Playing 4 Keeps® Vocabulary of the Game


Most of the words and slang for the game of craps will be found in this list of terms. Collected over twenty years, though I may have missed one or two expressions. I promise, just to master what is presented here is a challenge to ask of you. After all, the purpose of these lessons is to help to own a 100% command of playing craps without trepidation. Let’s get you moved from the computer and get you into a game. Just so you know, the vocabulary is here. Words highlighted in blue are the more commonly used words in a craps game. It is therefore recommended, that you address more of your attention to at least learning these words.

Across:  Place betting all the box numbers. 4,5,6,8,9,10. Sometimes the point is omitted as the player may have a line bet.
Action:  1.) The play or betting, making bets. Having a bet in play, you have action. 2.) Also refers to game conditions and table support. The game has a lot of action, lots of bets on the layout. 3.) The chips a player has to bet with.
Any craps:  A one roll bet that the next roll will be 2, 3, or 12. This bet pays 7:1 and has a house edge of 11.1%.
Any seven:  A one roll bet that the next roll will be 7. This bet pays 4:1 and has a house edge of 16.7%.
Apron:  The outer perimeter of the table layout also called the felt.
At Risk:   Exposure to house odds. Bets that can either lose or win.
Back Line:  Refers to the Don’t Pass area on a craps layout. Also the small box above the numbers on the layout. (4,5,6,8,9,10) The position for Don’t Come bets, placed by the dealers.
Bankroll:  The total amount of money used for play, made up of 3 to 5 equal betting stakes (recommended).
Bar:  Makes whichever number indicated on the layout a push when rolled for the player betting the don’t pass or don’t come. Bar 12 or Bar 2. Provides the casino with odds advantage over the don’t pass or don’t come better.
Barred:  Not allowed to play
Behind:  A bet that the dice will not pass. A don’t bet or a lay bet a specific number or point.
Bet:  The amount of money wagered by the player. Casino bets can range $1 to $5,000
Betting Stake:  The amount of money used for one session. One buy-in.
Big 6 or Big 8:  A bet that a 6 or 8 will roll before a 7-out. The bet is paid only even money, when it should be paid odds for the risk. Not recommended as this bet has a house edge of 9.1%, where as a bet placed on either the 6 or 8 pays $7 to a $6 wager. The place bet is a better wager if you must make his higher risk bet. Placing the 6/8 has a house edge of 1.5%. Forget the Big 6/8 bet.
Betting Stake: The amount of money used for one session. One buy-in.
Big Red:  A one roll bet on any seven. Pays 5 for 1. Better to hop the seven. Neither of these high vig bets is recommended.
Black Out:  Box man calls “black out” to the pit boss when coloring up a player with $100 chips. Black = a hundred dollar chip.
Break Action:  Any pause or interruption in the game. Breaks the energy, usually a “7” follows.
Break Dealer:  A dealer that relieves the shift dealer for a twenty-minute break.
Boys or The Boys:  Slang for the dealers, even if women dealers are present.
Bowl:  A wooden or sometimes plastic kidney shaped dish with a depression used to house the dice when not in play. Controlled by the stickman.
Boxman:  Casino executive seated in between the two craps dealers.  Supervises the game watches the dealers and the players.
Box numbers:  (4-5-6-8-9-10) Become the point when rolled on a come out.
Buy Bet:  Player pays a 5% commission for true odds on a place bet. Some casinos collect the commission only on winning bets, a better bet. Casinos that collect it at the time the bet is made are taking advantage of the buy bet.
Buy In:  Exchanging currency for chips to enter a game. Get the dealer’s attention, drop money on table and receive chips in the amount of the money.
C and E Bet:  Craps / Eleven is a two unit bet. One unit on the eleven and one on any craps. A one-roll bet made with the stickman and placed in the proposition field.
Cage: An office, usually away from the pit area, where a player redeems chips for currency. Also known as the cashier.
Call Bet: Verbal bet made without putting up any money; Bet must be acknowledged by the dealer, who then informs the Boxman, Boxman books bet by replying “that’s a bet” or “no bet” if the call bet is not accepted.
Capping Bets:  a.) When a player illegally adds chips to the top of his original bet. Cheating. b.) When the dealer pays a bet by putting the pay off on top of the original bet, not allowed in better casinos.
Cash In: Exchanging chips for currency at the cashier.
Cashier: Ann office, usually away from the pit area, where a player redeems chips for currency. Also know as the cage.
Center Bets: Proposition bets with ridiculous odds.
Center Field: The area in between the stickman and boxman with the proposition bets.
Chase: To continue to play after losing a session’s bankroll. To play double up to catch-up chasing a loss. Never play chase. Walk away.
Cheque Change: Requesting chip change by a player of a larger denomination chip for a small denomination of chips. Wait for the dealer’s attention, place the chip(s) in front of the dealer in the come field, and ask the dealer for “cheque change please”, in a clear and loud voice.
Cheque or Cheques: This is a token or tokens used in lieu of money to make bets. Also called “a chip”.
Change Only: a.) Player requests change only during a buy-in. b.) A dealer announces to the boxman change only when cash is placed on the table by a player indicating that there is no action on the money and that the player is requesting chips only.
Chip: This is a token used in lieu of money to make bets. Also called “a cheque”.
Chip Rail: On a craps table there are two rails for chips with dividers to the left and right to keep players chips separate.
Chop Dice: The table is not sustaining any action, either way played, the Pass Line and the Don’t Pass Line are losing. One point and out, quick outs. 80% of the time craps tables trend to choppy dice.
Cocked Dice: One or both dice are leaning on some obstruction on the table layout, a chip or the wall. The stickman will determine the call based on the natural position of the die or dice with the obstruction removed. In the event that the die or dice are out of the view of the stickman, a dealer or boxman may make the call.
Cold Table: Players are rolling short hands. No points are won. The pass line is losing.
Color Up or Color In: Changing a smaller denomination of chips for a larger denomination of chip(s). Usually done at the end of the game.
Come Bet:  A bet made after the come out roll but, with rules similar to that of a pass line bet excepting that when a seven rolls, the game is over.
Come-Out / Coming-out / Come-Out roll: The beginning of a new game.
Comp: Usually free services provided to players by the casino as a way of promoting good will in exchange for the time a player gambled at the establishment. Rooms, meals, shows or drinks.
Contract Bet: A bet that when once placed, may not be removed until a decision is made. A Pass line bet, and come bets are contract bets.
Correct or True Odds: The mathematical probability of a bet winning, express in odds.
Craps or Crap: 2, 3, or 12. Also the name of the game.
Crap Out: Rolling 2-3-12 on a Come-Out roll. Shooter does not lose the dice.
Defense: Play minimum bet while table is cold or to play against the dice. Walking away is the ultimate defense.
Dealer: Casino employee that runs the craps game and settles the bets. Two dealers on a crap table to the left and right of the boxman.
Dice are in the Middle: The stickman has retrieved the dice and placed them in front of the boxman above the proposition bets. When the dice are in the middle, it is the time for player to make their bets.
Dime: Slang for $10. Dime table refers to a $10 minimum bet required in order to play.
Don’t Come:  A bet made after a point has been established and has same rules of a don’t pass bet.
Don’t Pass: A bet made on a come out roll betting that the dice will not pass.  The bet wins on the come out when 2 or 3 roll and pushes if a 12 rolls. The bet loses when 7 or 11 roll on a come out roll. Otherwise, the don’t pass is behind a point, 4,5,6,8,9,10 and wins when the 7 rolls. If the point rolls before the 7, then the don’t pass bet loses. House edge on these bets is 1.402%. A Don’t Pass bet is not a contract bet and the player may take the bet down. However, with a perceived advantage of the bet winning, it is not recommended. Once on a point, the player may not increased the wager of this bet.
Double Odds: A Pass Line player or a Come bet player may make an additional bet on the point or come bet that is twice as large as the original Pass/Come bet. If the Point or Come number wins, the odds portion of the bet is paid true odds. Special allowance for the 6/8, which can be up to five units. Ask the dealer for special allowance. (Many casinos now offer “raiser” odds in lieu of double odds, 3X odds for 4/10, 4X odds for 5/9 and 5X odds for 6/8.)
Down Behind: called by a dealer to inform a Don’t bettor that his wager has lost.
Down with Odds:  You will here this from a dealer when two bets are involved, a Place bet and a Come bet. The dealer will announce that he paying off a Place Bet and then moving that same player’s Come Bet onto the same number that was the wining Place bet. In this way, attention to the movement of the Place bet and the Come bet is covered for that action and that number.
Drop:  All the money from a player’s buy-in, the cash collected on a shift, on a specific table. The money is moved into the drop box by the boxman.
Drop Box / Drop Slot: A slot in the table in front of the boxman where the money goes from a buy in. There is a box fixed to the underside of the table into which the currency is deposited.
Easy Way: Rolling 4 – 6 – 8 – 10 other than as a pair.
Even Money: A bet that is paid dollar for dollar.
Eye or Eye in the Sky: An unnoticed observation post manned by a camera and a casino employee: The eye in the sky camera watches everything in a casino.
Field and Field Bet: A large area advertising what appears as an easy bet to win. A one roll bet with 16 ways to win and 20 ways to lose. 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12, are winning numbers and 5, 6, 7, 8, are losing rolls. This bet pays only even money and 2X for 2 or 12. Not a recommended bet.
Fill or Chip Fill: Security people bring additional chips to the craps table.
Flat Bet: Always betting the same amount of money. Also, can bet flat without an odds bet.
Float: Total money you have to play with. The entire bankroll.
Free Odds: A misnomer as there is nothing free about playing craps. Free odds are paid true odds and are an additional bet made with a Pass Line bet, a Come bet. (reason they are not free) For the Pass Line, the odds are positioned behind the line bet in the apron area, to the player’s side. For a Come bet, the odds are placed out in the come field and telling the dealer, “odds on my come bet!”  The odds offered are found on the plaque next to each dealer, or you can ask the deal for the odds offered.
Front Line: The Pass Line.
Front Line Winner: Called out by the stickman when the Pass Line bet wins.
Green or Green Chip: A $25 chip or playing $25 chips. Playing green = $25. A green player.
Hand:  A player’s turn with the dice.
Hand-In: A player hands over a tip or a toke to the dealers for their service. Usually after a good hand or when coloring up.
Hardway: Rolling 4, 6, 8, 10 as a pair. 3/3 is six the Hardway.
Hardways Work: Hardway bets are live on the come out roll unless the player tells the stickman that the bets are off or not working. This saves the bets if a seven rolls on the come out.
Hedge Bet: A way of playing protected with two or more bets. It is a kind of insurance to keep the player from losing. As good as it may sound, hedging is not recommended.
Hook: Curved part on a craps table, outside hook is across from the dealer, inside hook is next to the dealer.
Hop Bet: A one roll bet on a specified combination for a number to roll next. Hop 5/4 or 6/3 betting that combination for “9” will roll next.
Horn Bet: A one roll bet on the 2, 3, 11, & 12. High vig and not recommended. Horn high bet is bet made in multiples of 5 with one unit on three of the horn numbers, and two units on or high on a specified number (number, 2,3,11, or 12).  Example. $5 horn high twelve”: $1 each on 2, 3, 11, and $2 on the 12.
Hot Hand: A shooter that is rolling points and or numbers, making passes, holding the dice.
Hot Table:  The table is supporting action; players are winning especially the pass line players along with place and come betters. The dice are passing.
House Advantage: The percentage favoring the operators of a game of chance over the players. Every bet has a house advantage.
House Rules: The Craps rules for the casino. Usually   found on a plaque on the table. Always ask the croup to be sure. Fine the odds offered, minimum and maximum bet allowed.
Ice Cubes: The shooters are throwing Ice Cubes. Cold dice and a cold game. The dice are ice; no one can make a pass.
Inside Numbers: 5, 6, 8, 9.
Insurance Bet: Same as a hedge bet.
Lay Bet: Laying money on 4,5,6,8,9, or 10 and betting that a  7 is rolled before the number(s) with the lay bet. The vig is 5% of the winnings on this bet. Best when the 5% commission is paid after the bet wins. Some casinos collect the vig front. A winning bet is paid true odds less the commission. House edge 3.03% on 4/10, 2.5% on 5/9, and 1.82% on 6/8.
Lammer:  A button like  marker. Lammers are kept by the boxman and called for by the dealers to designate certain conditions for player bets. Two types of lammers are; on/off lamer signals that the player’s bet is either on or off, and buy/lay lamer signals that the player’s bet is either a buy bet or a lay bet.
Layout: The felt, usually green, with all the graphics and copy, signifying where players may make bets. The table road map.
Laying Odds or Lay Odds: The Don’t Pass bettor can place an additional odds bet after a point has been established. If the Don’t Pass bet wins; the odds bet is paid at the correct odds for that point. Laying odds means having to bet more to win less. Players that do not understand the math and that the perceived advantage miss out on the opportunity of the Lay bet. The same rules apply to a Don’t Come bet. Making this bet is referred to as “laying the odds or laying away” on the flat portion of a Don’t Pass or Don’t Come bet.
Limits: The minimum and maximum bets allowed at the craps table. Table limits.
Lights Out: After a 7-out, the dealers move the puck off of the point and turn the puck over to read OFF and places it in the Don’t Come box. A reminder to the dealers from the stickman, telling them it is a Come Out roll and to move the puck.
Line-A-Way – Line Out or Line Down: Seven rolled after a point, stickman calls for the Pass Line bets to be picked up by the dealers. The dreaded call for a Pass Line player “7-out, line-a-way” or “seven – line down”.
Line Bet: Same as the pass line bet or a don’t pass line bet. A shooter must have a line bet, ether on the pass line or on the don’t pass line in order to shoot the dice. The bet must be made before the come out roll.
Live Craps: Craps rolled on the Come-Out, the Don’t Pass bet wins, also applies to the Don’t Come bet. 1-1 and 1-2 bar 6-6. Found on some layouts 1-1 is barred and the 6-6 is live. Twelve, three and two rolled on the Come-Out and against a Come bet are considered live craps.
Loads: Weighted dice to skew the probability. Loaded dice. Cheats.
Marker: An “I.O.U” usually owed to the casino. Provided when using casino credit.
Marker Puck: The round disk used by the dealers to mark the point. One side is OFF and black. This indicates that it is a Come Out roll. The reverse has ON and is white indicating a point, (box number). The Place bets, Come bets and the odds are ON, working.
Money Management: Manipulation of amounts of money bet in order to overcome adverse percentages. Using a player’s money invested in a game for maximum results.
Money Plays: Using cash not chips to make a bet. Player says, “money plays” and the dealer “parrots” the call. If the bet wins, it is paid in chips and the player picks up the cash and the chips.
Monster Roll: When a shooter has a long string of passes and is rolling box numbers and hardways. Everyone is winning. Lots of money ends up in the player’s rail.
My First (2nd, 3rd etc.) or Your First (2nd, 3rd etc.)  The dealers and stickman identify players by their position to either the dealer or the stickman as a way of tracking player’s bets.
Natural: A natural winner on the Come-Out roll. 7/11 for the Pass Line. 2/3 craps for the Don’t Pass Line.
New Direction: The dice move to the other end of the table to the next shooter.
Nickel: A $5 chip, usually red in color.
No Bet: Usually called for a late bet or if the boxman is giving a player a hard time for always being slow. Can be called by either the dealer or the boxman.
No Roll: If the roll is suspect of being unfair, a dealer or boxman may call a no roll. Means the roll does not count and the shooter is allowed another try with the dice. Condition for this call could be a short roll, the shooter drops one or both dice before shooing, a fumble, a die or dice land in the house bank, a die or dice leave the table or land in the chip rail or hit another player and that player interferes with the natural progression of the roll, bats the die or handles the die or dice.
Not Working or Called Off or Bet’s Off: A player may instruct the dealer to take certain bets out of action. An OFF button (lamer) is placed on the bet. The bet cannot win or lose.
Odds Off: A player may call his free  odds bets off and they are “not working”. The player can do this anytime, but the player must also call the odds back on if they want them live or working again. Free odds bets can also be pick up from the Pass Line or ask the dealer to take down the odds on Come bets. If the seven rolls, the odds that are off cannot lose. The free odds on Come  bets are usually off for the Come out roll, unless the bettor asks to have them “working”. Not recommended. The Don’t Come odds are  “working or on” for a Come Out roll.
Off: When Off is used, it refers to a player’s bet being out of action. It cannot lose or win when the bet is off. Not working.
One Roll Bet: A bet made that will either win or lose on the next roll of the dice.
On: Refers to a bet that is live to win or can lose on the next roll. Also called “Working”. A player may instruct the dealer that their particular bet(s) are “working”, say on a Come Out roll. An ON button is place on the bet. The bet can win or lose on the next roll.
Outside Numbers: 4, 5, 9, 10
Parlay: A system of betting where all the money won is re-bet on the next hand.
Pass: A win for the front line or pass line bets.
Passing: The dice are passing. The shooter is winning points or rolling 7/11 on the Come-Out roll. Can also mean a player is refusing to shoot and is passing the dice.
Pass Lin Bet: A bet made on the pass line betting that the dice will pass. Also known as a “pass bet”. A contract bet with a house edge of 1.41%.
Past Posting: An illegal positioning of a bet after the dice have landed with a decision. Usually tried after a point on the don’t pass line.
Paying Behind: The dealer announces that he is paying off Don’t bets after a 7-out.
Pit: A section of the casino composed of several gaming tables. Blackjack pit, Craps pit, and Roulette pit.
Pit Boss: The person in charge of the Craps or table games in a certain area.
Place Bet: Making a wager on a box number of the player’s choice. (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10) The number Placed bet must roll before a 7 in order to win. Place bets are more risky and have a higher vig than a Pass Line bet for example: The house edge is 1.52% on 6/8, 4% on 5/9, and 6.67% on 4/10.
Player Position: There are eight player positions on a craps table, identified as a way for the dealers to keep track of players and the sequence of pay-offs for winning bets. The positions are numbered 1-8 from the stickman to either dealer.
Point: Any of the following numbers that are rolled on a Come-Out roll 4-5-6-8-9-10. Also called box numbers. The point must roll before a “7”, in order for the line bet to win.
Press: To increase the size of the next wager.
Pressure: To double the bet on a winning or specified wager.
Proposition Bets: The Hardways and one-roll bets on the layout in front of the stickman.
Purple:  A $500 chip.
Push: A tie, no one wins or loses.
Quarter: A $25 chip. Usually green in color.
Quick Out: A seven comes up after a point is established within two to three rolls. 1-2-3 and out.
Rack or Rail: Two rows of grooved railings around the table where players can keep their betting stake.
Rail Rat: A thief that takes other players chips from the rail.
Raiser Odds: More liberal odds than double odds for each box number for pass line or come bets. Many casinos now offer raiser odds, 3X odds for 4/10, 4X odds for 5/9 and 5X odds for 6/8.
Red: $5 chips. Nickel chip.
Right Bettor: A pass line player, one that is playing that the dice will pass.
Same Dice: Requested by only the shooter, when one or both dice fly off the table. The same dice may be requested and are returned to the shooter to roll again.
Seven-out: The shooter rolls a seven after establishing point. Game ends.
Shift: An eight-hour time period in the casino. There are three shifts. A dealer works one shift.
Shoot: To roll the dice. A hand or turn with the dice.
Shooter: The player who is rolling the dice. A line bet (Pass Line or Don’t Pass Line) must be made for a player to be eligible to roll the dice.
Single Odds: To make an odds bet that is exactly the same as the Pass line or Come bet.
Stacks: The stacks of chips in front of the dealer. The chips the dealer uses to settle bets with or they return chips from losing bets back to the stacks.
Stick: L-shaped cane used by the stickman to retrieve the dice.
Stick-man: Craps dealer that runs the game, moves the dice with a “L” shaped cane stick, and takes care of the proposition bets.
Still Up: A bet still in action. A dealer may ask the player if player wants the same wager repeated.
Table Odds: A bet paying true odds, a multiple a player may wager on line bets, pass and don’t pass as well as come and don’t come.
Table Sign: A plaque next to each dealer stating the rules of the game, minimum, maximum bet and the odds.
Take Down: Asking the dealer to return a non-contract bet. Example: Take down the 6 and 8 Place bets. You may take down Place bets, Don’t Come bets, or the Odds bet on a Come bet.
Taking Odds: Making a bet that is paid true odds when won. Bet with a Pass Line bet, a Don’t Pass bet, as well as Come and Don’t Come bets.
Tapped Out: Losing one’s bankroll. Bust or going bankrupt.
The Clap: Dealers, when leaving the table or doing something different with their hands away from the table, clap their hands to show the eye in the sky that their hands are empty, that they are not palming chips or other casino props.
Tip or Toke: A gratuity given a dealer. Best made as a line bet, commonly made on the hardway point. When making a gratuity bet, call it out, “the boys are on the line, or hard eight for the boys” Gets the crew on the side of the players.
Towel: A towel may be used when a player leaves the table for a period of time to cover the chips.
True Odds: The mathematical correct odds of all the dice combinations compared to the number of sevens possible. True odds are paid on the Free Odds bets for example, compared to that of the house odds, which have a slight to great advantage for the casino.
Unit: Any fixed quantity used in describing a bet. $1 unit, $5 unit, $15 unit.
Vigorish or the Vig: The house’s advantage on any bet. A commission paid on bets.
Wall or the Back Wall: The end of the table where the shooter is to throw the dice and hit the wall.
Working: Refers to a bet that is live to win or lose on the next roll. Also call “On”. Player may instruct the dealer that their particular bet(s) are working, say on a Come Out roll. Hardway bets are always “working” on the Come Out roll unless called off. Bets that have been called off must be called on by instructing the dealer “my bets are working or my bets are back on.”
Whirl bet: A one roll bet that 2, 3, 7, 11, or 12, is rolled next. The bet is made in multiples of $5, one unit on each of the numbers
Wrong Better: A Don’t better, betting that the dice will not pass.
Yo or Yo Eleven: Yo is called out for an eleven when rolled so as not to be confused with the word seven.
Study the glossary. Get it under your belt and then you will be ready for lessons that follow at “How To Play Craps”.  Click Table of Contents to begin your lessons.

Copyright © 2006 – 2015 Michael Vernon – Playing 4 Keeps®