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Dice Games and Craps Etiquette

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There is a right way to play craps at a casino and a right way to take part in the game whether you are a player making bets or a player who is not making bets at the time, or if you are the shooter. Here's where we'll tell you about some of the right ways to play the game and the unwritten rules that are known as craps etiquette. If you have comments about this, and would like to see your comments included in future articles, please send them to Alan@AlanBestBuys.com.

CRAPS ETIQUETTE IS DEAD

Update July 30, 2016  The last remnants of casino craps etiquette died about a year ago at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Caesars Palace used to have the finest craps pit in the industry with professional dealers and savvy players. Everyone knew the rules and the procedures and there was respect of all by everyone. And then the business changed and so did the procedures and long-held traditions of craps etiquette were lost.

Probably the most basic tenant of craps etiquette was that new players coming to the table would wait to buy into the game when the dice passed to a new shooter. New players would never buy into a game to interrupt the flow of the game and the cadence of the shooter. Boxmen would tell new players to wait, and players waited. It was a courtesy that was expected and a courtesy that was given.

Rules of etiquette changed a few years ago and it because accepted practice for new players to buy into a game during a new come-out roll, even when the same shooter had the dice. It was a minor change and it seemed that everyone accepted it.

Then a year ago, with Caesars facing bankruptcy and pressure mounting to increase revenue and to keep the dice and the game in action, etiquette went out the window and the dealers started to encourage new players to throw their money on the table and to buy into the game at any time, and even between rolls by the shooter. No longer would they delay new players to come into the game until a new come-out roll or until a new shooter had the dice.

There are still some rules of etiquette at craps games even if the casinos that set the standards for craps no longer follow them. And here we will discuss them.

JOINING THE GAME

When you come to the table it is perfectly okay to take a position without actually buying into the game. If I see that a shooter has the dice and a point has been established (the shooter is in "mid roll") I will intentionally stand there without any motions or indications that I am ready to buy in or throw money on the table. Often, dealers will ask you to buy in by throwing your money down on the table layout, but you can wait until there is a break in the action or preferably if a point has been made or this shooter's turn with the dice has ended. Many players will consider it rude and bad luck if a new player buys into the game while a shooter has the dice and is "mid roll" just as players think it is bad luck when a new stickman comes to the table during a shooter's turn with the dice.

In a perfect scenario you would come up to the table when the previous shooter had just rolled a seven-out. When the dice are passing to a new shooter this is the ideal time to throw your money on the table to buy your chips. This is when there is a natural break in the action. You will not disturb anyone if you buy into the game now.

The second best time to buy into the game is if a pass has been made and the passline bets are being paid. While this is not the ideal time to buy in, most players will not feel uncomfortable if you do buy in at this point. However, if the shooter has held the dice for a long time and has made several passes, some players at the table will not want any new players coming to the table at this point. If you see that the shooter is close to hitting a Fire Bet payoff, or is close to winning the Small, Tall, All bets then it wouldn't hurt if you didn't buy in just yet. If the dealer motions for you to buy in you can simply motion or say you are waiting.

Under no circumstances should you ever throw your money on the table to buy into the game or to increase your bets or to add bets if the shooter has the dice and is getting ready to throw, or if you see the stickman is pushing the dice to the shooter. At this point it is too late to do anything and you should do nothing but wait.

It is also improper to make a "call bet" without first buying into the table. A call bet is a verbal declaration of a bet. Most casinos do not allow a call bet, but some do. A casino that allows a call bet because you are known to them or you have a credit line will let you know if they will accept your call bet. Never call out a bet without having a position at the table and I say this because I know of players who will call out a bet steps away from the table and this is not only distracting and rude but forces a dealer to announce "no bet" which can make the shooter hesitate and could lead to allegations that the caller was unlucky for the shooter and the table.


LEAVING THE GAME

Just as there are rules and procedures and etiquette for joining a game, there is etiquette for leaving a craps game. Basically the etiquette for leaving a craps game are like those for joining a game and the basic rule is to not interfere with the action and to choose an exit point when there is a natural break in the action.

The best time to leave a game is when the shooter has sevened-out and the dealers are taking losing bets off the table. This is the ideal time to say to your base dealer "I am coloring up." This is when you put your chips on the table layout so you can be "colored up" and paid. Casinos want you to color up because they want to have you leave with big chips and leave the small chips behind. It's also more convenient for you to walk away from the table with larger chips that are easier to handle and bring to the casino cage to be cashed.

You should never color up and leave the game during a shooter's turn with the dice. This is rude, yet there are players who do it. If you want to stop playing you can call off your bets which means your money is no longer at risk. To call off your bets simply say to your base dealer "all my bets are off" and the dealer will mark your chips with a disc that says "off" or he will verbally acknowledge that your bets are off. Then you can wait for a natural break in the action to have your chips returned to you. You should not have your bets removed from the layout when you call them off unless there is a natural break in the action.

WATCH YOUR HANDS, WATCH THE DICE

This is one of the cardinal rules of etiquette at a casino craps table: watch your hands. The last thing you want to do is have the dice hit your hand. You also never want your hand on the table, near the table, or in the field of play anytime the shooter has the dice. This means watch your hands at all times. Never point to a bet or to chips is a generally good rule to follow. And only put your hands near the table or in the "bowl" as the table is called when the dice are in the control of the stickman in the middle of the table and the dealers are paying bets and taking bets. If you are at the table with friends do not point to bets or to the layout when telling them about the game because it's just a bad habit. No one wants your hands in the way during actual play which means when the shooter has the dice. 

Watch the dice so you don't interfere with them. You should never interfere with the dice. But, what do you do if the dice are thrown and they bounce or somehow hit you? Do nothing is the best advice. They might bounce off of you and back onto the table, or they might bounce off of you and into the rail where chips are kept, or onto the floor. Do not attempt to catch the dice. If you see the dice headed for you try to get out of the way because it is better if the dice fly off the table than bounce off of you.

If the dice do end up in the rail in front of you it is okay to pick up the dice to return them to the dealer closest to you. Either hand it to him or place it on the table. If the dice fly off the table it is okay and helpful if you pick them up off the floor and hand them to the dealer or to the floorman who will probably come looking for them. You are not supposed to take them home as souvenirs. Only "canceled" dice are meant to be removed from the casino. A canceled die will have a mark made on the surface to indicate they can not be used again in casino play.

PLACING AND MAKING BETS

There is an ideal time to make and place your bets and that is when the dice are in front of the stickman. Once the dice are in the hand of the shooter, or the stickman is pushing the dice to the shooter it is too late to make your bets. Late bets are not appreciated by anyone. This might sound ridiculous but be sure you know what the minimum bet is for your table. It is disruptive if you try to make a ten-dollar bet at a table that requires a $25 minimum. It is also helpful if you throw out or place on the layout the correct chips for the bet you want to make. For example, if you want to place the 6 you want to throw out or place your chips on the layout in increments of $6 for a "correct bet" on the 6. Place bets on the 6 are paid $7 for every $6 bet. If you don't have the correct chips to make your bet the dealer will give you "change" after your bets are placed.

If the dealer is unfamiliar with your betting, it is helpful if you announce what your bets are. For example, at a $10 table if you put $40 on the layout you could announce $40 on the outside which tells the dealer to place $10 on the 4, 5, 9 and 10. If you put $32 on the layout it will help the dealer if you announced you want the 4, 5, and 6 which would need $32 at a $10 table.

While I wrote to throw your chips on the table, what you should really do is place your chips in the Come Box on the table close to the dealer's reach. I have seen players place their chips on the layout closest to them, forcing the dealer to reach over a long way. This is rude to the dealer.

When you are making "center table" bets such as the hardways or the horn numbers, you throw your chips to the stickman who is responsible for placing these bets. You should also announce your bets as you throw them in. For example, you might say "$20 coming in for the hardways" which tells the stickman to put $5 on each of the four hardway bets. Or, you might say $15 coming in for the hardways, not the 4" which tells the stickman to put $5 on the hard-6, hard-8 and hard-10. Or, you might throw in a $5 chip and say "C and E" which tells the stickman to bet half on the any-craps bet and half on the Yo-Eleven.

It is a mistake to make center-table bets by putting your chips in front of the base dealer which is the dealer who services the passline and box numbers.

CALL BETS

Call Bets are bets made with a verbal declaration without throwing in the appropriate chips. Some casinos have a policy that they will not accept Call Bets and you might even see a sign at the table which says Call Bets are not allowed. If Call Bets are allowed and the casino will accept them from you because they know you will pay up even if the bet loses, you should not make a Call Bet if the shooter has the dice or if the stickman is pushing the dice to the shooter. Actually, there is no valid reason for a Call Bet except if you were distracted by the cocktail waitress because you are ordering or getting your drink, or if you are arranging your chips in your rail and missed your regular turn to bet.

WAIT YOUR TURN FOR GETTING PAID, CHANGING BETS

Especially when you are at a crowded table wait your turn for getting paid and for changing your bets. You will see that the base dealer (the dealer who pays the passline and place and come bets and field bets) has an order for which bets are paid first and which player is paid first. Try to see where you are in that order and wait your turn to be paid and when you are paid tell the dealer if you wish to change your bet by either increasing (called pressing) or decreasing. You can also say "same bet" and the dealer will not change your bet.

If you are pressing (increasing) your bet try to become familiar with the terminology or procedure at the casino. For example, if you have $30 on the 6 and the 6 is rolled there is a payoff of $35. If you say to the dealer, "press me one unit" be sure you understand what "one unit" means. At some casinos "one unit" might mean $30 which is what you have on the 6, or it might mean $6. The phrase "one unit" can mean different things to dealers at the same casino. I've played at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas where I said "press one unit" and the dealer doubled my $30 bet on the 6 to $60, while another dealer added only $6 to the $30 bet. You could say "press it to $60" or you could say "go up to $36" to make your intentions clear.

THE SELF-SERVICE BETS

There are bets on the table that players make themselves without the assistance of the dealer. The self-service bets include the passline and don't pass bets, the odds on the pass and don't pass, the come and the don't come, and the field bets. Some casinos have a Big 6 and Big 8 bets and these are also self-serve.

Self-serve means you place the bets yourself. But there are rules about removing those bets before they are resolved by the throw of the dice.

For example, the passline bet is a contract bet which means you cannot remove the bet until it is resolved by the throw of the dice. You will either win or lose the passline bet. The Don't Pass bet is not a contract bet which means you can place it but you can remove it before it is lost. Casinos allow you to remove the Don't Pass bet because after the come-out roll the Don't Pass bet is more likely to win.

The Field Bet is a self-serve bet and no matter where in the field box you place your chips you will be paid according to what the layout says. Some players think that in order to be paid 3-to-1 on the 12 that their chips must be placed on the 12 and that is not true. Any bet in the come box will be paid 3-to-1 if a 12 is rolled. If a Field Number is rolled it is the player's responsibility to pick up his winnings and his original bet if he doesn't want the field to bet it again. If your bet on the field won and you want to increase your bet it is best to stack the chips so the dealers know it is a new, larger bet.

WAIT TO BE PAID AND BE SURE YOU ARE PAID

Do not rush to take your winning bet chips off the table. Before you take your winning bet chips off the table be sure you are paid. Dealers can only pay winning bets when they see the winning bets.

Years ago I was at a craps table when a shooter threw a winner and the player next to me immediately grabbed his passline chips before the dealer paid the bet. The dealer said to the player "you must leave the chips on the table until I pay you."

If by chance your winning bet is not paid be sure you say something to the dealers. Sometimes during a hot roll and when the table is crowded certain side bets might be overlooked. These side bets might be a horn bet or a hardways bet. Be aware of your bets and be sure you are paid.

If you have bets on hardways and the Fire Bet and the Small, Tall, All Bets watch them after each roll to be sure the dice haven't hit them out of position or that a dealer moved them or removed them in error.

I was once at The Rio in Las Vegas when a shooter threw all six points for the Fire Bet but one of the bets was knocked off of its position by a die hitting it. When it was knocked out of position the dealer put the chip back into the table bank in error. No one noticed that the chip was missing until all six Fire Bet numbers were hit and the dealers were making the payoffs of 1,000-to-one. It took more than a half-hour for security and the "eye in the sky" to review the tape to determine that the Fire Bet was indeed made by the player and how the bet was lost. The bottom line here is to watch your bets and be sure you are paid.

WATCH YOUR CHIPS

Casinos give you chips to play with because they are more convenient for the dealers to handle than paper money. Chips fit better on the craps layout than currency. Chips are also easy to steal, so watch your chips. The person standing next to you or behind you might reach over and take a chip or too when you are distracted by the dice or by an attractive lady (or guy) walking by. A fight at another table in the casino might be orchestrated by chip-thieves to distract you.

If you are lucky enough to have a lot of chips in the rail in front of you, arrange the chips the way the casino arranges its bank of chips. In the center of your chips put the larger denomination chips, and then on each side lower denominations. If you have, for example, blue $1 chips, and red $5 chips, and green $25 chips, and black $100 chips, you might arrange them like this to make it more difficult for a chip-thief to get your most valuable chips:

BLUE BLUE BLUE RED RED RED GREEN GREEN BLACK BLACK GREEN GREEN RED RED RED BLUE BLUE BLUE

It is allowed to put chips in your pocket while playing craps. You can't pocket chips at a poker table, but you can at a craps table. If I get a larger chip such as a $1,000 chip I will put it in my pocket and I mention something about it to the floorman or the boxman. Why mention it? Because their job is to keep track of larger denomination chips and telling them a $100 chip or a $500 chip or a $1,000 chip is going in your pocket will help them keep track especially when there is an accounting break.

 

THE SHOOTER

There is etiquette for the shooter also. The player who throws the dice has the responsibility not to delay the game and to throw the dice following the casino's rules. Each casino has different rules. For example, a casino might say the dice must not be thrown higher than eye level and this is to allow the dealers to watch the dice and the chips on the table.

Of course the shooter must keep the dice on the table and not throw them off the table. Accidents will happen, of course and even a gentle throw of the dice will sometimes take a hop and bounce that will send one or both off the table.

The dice should be thrown so they hit the back wall, which is another rule at most casinos. Some casinos are satisfied if the shooter makes an attempt to hit the back wall and the dice fall short by an inch or so.

The dice should not be thrown so hard that they can bounce and hit a player or spectator at the table. The dice should not be thrown at a player.

The shooter also has some responsbilities to other players. If you see other players making bets or have their hands on the table layout you should wait till the betting is complete. You can even ask that the stickman take the dice back until all the betting is complete.

The shooter should not delay the game. Many shooters want to set the dice or have a routine before throwing the dice. At most casinos setting and going through your routine is allowed as long as it doesn't take too much time. And practiced "dice setter" should be able to arrange the dice in just a few seconds. What really takes a long time are the shooters who have certain routines or rituals they go through before throwing the dice such as having their girlfriend kiss the dice (they're dirty and I can't believe people do this), or go through chants or say prayers. I was at a table where a shooter would place the dice on the table and then with one hand he would draw circles around the dice while chanting "circle the wagons, circle the wagons" before picking up the dice to throw them.

Another rule at most casinos is that the shooter must handle the dice with only one hand. Casinos do not want you to pick up the dice with two hands, nor do they want you to cup the dice with both hands to shake them. The one hand rule is to help prevent switching dice. By having only one hand near the dice and touching the dice it is easier for the casino to monitor the dice.

The shooter should also get his bets placed while the dice are with the stickman in the center of the table.

The position of shooter moves around the table in a clockwise manner. You do not have to shoot and you can "pass" the dice. Once the you have the dice and you are shooting you can stop shooting and have the next player in rotation finish your turn. This is unusual but it does happen. If it does happen, the player who finishes your turn with the dice will get a second turn immediately after he sevens-out.

DON'T BE RUDE OR CALLOUS

Don't be rude or callous towards other players. You might be winning and others might be losing and it is just wrong to be rude or callous to players who are not having the luck you are having. Be a good winner. If you are losing be a good loser. It's not the dealers' fault you lost (unless they did something wrong) and it's not another player's fault that you lost (unless you believe the shooter has the skill to roll numbers to make you lose). Even if numbers are rolled that make you lose it's something that happens to all players.

SMOKING AND DRINKING

At casinos that allow smoking be aware that some players and dealers don't smoke and it is rude to blow smoke into their faces. Some casinos do not allow cigars at tables and some casinos have no-smoking tables. Use an ash tray and try to keep the smoke away from others. Do not allow your ashes to fall on the table surface.

If you drink at the table be careful not to have your glass over the table because if there is a spill it could stop the game and even force the closure of the game. A wet felt can impact the dice. Use the shelf under the table for your drinks.

If you are a shooter, it might be best not to order drinks while you are shooting because that might delay the game and some players are superstitious about shooters who stop to order drinks.

In all the years I've been playing craps, I don't think I've ever seen a player eat at a craps table. I've seen players ordering food and eating while playing slots or video poker but never at a craps table.

STANDING OR SITTING

Craps is traditionally a game played while standing but some casinos allow chairs at the table for those who are elderly or disabled. Following my kidney transplant I was allowed to sit when I played craps at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas but as soon as I was strong enough to stand I played standing. Actually there is no reason not to allow chairs at a craps table except that chairs take up room and the casino can get more players at the table if chairs are not allowed. If you are not elderly or disabled and ask for a chair at a crowded table don't be surprised if a floor person or pit boss says a chair is not permitted because there isn't room for one. Most casinos don't have chairs for their craps tables and they usually have to be borrowed from a nearby table game and if the table games are full there might not be a chair for a player to use.

Handicapped players can play craps. I have seen players at the table who were blind with a companion who made their bets and told them the results of each thrown, and I have seen players who are in wheelchairs shoot the dice while sitting in their wheelchairs. I have also seen elderly players who are too weak to throw the dice far play and shoot without comment when their dice failed to hit the back wall.

ASKING THE DEALERS FOR HELP AND INFORMATION

If you are playing the game and you money in the game it is always okay to ask the dealers for help and for information about betting and payoffs. If you are not in the game and just observing the game some players might not want you at the table and it is probably best to ask questions at an empty table where there isn't money involved in the game. Some players are superstitious about onlookers or "pedestrians" asking for information about how to play because during the discussions about how to play a dealer will often say something like "if a 7 is rolled now you lose." And superstitious players never want to hear the word seven uttered. So if you are not in the game, ask your questions at another table.

SAYING THE WORD SEVEN

Craps is a game played by many superstitious gamblers and many superstitious players never want to hear the word seven mentioned at a craps table. To help these superstitious gamblers players and dealers will sometimes use the words "Big Red" instead of 7. It is fair to say that the polite thing at a craps table is never to use the word seven.

Ironically, on a come-out roll a rolled 7 is a winner. And if you think a 7 will be rolled and you want to bet on the 7 rolling you would throw out a bet on "Big Red" and you would not say "that's a bet on a 7."

Avoid any use of the word seven to keep your friends at a craps table.

WHEN FRIENDS TAG ALONG

There are times when only one member of a group of friends is the player and if the table is crowded it is rude for the friends to cram their way into the table. If the table is crowded allow the players their space.

CROWDING THE SHOOTER 

Never crowd the shooter. Give the shooter his space, and if you are standing next to the shooter it wouldn't hurt to step back about six inches from the table to give the shooter a clear shot when he is throwing the dice.

If you are at the far end of the table take note where the shooter is throwing his dice. If it appears the shooter has a landing zone for his dice it would be proper etiquette not to put your passline bet and odds, or your come bets in the spot where the shooter is throwing his dice. You might not think that your chips in his landing zone will make a difference in the results but there are superstitious players who fear that when the dice hit chips a losing seven-out will follow.

If you are joining the game while a player has the dice and is the shooter, don't try to squeeze into a space next to the shooter. Allow the shooter his breathing room as some shooters swing their arms or take a step when they throw the dice. While other players might be superstitious if a new player enters the game which the puck is white (shooter is live) entering the game and squeezing into a space next to the shooter is a double whammy.

WHEN YOU DISAGREE WITH THE CALL

There will come a time when you and others at the table will disagree with a call made by the dealer. The dealer might call the dice to show a 7-out but others at the table might think the dice were showing a different number. There can be a difference of opinion when the dice are leaning against a wall or leaning against chips.

If you have a dispute over a call voice it immediately. Craps is a fast moving game and frankly once a call is made it is hard to get the casino to reverse it. But if you catch the situation before the call is made -- when perhaps the dealers are hesitating -- you have a chance to speak up.

You should know there is a procedure about how to call a leaning die. The face that is mostly visible is the face that will be counted. If the die is propped up against a stack of chips then imagine if the stack of chips were removed, and that is how the face that counts will be determined.

A dispute over a face of a die doesn't always mean a 7-out so choose your battles over dealer calls carefully. You don't want to be viewed as a troublemaker at the table.

These types of call disputes are very rare but they do happen and usually the dealers get it right.

SHOULD YOU HOLLER AND CHEER?

There is no rule about hollering and cheering when you are winning and having a great time at the casino. I hope you do a lot of hollering and cheering because you win a lot. But be cautious about hollering and cheering because it will attract other players to your table and new players at your table could alter the game. For example, if the far side of the table is empty and there are no chips to get in the way of the dice when you throw them your hollering and cheering could attract players to that empty side and suddenly you have to cope with chips all over the other side.

You will find that the dealers don't want you to holler and cheer either. They don't want hollering and cheering for selfish reasons. First of all, the hollering and cheering probably hurts their ears. Secondly, the dealers don't want more players at the table. Craps is a tough game for dealers especially when there are a lot of players and chips are flying.

Holler and cheer if you want but a quiet table can mean an easier time for everyone at the table.

TIPPING THE DEALERS AND OTHERS WHEN YOU PLAY CRAPS

There is no rule about tipping and tipping is up to you, the player. Tips are generally welcomed by the dealers because much of their income depends on gratuities and tokes and bets "for the boys" that pay. Dealers will often acknowledge tips and bets made for the dealers because they hope that will encourage more tips and bets. You are under no obligation to tip and it's fair to say no one will expect you to tip if you lost or are losing. However, some players will tip even after losing, throwing their last chip or two on the table and saying "for the dealers."

How much should you tip when you do win? That's another personal decision but no one is expecting you to give to the dealers more than your own profit.

At various casinos, the "suits" or managers or supervisors do not accept tips. However, some casinos have the controversial practice of giving "suits" a percentage of the tips collected for the dealers.

How tips are distributed will vary with casinos. At some casinos the dealers at the table you are playing at will keep and share the tips. At other casinos the tips from one table are pooled with tips given to all table game dealers who worked that day or during that shift. And at other casinos, the tips from your table might be pooled with all casino workers as well as non-gaming employees including porters and cleaners who remove trash and clean the ashtrays and vacuum.

So how do you tip? There are various ways to tip or toke the dealers.

The most basic tip is called the "hand-in" and simply you throw on the table a chip or chips as your gratuity or tip. A hand-in is pretty much what you do when you tip a taxi driver after your ride, or what you do when you tip the car valet for delivering your car, or what you do when you give a gratuity to your waiter at the end of your meal. At the craps table you throw (gently toss) your chip on the layout and say "for the dealers" or "for the boys." At this point the dealers will thank you but different casinos will treat the hand-in tip differently. At some, the dealers might place it as a bet, or at other casinos the chip will directly go into the toke box or tip container.

If you want the tip to be used for a bet you can say "dealers' bet" or you can specify the bet. If you want it to go into the toke box you can say that as well.

Some players will do a hand-in tip after they color-up their chips to leave the game. Other players might make a hand-in tip after a big win on a single bet, for example, after hitting a hard-way bet. If you bet for the dealers during the game don't feel obligated to also make a hand-in bet when you leave the game.

Just as there are many different bets on the craps table, there are many ways to make bets for the dealers at the craps table.

The most basic bet for the dealers is to make a "companion bet" for the dealers along with your passline bet or your "don't pass" bet. To make this companion bet, place the chip for the dealers' bet next to your bet, and the dealers' bet should be closest to the stickman. Another way to make a bet for the dealers is to put their bet on top of your chips with the dealers' chip slightly off-center to indicate it is for the dealers, or you can say "on top for the dealers." Some players prefer to put the dealers' bet on top of their own bet as a way to prompt a better rating from the casino. Some floormen or boxmen are more likely to include the dealers' bet in your rating this way, but others will also include a separate bet on the side of your bet as part of your wager for ratings purposes.

You can also make bets for the dealers that you didn't make for yourself. Some players will throw a $1 chip on a "hardway" as a toke. Some players will make a "two-way" hardway bet.

With a two-way hardway bet you would throw two chips to the stickman and say "two way" and indicate which bet it is for. For example, you might say "two way hard-six." If both chips are of the same denomination the two-way bet could be arranged one of two ways: the dealers' chip could be on top of your chip but off-center, or the dealers' chip could be placed in the center of the bet box while your chip is in your player position in the box.

If your two-way bet uses chips of different denominations, the smaller denomination chip is for the dealers. If you throw a $5 chip and a $1 chip to the stickman for the hard-6, the $1 chip will be set as the dealers' bet.

You can also make place bets for the dealers. For example, you can bet the place-6 or the place-5 for the dealers.

When you make a bet for the dealers you also have the option of saying "player controls the bet." When you say "player controls" it means that if the bet wins the dealers will only take the winning payoff and the original bet will stay. If you don't say "player controls" then when the bet wins the dealers will take both the payoff and the original bet and put them in their toke box.

Sometimes if you press your winning bet, the dealers will also press their winning bet. "We do what you do" is frequently what the dealers might say.

Some casinos have limits on the amount that can be bet for dealers. For example, there are casinos that limit the amount that can be wagered for the dealers on the jackpot bets such as the FireBet. Some casinos have a limit of $5 for the dealers on the FireBet and if more than $5 is bet for the dealers on the FireBet the excess might be immediately dropped into the toke box or the dealers might place it as another bet on the table.

What about tipping other players -- the shooter in particular? There is nothing wrong with tipping a lucky shooter who helps you win a lot of money by hitting numbers and passes, but this is not required. Some players like to tip the shooter if the shooter has had a good roll and hits the FireBet or the Small, Tall, All Bets but failed to make the bets for himself. Some players like to tip the shooter if the shooter didn't have much money to bet and didn't win much himself but the rest of the table won a bundle. There is no rule about tipping a shooter.

If you want to tip the shooter you can tip at the end of the roll, or you can make bets for the shooter, or give the shooter "odds" if the shooter doesn't have money to back-up his own passline. But beware about giving the shooter "odds" because some players are superstitious that if you bet odds for the shooter it will cause the shooter to seven-out. Yes, craps is a strange game. A more common bet for the shooter is to bet the hardways for the shooter.

If you are the shooter should you accept tips from other players? Heck yes you should if they want to give them to you. You should not solicit tips even if you are having a good roll because that's just in poor taste.

There is certainly nothing wrong with accepting a tip from a player who is winning thousands of dollars while you have just $10 on the passline and you are hitting point after point. Or, you are making the high-roller big money because he is a "darkside player" and you just threw a seven-out.

This is a true story: years ago in the early morning hours at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas there was a crowded table with a lot of happy shouting and cheering. I walked over to the table and saw that the players didn't have much in their rails -- maybe twenty or thirty dollars each. And then my eyes went to the far end of the table where a distinguised looking man was standing at the table with his rails filled with large white chips. These were $25,000 chips and the first time I had ever seen them. (Since then Caesars changed their chip design.) This high-roller was a "darkside player" and he was making continuous Don't Come bets with full odds and if a shooter rolled three numbers and then sevened-out the high roller would toss the shooter a $1,000 chip to thank the shooter. The players at the table weren't cheering because they were hitting pass after pass or number after number -- no -- the players at the table were cheering because someone was getting a thousand-dollar toke from Mr. High Roller when a seven-out was rolled.

KNOW THE WORDS, LANGUAGE, VOCABULARY OF CRAPS

It will help you and the dealers and the other players and the game if you know and use the words, language and vocabulary of craps.

The player who throws the dice is the shooter.

Coming out is the phrase used to say a new game is starting with the first roll by the new shooter. The comeout roll is the first roll.

Odds is the additional bet you make behind the passline bet to increase your wager. A dealer will say "don't forget your odds" if you don't bet odds after a point is established.

Pressing means to increase a bet. You might say "press my 8" or "press the hardways."

A unit is the basic bet amount but it could be a basic betting increment or the amount you currently have as your bet. For example, at a $5 table and you have $25 on the 5, if you say "go up one unit on the 5" be sure the dealer understands if you want to go up $5 or $25.

A two-way bet is when you make a bet for both you and the dealers. If you throw out a $5 chip and say "two way hard eight" it means the bet is split between you and the dealers.

Going off means that your bets are no longer active. The dealers will put an "off" disc on your chips. Your bets will not be active until you tell the dealers that they are "working" again. When you tell a dealer you are coming down it means you want your bets removed from the table. If you want to be off for a roll or a few rolls it is not necessary to come down with your bets.

When a dealer says "your hard six is down" it means the bet has lost.

Make it look like is how you tell a dealer how to adjust a bet. You might be pressing a six and say to the dealer "make my 8 look like $30."

Fix a bet or Make It Look Right means to put additional chips on a bet so that it gets paid correctly. As an example, bets on the place-6 or place-8 should be made in units of $6. For example, you throw the dealer a $25 chip for a bet on the 6 because that's all you can afford. And then when you are paid off on another bet, you might throw out an additional $5 chip to the dealer and say "fix my 6" or "make the 6 look right" to indicate you want to have a proper bet on the place-6.

When you parlay a bet it means you take all of the winnings that the bet just had to increase the bet. Players might parlay the hard-6, for example. If you have $5 bet on the hard-six and it wins, the dealer will push to you $45 which is your win. Instead of taking the $45 win you might say "parlay the hard-6" which means your $5 bet will now be a $50 bet.

Throw it in means to give the dealer chips for a bet. A dealer might say throw me a nickel for your hard-6 which means the dealer wants a $5 chip to replace your hard-6 bet that just lost.

WHEN NATURE CALLS... OR YOUR SPOUSE CALLS ON THE PHONE

There will come a time when you are at a craps table and nature calls, or your spouse calls on the phone, and you can't play for a moment or a few minutes, or perhaps longer. What do you do?

There are some common sense answers, of course. If your spouse is calling you on the phone to remind you that the show is about to start in five minutes you'll have to decide what's more important: the game or seeing the show with the tickets you bought for $300 each for her birthday. If you are not the shooter and nature is calling, you can tell a dealer that you are going to the restroom and either "turn off" or remove your bets and have a towel or "box" put over your chips to protect them from theft. Having bets turned off and putting a towel or box over chips in the rail is a very common event at craps tables.

If you're the player and need to leave the table, it might be possible to leave your bets "on" or "working" as you heed the call of nature. In that case the dealers might put your "pays" in a special place on the table. At some casinos, however, there could be a rule that if you leave the table your bets must be "turned off." There is another option and that is having another player handle your bets while you are away from the table and if you utilize this option be sure the dealers know what's going on. It's a good idea, of course, to ask about the options available to you before you start dancing or shaking or jumping around nervously at the table.

Now what if you're the shooter? Again, common sense prevails. If the wife is calling about the show about to start and you're on the "roll of a lifetime" you can try explaining that in another five minutes you will be able to buy her a new Lexus as a substitute for the show. Or, you could take your bets down and pass the dice to the next player. Yes, some shooters will pass the dice when they have another engagement.

If you are the shooter and nature is calling -- and not your spouse -- you also have options. For example, if you just made the point you might have a couple of minutes to run (run, not walk) to the nearest restroom. I've seen that happen more than a few times. Sometimes the table crew will use the extra time to relax. Sometimes there are many players and many bets to pay off and no one will even notice that the shooter slipped away to the men's room.

I've been at several casinos when the shooter had the call from nature, and never was there anything said about the shooter running off to take care of business. I've asked about the policy at several casinos and I always got the same answer: we'll wait.

I've also been at casinos when the shooter had to take a phone call or make a phone call between throws and there were no comments made as the shooter stepped back from the table to talk on his cell phone. Most casinos will gladly cater to the needs of their customers.

If you're at the table and the shooter needs to take a call from his office, or spouse, or needs to respond to the call from nature, remember that someday it could happen to you -- and it probably will. I don't know of any casino that requires players to wear diapers, and I am sure there isn't a casino that would invite you to relieve yourself in a coin bucket by the table.

Here on our new media website "Moneyman" Alan Mendelson who is the original Best Deals TV Show reporter on KCAL9 and consumer advocate, shows you the best deals on TV, and the best buys, bargains and where savvy shoppers go to save, and how to get the most for "your money" with the best of Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura County, Riverside County and San Bernardino County.  Our Best Buys TV Show has the best TV deals and is the only regularly scheduled weekly best deals TV show in Southern California.  We show you the best buys and best deals on TV and more deals and bargains on www.alanbestbuys.com and www.bestbuystvshow.com and watch for our Las Vegas TV show Vegas Best Buys.  Some of the content can come from paid advertising and from our advertiser paid TV infomercial programs.  The Best Buys TV Show is a paid infomercial program which may also include news and information which is not sponsored or paid for by advertisers.  AlanBestBuys.com has the highest ranking among competitive sites in Southern California according to the independent website ranking companies Alexa.com and Quantcast.com and our Best Buys TV Show is the most watched shopping and consumer information show in Southern California.

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