It’s mystifying why more casino goers pass up on playing craps when it is perhaps the most exciting gambling game going… not counting Russian Roulette.
Craps is an adrenalin rush, like you experienced when you kissed your first date but more fun in the long run.
One reason for being passed by is the layout of the table which can be intimidating to first timers, not to mention the speed of the bets and payouts, and the odds on each roll of the dice.
I went through this same experience the first time I walked up a busy craps table at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas with fifty bucks crushed in my sweaty palm. I was scared, players were hollering back and forth, dealers taking and placing bets like machines, the back and forth movement of money, the jostling for tableside position…it was all a little too much for me. But that was a long time ago. Today I am still perplexed by the odds on the layout numbers but I along the way I found a simple way to play craps and one expert author told
me this was the only way to play this exciting game with some hope of winning.
But first, a primer for beginners so you can get to know the basics. Take a trip to Tunica’s glitter palaces and find a game where there not many players. Here’s what you’ll see. Sitting in the middle of the table is the boxman. His job is to watch the ebb and flow of chips and action and make quick decisions on payouts if needed. Directly in front of him is the stickman who moves the dice around and takes bets on the layout in front of him. Across from him are two dealers who handle their side of of table.
Standing next to the stickman is a good position for a novice as a few tips his way will make him your mentor who can answer your questions and correct your errors. He is the guy with control of the game and makes the call after the dice are rolled.
After you place your buy-in money on the table during a lull, the dealer across from you will change it into chips that you place in the table rack in front of you. Keep an arm over your chips as poachers with fast fingers can raid you when the action is hot.
If you are an absolute beginner a sound and conservative way to play is to place your bet, say the $5.00 minimum, on the pass line that is plainly marked and on the layout directly in front of you. You make your bet when the action has paused. If it is your turn to roll the dice and you make a seven, or natural, it’s a winner, as is an eleven and you get paid even money on your pass line bet.
While seven comes up more than any other number, you can also roll a craps on the first toss and that means you rolled a two, three, or 12, and all the bettors on the pass line lose.
If you roll any other number, you now have a point that you have repeat before you “seven out.” Make a lot of points in succession without showing the seven and you will make everybody at the table smile and shout in support.
After you establish your point number, the best bet on the table is the odds bet that is often overlooked by novices. It is the only bet in the game where there is no house edge. For example, you already have $5.00 on the pass line. You can and should place another bet, say $10.00, stacked directly behind your pass line bet.
Frank Scoblete, the noted gaming author and an excellent craps shooter, believes the only and best way to play the game is take the odds bet and make two “come” bets on the
indicated portion of the layout. When the number for your come bets are established after the roll, those bets are moved to the corresponding number on the layout. If you get a six on the come bet, for instance, it is moved to the six. Thus, if nobody sevens out, you will have three points working for you at the same time. I, on the other hand like placing the 6 and 8 along with my pass line bet. You only have to hit a place line bet once as opposed to come bets that have to hit twice. But odds on each bet differ. Come bets are like pass line bets and pay pass line odds depending on the number you’re trying to hit but differ slightly when compared to place bets (which in Tunica County are paid at true odds, less the 5% vig) which makes place bets (except for 6 and 8) buy bets right off the bat. But the difference is you only have to hit a place bet once to win.
Times have changed over the years in Tunica County and the jurisdiction has the best craps games in the country. All casinos have 20-times odds and one of most popular casinos
has 100-times odds. Such things are unheard of in Vegas. But as in all business ventures, remember the golden rule in these simple letters – KISS. Which stands for “keep it simple…stupid.” So when learning the game take it easy, ignore the crazy bets in the middle of the table and ask the dealer for any help…they will be happy to help you on your way.
Making only the three bets described above is a conservative and safe way to play the game, and once you master this method, you can take some flyers on other bets or you can increase your own bets or press those you have in action by adding more chips to the original amount.
If you feel a rush, have made some money, and want to increase your action, the best way is to place a bet on the six or eight, or both. Taking the odds on such bets can be confusing to newbies so just ask the dealer to advise on the correct amount for the odds of any particular number. Slip him a tip and he will become your personal financial advisor.
There is a lot more to the game, but when you play this method the game does not seem complicated after a few tosses ofthe dice. Get in the game, become familiar with the basics and everything else will fall in line without you getting clobbered and miserable in the process.
Rudi Schiffer, the “Voice of Tunica” has been a fixture in Mississippi since the Splash Casino first opened in 1992. He is also producer and co-host of the Goodtimes Radio show, the casino gambling show heard weekly on 730 Fox Sports on Fridays from 6pm to 8pm.