How to play craps

Red dice on spreaded cards

One of the most exciting casino table games to both play and watch is the game of Craps.

Craps is a dice game – fast moving, high energy, it’s often the craps tables where the most buzz and activity is in any casino that you go to.

To the beginner, Craps can seem to be a fairly complicated game – it is easy to feel a bit intimidated, leading to reluctance to bet your money on a game that you don’t quite understand.

One of the reasons that Craps is relatively complex is that it is one of the oldest casino games still being played. It is believed that its origins stem from an old English game known as Hazard, adapted by French gamblers during the religious crusades of the middle ages. They called the game Crapaud (a French word for toad – it was usually played by people crouching down over a floor or sidewalk). It was the French who brought the game to Louisiana and New Orleans where the game further evolved into the modern version that is played today.

Simplistically, craps is a game where the players are betting against the house or casino (similar to the way that Blackjack works).

Special tables are used that lay out the various betting possibilities, with usually eight players at each table.

Four casino employees (croupiers) are generally required to run each table – a box man, a stick man, and two dealers.

To play the game, each player takes turns rolling two dice – whoever is throwing the dice is called the shooter. The players all bet on the various options that could result from the roll of the dice.

To roll the dice the shooter must use one hand and bounce the dice off the far wall that forms the table surround. This helps to reduce fraud or cheating in the game.

One of the complicating factors with the game of Craps is that there is almost a secret language used by the stick man controlling the game, and each stick man will use slightly different terminology. Rhyming slang plays a big part in the terminology used in Craps. Rolls of 4,6,8, and 10 and generally called hard or easy – depending on whether they were rolled as a double or as a combination of values. A roll of two is known as snake eyes. Four is generally known as Little Joe, but if it is a hard four it may be referred to as a ballerina as it is a two-two. A roll of six is often referred to as Jimmie Hicks; A roll of nine with a four and a five is known as a Jesse James as the outlaw of that name was killed by a .45 caliber pistol. Eleven is called as Yo or Yo-leven to avoid any confusion with the word seven.

Don’t be intimidated by the game of Craps. Head to the nearest casino and see if you can make the dice roll hot for you.

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