim they can teach you a skill to beat the casinos by influencing or controlling the dice but this is controversial and has never been satisfactorily proven to stop the critics of this skill or art.  But let's move on.

While the game of craps has been around since man learned how to cut animal bones into cubes, then adorned the cubes with designs and then gambled on which designs would show face up when the cubes were thrown or tossed or rolled, the game of craps has been constantly getting reinvented.  Today there are literally dozens of different bets on a craps table that can confuse players and keep newcomers from joining in the fun and excitement.  I've counted at least 35 different basic bets on a craps table and some casinos have their own "house brand" or exotic bets on different results of the dice that can make the game even more complicated.

While I was at a table at Caesars Palace, every couple of minutes a couple or a group of people would walk up to the table and say "we're just looking" and then I could hear them discuss how complex the game appears to be.

Honestly, it's not that complex, but the layout on the craps table looks complex.  So, why don't the casinos come up with a new "Simple Craps" game for new players?  I also wrote about this idea on our Las Vegas Forum.  The way I envision this new game of "Simple Craps" is to have a craps game with only one bet.  And the bet is will the shooter "win" or "lose." 

Here's how the game is played.  A shooter throws two dice and if he throws a 7 or 11 he immediately wins.  If he throws a 2, 3 or 12 he immediately loses.  If he throws another number he must repeat that number before a 7 shows.  This is just like the traditional "big craps game" that is played in casinos now.  But there is no other bet on the "Simple Craps" table.  And you know what guys?  This game might actually appeal to "budget gamblers."  You can honestly say that "the game of Simple Craps" has a return of 98.59% which reflects the House's edge of 1.41% on the basic passline bet in craps.  And you can probably round that out to a return of 99% and put the simple craps table (it can be smaller that a traditional table) right by the slot machines under the sign that says "99% Return."

A note to the casinos: if you like my idea, I would appreciate a token of your thanks. This game can be played with one dealer, no floorman or "base dealers" needed and your ROI could be high since this game would move quickly since the average shooter throws the dice 5 times before a 7-out, and action will not be slowed by payouts on the 35+ other bets on the table.  Whether or not you allow "odds" on the bet, depending on the "number" that needs to "pass" depends on how "simple" you want your "Game of Simple Craps" to be.

Now this is really nothing new.  Because craps started as being nothing more than a simple game with one basic bet.  The shooter threw two dice and he either won by making his point or he lost because he "sevened out."

The first time I ever saw craps played was when I was about ten years old and my parents had a dinner party for their friends.  While the ladies were helping to prepare the dinner in the kitchen, the men were having drinks by the bar.  That's when one of my Dad's friends picked two dice up from one of my board game boxes and started to roll them on the hardwood floor to a wall.  The next I knew the guys were all kneeling on the floor throwing $5 bills on the floor as one of the men rolled the dice.  There was only one bet -- would the guy rolling the dice win or lose his "point"?  There were no hardways, no place bets on other numbers, no field bets, no horn bets, no come bets, no don't come bets, no hop bets, and no exotic bets either.

I didn't see a real craps table until I was in a casino in the 1990's and I too was confused by all of the different markings and bets on the craps table.  It actually didn't take long to learn what all the boxes and circles with all of the numbers meant, but learning the game would certainly have been easier if there hadn't been so many boxes and circles and numbers.

SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT CARD CRAPS

Update April 11, 2012  I got to play and observe a card craps game recently, and as much as I dislike the idea of "cards" determining the result of each "roll" the game still was interesting, and fun, and exciting.  In the game I was at (it was at an Indian casino in San Diego County) the "shooter" threw one red die and one green die to the end of the table.  And the number on the green die chose one of six green playing cards, while the red die chose one of six red playing cards.  Each of the cards was either an ace, deuce, three, four, five or six representing the six faces of a die.  In other words, each throw the real dice had an equal chance of choosing two real dice numbers.  But this also meant that a dice throw of 4-red and 4-green might have turned over cards 5 and 2 for a seven-out.

What was interesting was that the players at the table ignored the actual throw of the real dice and focused on the dealer who turned over the two playing cards.  And really, that was all that mattered.  The throw of the dice meant little because the shooter had no idea which playing cards were at which "dice face position."

What this version of "card craps" did was remove any chance that the player -- the shooter -- could have any impact on the game.  Some shooters hope that the way they set the dice and then throw the dice will bring out the numbers they want -- the numbers that will hit the pass or hit a hardway.  But now there is no chance of that happening.  And for that reason it would make no difference if the dealer were to spin a cage with a red die and a green die in it.

Of course what the players are hoping for someday -- and what the dealers and the casino are hoping for someday -- is that the law in California will change that will allow the true game of dice craps to be played in California casinos.  And that still could happen, though it won't happen in 2012 and probably in 2013.  To allow a true dice craps game, California's State Constituion would have to be amended.

The throwing of dice was outlawed in California going back to the gold rush days of the mid-1800s as a way to protect gold miners from losing all their money gamblings.  Tradiitonal roulette was also outlawed.  But today, the casinos have come up with ways to play craps and roulette with cards making the final decision -- and card playing has always been legal in California which is the capital of poker.

The last time there was a drive to change the gambling laws, the concept of allowing traditional craps and traditional roulette was linked to legislation that would expand casino gambling to card clubs and card casinos in the state.  And that legislation did not pass.  Perhaps another try -- a more limited try -- just to allow traditional craps and traditional roulette at casinos would pass a vote.  And by the way, this wouldn't just favor Indian casinos, because these same games could be played at card clubs and card casinos.  In fact, in the Los Angeles area Hollywood Park Casino, The Bicycle Casino and several others have tried their own versions of card craps.

SCOSSA DICE GAME GETS SOME CHANGES, AND A NEW CASINO HAS IT

Update November 29, 2011  Brill Entertainment has announced that its new Scossa™ dice game will start to be offered on Friday, December 2nd at the Palace Station Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.  This new dice game offers simple rules that appeal to those intimidated to play craps and has been compared to playing roulette with dice and a layout instead of a wheel with a layout.  Brill Entertainment calls it "the most revolutionary dice game to be introduced into the gaming market."

The company says that Scossa "preserves the excitement, speed of play and table camaraderie of craps while embracing the simplicity of roulette.  Players simply place chips on one or more of the seven various betting options.  Wagers are resolved on a single roll of the dice, keeping the pace of play fast and exciting."  Basically this means that all bets are "one roll bets" unlike a traditional craps game where bets can stay "live" for many rolls of the dice.

There is one "jackpot bet" in the game and that is if three 7's are rolled in a row.  It happens in craps, so why not on this game?

Brill says some changes have been made to the layout since its original test at the Red Rock Casino, but we are not sure what the changes are?  We suspect that a controversial "dealer's bet" position on the layout was removed.  This bet position on the Scossa layout was the only bet position that we ever heard about that was marked for the dealers.  On other table games, players would put a bet for the dealers either on top of their own chips or next to their chips.

Brill Entertainment is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and says it wants to develop more casino games.  It's website is www.BrillEntertainment.com and has more information about its products.  Palace Station Hotel and Casino is located adjacent to Interstate 15, just west of the Las Vegas Strip at 2411 W. Sahara Ave.  Call (702) 367-2411 for more information.

HOW NOT TO LOSE YOUR BANKROLL AT A CRAPS TABLE

Update October 11, 2011  "How not to lose your bankroll at a craps table" is indeed the title of this article but if you are expecting some sure-fire way to win at the game of craps, or it you are expecting some betting system, or advice about dice influencing, then this article is not for you.

This article is about your personal and financial safety at a craps table.  It happens too many times-- players lose their money at a craps table not because of the throw of the dice, but because someone steals their chips in the rail.  So here are some tips to protect your money.

1.  Do what the casino does when arranging your chips in your rail.  Keep the higher denomination chips in the center with the lower denomination chips on either side.  Look at the box where the casino's chips are stacked.  You will see the big money chips in the center, with rows of lesser denomination chips on either side.  You might see the $5,000 chips in the center, flanked by the $1,000 chips on either side, then the $500 chips and finally the $1 chips.  Why?  Because it is harder for a crook to get at the center stacks.  Use the same strategy with your chips in your rail.

2.  It is not against the rules to take your high denomination chips and put them in your pocket.  The boxman or floorman will frequently look at the chips in the players' rail positions to keep track of high denomination chips, but it's okay to put them in your pocket.  As a courtesy you can motion to the floorman that you are putting that yellow or purple chip into your pocket.  There is a side benefit to doing this, too, because it might keep you from betting it and losing it after the chips in your rail are lost.

3.  When it is your turn to shoot the dice, shift the chips in your rail towards the direction you will be standing when you shoot the dice.  This way, you can keep an eye on your chips when you are getting ready to throw the dice and watching how your dice land.

4.  Forget what the lyrics of the song say-- it's okay to count your chips at the table not only so you can keep track of how you are doing, but also so you can be sure no one is taking chips away from you.

5.  Be aware of others at your table.  It's okay to put your hand over your chips when you turn to order a drink from the cocktail waitress behind you, and it's okay to cover your chips when you turn to talk to another player.

6.  If you have to leave the table to visit a restroom, ask the boxman or floorman or dealers to not only watch your chips but to cover them.  Some casinos have a clear, plastic box that they can cover your chips with.  Traditionally, a towel is used to cover chips of a player.

7.  Be aware of "friends" of other players who stand behind you.  They could be there to distract you so someone else can take a few chips.  When a young, attractive, sexy woman comes to the table, and starts to talk about your purple and yellow chips, it's time to be especially careful. (In some casinos yellow chips are $1,000 and purple chips are $500.)

8.  If you are playing large denomination chips you have every right to ask the casino to have a guard standing by at the table to keep away sightseers.   I was once at a table where a player had more than a million dollars in chips in his rail, and there was a guard standing behind him.

9.  Protect your position and be wary of others who want to squeeze in next to you when the table is crowded and you have a lot of chips in your rail.  That new player might be more attracted to your stack than to the action of the dice.

10.  If you can, play at a table where there is a full crew.  Some casinos have eliminated the boxman to save money.  Unfortunately, the boxman also served as another pair of eyes to not only protect the casino's interests but also the player's interests.  I prefer to play at a casino that has the full crew of three dealers plus a boxman and floorman watching and controlling the game.  The more eyes the better.

Some casinos do things that players are not aware of to protect their games and to protect the dealers and the players.  Several years ago I was at Caesars Palace playing craps when a young player who had too much to drink got into a shouting match with a dealer over a bet.  The shouting escalated to the point that the player leaned over the table to lunge at the dealer.  And that's when three undercover security guards got up from nearby blackjack tables and tackled the player.  Yes, Caesars had undercover security people playing blackjack.

IT'S NOT CRAPS, IT'S SCOSSA

Update September 18, 2011  A new type of dice game has been approved by the Nevada Gaming Commission after a test run at the Red Rock Casino in Las Vegas.  The game is called Scossa which is Italian for the word "toss" and it was developed by a company called Brill Entertainment of Dallas, Texas.

If you've ever been confused by the game of craps, you will find Scossa to be a simpler game because just about every bet you make is decided by just one roll of two dice.

The Red Rock Casino would not allow us to shoot a video of the game being tested there, and the photos that are available from Brill Entertainment do not show the complete table layout and they did that probably to prevent copycats from stealing their concept.

Basically the game is played on what appears to be a craps table, but the game is limited to only eight players and there is a dealer who controls the game.  Each player takes a turn throwing the dice and the turn ends when the "shooter" throws either a 2, 3 or 12 which are the traditional "craps numbers" at a traditional craps game.  So when you throw a 2, 3, or 12 in Scossa you really do "crap out," unlike in traditional Craps, you "seven out" which mistakenly is called "crap out."

There are only seven bets that you can make on a Scossa table, unlike a traditional craps game which can have thirty or more bets if you count the various exotic bets that there are in traditioal craps.

In traditional craps, many bets "stay up" or stay alive for multiple throws of the dice.  But in Scossa all but one bet is a one roll bet and the only bet that can survive for multiple throws of the dice is the bet that the shooter will throw three 7s in a row.  If you do have your money on the Triple-7s bet and the shooter can throw the number 7 three times in a row, it pays 200 to 1.  I know what you're thinking: how many times have we been at craps tables and a shooter has thrown a 7 three times in a row or even more on the come out?  So, you must be thinking this is a good bet to make.  Well, it's still a longshot bet no matter how many times we remember someone doing it.

Just as an aside, I was at Caesars Palace a couple of years ago when there was a player with a bankroll of about a hundred thousand dollars who only made one bet on each new shooter: it was the "any seven" bet on each new shooter's come out roll.  And if the shooter didn't throw a 7 on the come out, the player would double the bet on the next shooter.  Well, I was at that table and for about three hours no one threw a 7 on the comeout.  Some players had long rolls in which they and the rest of the table players made some money.  But the player who only bet on a "come out 7" lost his entire bankroll of about a hundred thousand dollars.

Someone made the observation that Scossa is like Roulette in that you are basically betting on a number or range of numbers for each roll of the dice -- similar to a spin of the wheel.  Among the bets you can make are single number bets (2 through 12), split bets (certain matched numbers on the layout), range bets which cover four possible numbers on each roll, hard way bets which are aces, twos, boxcars, etc., and another combination bet involving a hardway or a number.

The "big money bet" on the table is the Triple-7s bet and if the shooter throws three sevens in a row this bet has the big payoff.  There is also a "Lucky 7" bet which pays only the dealer, and it is a "tip bet."

Brill Entertainment is now marketing the game to other Nevada casinos and hopes to have a Strip casino take on the game.  For more information and to see those "partial photos" of the layout go to www.BrillEntertainment.com website.

CAESARS LOWERS TABLE MINIMUM TO $10

May 31, 2011  For the first time in about a decade, Caesars Palace is again offering craps with $10 table minimums on place and passline bets.  For years Caesars had a reputation for $25 minimum tables in its Palace Casino which was known as the richest gaming floor in town.  Sometimes minimums were briefly lowered to $15, but now Caesars is back to $10 minimums which matches the lowest games available next door at rival Bellagio.  The move to $10 minimums could draw players from other casinos with $5 minimums who might find the step up to Caesars affordable.  There are still plenty of casinos with $5 minimums at craps, and over Memorial Weekend Caesars did increase the minimums from $10 to $25 when certain tables became full -- but other $10 tables were still available.

RAPID CRAPS STARTS IN LAS VEGAS

Update February 28, 2011   We knew this day was coming -- and it is here.  There is now an automated craps game in Las Vegas that has been approved by regulators and is very likely to spread througout Nevada.  It is called "Rapid Craps" and the system will be very familiar to those of you who have played "Rapid Roulette."

What makes "Rapid Craps" rapid is that all of the betting is done on computer screens at each player's position.  There is no placement of chips on the table.  In fact, there is no exchange of currency with a dealer or boxman -- you just insert your cash into the terminal just as if you were playing a slot machine.  There is one human dealer who runs the game and passes the dice from one player to the next.  Yes, players still throw dice and the single dealer has a stick to retrieve the dice and to enter the "call of the dice" into the computer -- but everything else is automated.

Bill's Gambling Hall in Vegas (a property owned by Caesars -- formerly Harrah's) has the game now and I am sure this means the game is destined for other Caesars properties soon.  There is a photo of the game table at http://rapidcraps.com/ so take a look at the photo near the bottom of this page and notice a few things:

First, notice the screens and that the players are standing at each position in front of a computer.  So, it is still a "standing game" and because there is only a stickman, it is possible that more player positions can be put at each table.  Second, notice that the dealer has a large stick to retrieve the dice -- this tells me that the game is played at a standard table.

Now, some of the pros and cons of this game:

From the casino's perspective this game will be more rapid which means more bets, faster payoffs, fewer errors and more profits.  it also helps the casino that only one dealer is employed and not a crew of three or four or five at each table.  There will also be fewer delays in the game, as the game won't slow down or stop when a player buys chips or colors up and cashes out.  All of that is done with the push of a button.

From the player's perspective there are also pros and cons.  There might actually be more pros than cons, but I will deal with the cons first.  If you miss talking with the dealers, there won't be those dealers serving you anymore -- just the stickman.  If you are the kind of shooter who likes to get his hip up against the side of the table to throw the dice -- that computer terminal will now get in your way.  And if you like the feel of chips, there are no more chips.

Now the pros for the players:  I am told that the computers can handle fractional bets which are bets that are not "correct" for even payoffs when chips are used.  For example, the bets on place 6 and place 8 must be made is $6 increments at most casinos but with the computer you can bet these numbers in $5 increments or $7 increments and be paid correctly.  And unless the computers are programmed against this, you can now bet both pass and don't pass and build your comps using the doey-don't system.  Many players at rapid roulette use the system of betting both red and black simultaneously to boost their comps.  Whether or not this actually is wise I will leave to another discussion.

Rapid Craps might be used to offer more lower level games because the costs are lower for the casino.  In some casinos, the craps table minimums must be high to pay for the cost of the staff.  But with only one dealer and using computers that don't go on vacation the casinos might be able to offer more Rapid Craps tables with lower betting minimums.

Do you have a thought about Rapid Craps?  Tell us about them on our Las Vegas Forum.  And check our other Forum pages too.

PIROUZ GAMING CAMPAIGNS FOR ITS PATENTED "CALIFORNIA DICE" GAME

A Southern California company called Pirouz Gaming is campaigning to get its version of the game of craps or dice used in California casinos as well as in other casinos around the country.  The Pirouz game is legal for California casino and card casino use because this game uses playing cards to determine a simulated roll of the dice.  But the inventors say their game is better than other versions of "card craps" because its game has true craps game odds, and it is a faster game, and it is a more comfortable game for players who sit at the table, and allows players to participate in the action.  The inventors of the game say that because the game is limited to a small number of players interacting with only one dealer it will also help new players to learn the game.

In most "card craps" games, the players' fate is determined only by dealers.  While in a traditional craps game, players determine the fate of their bets by throwing dice.  And in the Pirouz game, there is a bit of both.

The Pirouz Game is based on a special deck of only 36 playing cards that simulate the roll of dice in the traditional craps game, and players choose one of three cards that becomes the simulated "rolled" rolled.  There is also an option to use a special set of dice with pips that will result in only a 3 or a 7 or an 11.  In the Pirouz Game, the three possible "simulated roll cards" are placed on the layout in spaces marked 3, 7 or 11 and the card that is played is either chosen by the "simulated shooter" by a voice command ("I'll take the 3, dealer") or throwing the special dice.

The Pirouz Game layout also has hardway bets and other traditional bets found on a craps layout.  Pirouz Gaming is now introducing its patented game to casino operators in California and Nevada and other states.  For information call Pirouz Gaming at (562) 715-7028 or email them for information at Pirouz711@aol.com. 

Watch our video report below.

"CARD CRAPS" COMING TO NEVADA AND LAS VEGAS

Card craps, which simulates the roll of two dice with two playing cards, has been familiar in California card casinos including Hollywood Park where it is still played, and The Bicycle Club where the game has been removed for a lack of interest, and in the various Indian casinos where it is played.

But now a company called Play Craps Inc. has developed a version of the game that has been tested in Las Vegas and might soon appear in many Nevada casinos.

Basically, its a card game that simulates the roll of two dice, and players seated at the card table are able to make bets similar to those found at a craps table.  The company says that its Play Craps game is just an easier game to play because 9 players are comfortably seated and no one has to stand.  Also, the game is staffed with one or two dealers -- unlike a traditional craps game that has three or four dealers and a boxman or supervisor.

In California, card craps has not been overly successful at the casinos, including the Indian casinos where it is played.  Frankly, if you polled the players who do play the various versions of card craps they would all tell you they'd rather be throwing the dice.  But Play Craps is arguing that players would be more comfortable seated, and letting two cards dealt from an automatic shuffler right in front of them decide the fate of their bets.

So, why bother with cards from an automatic shuffler?  Why not load two dice into a device that will spin and rotate the dice right in front of the players?

But really, isn't the whole idea behind the game of dice to let the players throw the dice themselves and to transfer the fate of their bets from the casino to the players?

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