Craps tips and etiquette for beginners

Take a look around in the casino, and you’ll soon know the party is at the craps table. The craps table has the most buzz, with players sharing in each other’s celebrations whenever someone wins. As an onlooker, you’ll most likely want a slice of the party. But, you might feel intimidated and unsure where to start. So you don’t have to hold back, we’ve put together a list of craps tips for beginners. Have a read to know what to do and how to behave at the craps table, so you don’t have ‘casino newbie’ plastered across your face.

11 craps tips for beginners

1. Choosing a table

If you’re a beginner, head for a quiet table with fewer people. The pace of the game on these tables will be slower, and it’ll be easier to ask for assistance from the dealers. You’ll also be able to focus on the game with fewer distractions.

2. Getting your chips

In a game of craps, you don’t hand cash to the dealer. Before the shooter takes the dice, just place your money on the layout and ask for “change only.” ‘Making Change’ is the process of converting cash to chips.

3. When to place bets yourself and when to ask the dealer

To avoid making a nuisance of yourself in the fast-paced game of craps, know when it’s appropriate to put your hands on the table. You can place the chips on the Pass Line, the Don’t Pass Bar, the Field, Come and Don’t Come. When you do, place the chips in a quick, decisive manner. The dealer places all other bets. So, all you need to do is put your chips on the table and ask him to make a bet for you. For example, if you want to lay a Place Bet, you say “Place the six and eight.”

4. Keep an eye on your chips

Place your chips on the rail right in front of you. It’s wise to keep an eye on them throughout the game in case someone next to you has light fingers. Also, stick your glass in the drinks rail to avoid any accidents.

5. Tipping the dealer

It’s good craps etiquette to tip the dealer, even when you lose. But remember you’ll have to do so in chips, as dealers aren’t allowed to touch money. Some players call a tip a toke, in case you here the term and wonder what on earth they’re on about.

6. Never say ‘seven’

The word seven is taboo in craps. Never let it pass your lips and whatever you do, don’t root for it. Why? Well, the roll of a seven means players on the Pass Line lose. If they hear you shouting the word, you’ll be rubbing salt in their wounds.

7. Betting on the Pass Line

Placing a bet on the Pass Line after the come-out roll is the most common bet in craps. It’s a good starting bet for anyone playing the game for the first time. If you place this bet and the shooter rolls a seven, that’s a losing roll.

8. Joining the game after the come-out roll

If you miss the come out roll, you can still get into the game by betting on the Come Line. It is just like playing on the Pass Line, and the same rules apply. Alternatively, you can play Don’t Come.

9. Root for the shooter

Cheering for the shooter is good manners. If you don’t, you’ll soon be pretty unpopular at any craps table. If you’re betting on Don’t Pass, keep it low key, although you’re perfectly entitled to do, this bet will see you winning when most others are losing and vice versa.

10. How to roll the dice

When you’re the shooter, all eyes are on you. You don’t want to show yourself up as a rookie, but you don’t need to look like a pro either. Here are some tips on the dos and don’ts of rolling craps dice:

  • Wait for the stickman. He will pass you five dice from which you must select two.
  • Handle the dice with only one hand. This is a crucial rule that’s in place to stop cheating.
  • Reach the back wall. You must fling or toss the dice with enough clout to reach the opposite end of the table, where the dice will bounce off the wall. Try not to skip along the sides – if they fall off the table or don’t travel far enough, you’ll have to roll again.

11. Talking craps

Learn some common craps terms to know what’s going on when the game is in play. Here’s a rundown of some common terms you’ll hear people talk about and see written on the layout:

Boxcars = x2 sixes
C and E Craps – 11
Center Field – the number nine that’s in the middle of the seven numbers in the Field
Craps – 2, 3, or 12
Easy Way – A dice roll of 4, 6, 8, 10 when the dice turn up two different numbers to make the total
Front Line – Another word for the Pass Line
Hard Way – Betting on a 4, 6, 8 or 10 to turn up in a pair (2 + 2, 3 + 3, 4 + 4 or 5 + 5) before being rolled the Easy Way or before a seven
Jimmy Hicks – the number six
Little Joe, or Little Joe from Kokomo – four (particularly when rolled as a one and a three)
Natural Winner – 7 or 11 on the come-out roll
Puppy Paws – x2 fives (more commonly known as ‘Hard 10′ or “10, the hard way’)
Seven Out – When a 7 is rolled before hitting the established point number, indicating a move to the next shooter in line
Skate and Donate – eight
Skinny Dugan – A loser seven
Snake Eyes – x2 ones
Yo, or Yo-leven – 11

Craps is one of the more difficult games for casino beginners to pick up. But after some time at a quiet table, your confidence when playing the game will rise. By keeping these craps tips in mind, you’ll find your first game much more enjoyable, and other players will soon forget you’re new to craps.