Lesson Two

Meet the Crew and Follow the Game in Action
~Click on images to enlarge~

There are four casino personnel at a dice game.

  • One Boxman
  • Two Dealers
  • One Stickman

The boxman sits in the middle of the table with all the chips in front of him and a grumpy face. His job is to act as the umpire of the game, making sure the bets are handled properly and paid properly. A boxman does not necessarily have to look like a bulldog, but they usually do.

To the boxman’s left and right, stand the dealers. The dealers are like waiters in a restaurant. Their job is to take care of the customers, as they run the game. They mark the point with the puck, the black and white disk with ON and OFF. They take bets from the players and place the cheques in the proper position. They settle winning bets and take down the losing bets. The dealer takes care of players in order, from left to right or right to left, depending on which end of the table they happen to be working. It is important to wait your turn when making bets. Remember, the dealers are working for you too, so always be polite.

The stickman is the person in the middle of the table opposite to the boxman and holding a cane stick. It is his job to control the game by moving the dice with the stick. Once the betting is complete, the stickman passes the dice to the player, who will shoot the dice. The stickman calls out the roll, then retrieves the dice and returns them in front of the boxman. The stickman holds the dice there until all the betting action is complete. During the time that the dice are in the middle, in front of the boxman, the stickman doubles as a salesman. Acting at times like a carnival barker, eliciting bets from the players. Ignore the sales pitch of the stickman. The bets he’s selling will only cost you money in the long run.

The Game in Action

To start the game, the stickman announces, “The dice are coming out, place your bets. New shooter coming out! Craps, Eleven, Hardways, Horn bets. Place your bets!” This is the time given to all players to make bets. Next, the stickman moves the dice to the shooter. The stickman may say, “The dice are out, no more bets!” or “Shooter has the dice, hands up, the dice are out”. This gives everyone in the game notice that the dice will be tumbling down the table layout at any moment. Keep your hands out of the table layout when you hear the stickman’s warning.

IMG_5000On a Come Out roll, the stickman moves six dice in front of the player who is the shooter. The game is played with a player tossing only two of the dice from one end of the table to the other. A rule of the game is that both dice should hit the far wall to be considered a “legitimate roll”. Often, both dice will not hit the back wall, but the boxman at the table may overlook the occasional short roll. However, it is a rule and it is the boxman’s job to enforce the rules of “their” game.

Each toss of the dice is called a “roll”. A turn with the dice is called a “hand”. Each player has the opportunity to roll the dice or pass the dice to the next player. The player with the dice is the shooter and is allowed to roll the dice until the games ends with a 7-Out. If the shooter makes the point (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10), before rolling a seven, a Come Out roll follows and the game will continue. If the shooter rolls a seven before the point number, the game ends with a 7-Out. The 7-Out occurs during dice mode, before the point rolls, (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10). The dealers settle bets and move the puck to the Don’t Come field, OFF side up. This signals that the game is in craps mode, and it is a Come Out roll. The puck is moved to the Don’t Come box with the word OFF displayed. This tells the players that a new game is about to begin. The dice will be coming out.


Players take turns rolling the dice, with the dice moving clockwise around the table. You do not have to shoot the dice when it is your turn. You may pass up your turn to shoot. Simply wave your hand in the direction of the next shooter and say “pass the dice or passing”. The next shooter is offered the dice, and it is a Come Out roll.

The stickman will warn everyone that, the dice are coming out, and to place bets. “New shooter coming out!” means the dice are moving to the shooter, the stickman may also say, “The dice are out, no more bets!”

Okay, let’s do a quick review.

  1. On a Come Out roll, craps mode, the stickman moves the dice to the next shooter.
  2. The shooter selects two dice with one hand and rolls them down to the end of the table hitting the back wall with both dice.
  3. The result of the Come Out roll will either be a live “natural” number, (2, 3, 12, 7, or 11) or a box number, (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10) which becomes the point.
  4. Should a point roll, the dealers move the puck, marking the number rolled as the point.
  5. The hand continues when the point is made or the games ends with a 7-Out.
  6. Following a 7-Out the dice move to the next player and the game is back in craps mode with the dice Coming Out.
  7. New shooter…new game.


IMG_5795Buying into a Game

When you play craps, instead of using real money, you will make your bets with casino tokens, called cheques or chips. This protocol of using cheques keeps the game unified and makes it easier on everyone involved in the game. To purchase cheques, have your money in hand and wait for a Come Out roll. This is the best time to buy-in, when the dice are in front of the boxman or even better, buy-in after a seven-out and start your play with a new shooter. Get the dealer’s attention, place your money in the Come Field and ask for change only. The dealer is not allowed to take money or cheques from your hand. Any transaction of money or cheques must take place on the layout and in the Come field. Drop your money down in the Come field and state the amount of your buy-in. Example: “$500, cheques only”, or “$500 change only”. This tells the dealer that you do not want any action (no bet) with the buy-in money. The dealer will pass the currency to the boxman and then hand you a stack of cheques worth $500. Pick up the cheques and place them in the chip rail in front of you. Count them just for fun. Dealers are human and humans make mistakes. Now you are ready to play the game and make your first bet.

Your buy-in is a personal matter. It is recommended that you buy-in for a minimum of 30 units for each bet you intend to make. For a $5 Pass Line bet, the buy-in would be $150 for example. (Patience, we are getting to plays and betting)

IMG_5770Shooting the Dice

Craps is unique among all the other games in the casino. You, the player, get to be involved with the game by rolling the dice. No players, no dice. This intimidating experience is actually the thrilling part of the game. So, let’s cover table etiquette for the shooter, so the fun can begin. You are the next shooter.




Got the Picture?

“The dice are coming out!” You must make a bet on the Pass Line or the Don’t Pass in order to be allowed to shoot the dice. You now know that the stickman passes the dice to the next shooter. Once the dice are in front of you, reach down and pick up two of the dice with one hand only. Using only one hand is a casino rule. This is to protect the casino from cheats who may try switching out the dice. Okay, you have the dice in one hand. Next, you gently toss the dice to the other end of the table with enough force to bounce off the table surface, up to the rubber wall and then come to a rest. There is no need for excessive force, it only delays the game when dice fly off the table or crash into bets on the table layout. You simply want to have the dice leave your hand and have them bounce off the rubber wall and stop. The stickman will make the call of the resulting roll. Calling out the resulting roll informs the dealers so that they will know what to do, pay bets, take bets or mark a point. If a point is rolled, the dealers will move the puck to the number rolled as the point. The word ON is exposed on the puck when a number is marked as the point.

Next, in Lesson Three, you will learn how to be a complete Pass Line player. Get ready, the dice are coming out!

Lesson 3

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