Craps Etiquette for Rookies: The Unwritten Rules of Craps

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As fun as craps can get, to truly enjoy the game and avoid any potential faux pas, it’s important to understand the craps etiquette at the table.

In this guide I will walk you through the do’s and don’ts of craps etiquette.

Key Takeaways: Craps Etiquette

Understanding and adhering to craps etiquette not only enhances your gaming experience but also fosters a respectful and enjoyable atmosphere at the table. Here’s a quick summary of the key points:

  • Direct Cash Handling: Never hand cash directly to the dealer. Place it on the table with a clear request for change.
  • Visibility of Dice: Keep the dice in plain view when you’re the shooter to maintain the game’s integrity.
  • Timing for Buy-ins: Avoid buying in or exchanging cash during a roll to respect the game’s flow.
  • Pace of Play: Keep the game moving without unnecessary delays. If you don’t wish to shoot, pass the dice to the next player.
  • Dealer Interaction: Feel free to ask the dealer for help with bets or game rules, but remember they’re managing the game and can’t offer continuous guidance.
  • Tipping: Show appreciation for the dealer’s assistance, regardless of your game’s outcome. Place tips on the table rather than handing them directly.

1. Never Hand Cash to the Dealer

In a game of craps, it’s important to remember that you should never hand cash directly to the dealer.

This isn’t a personal slight, but rather a standard casino rule.

If you want to buy-in, wait for a pause between rolls, place your cash on the table, make eye contact with the dealer, and say, “Change, please.”

2. Keep the Dice Visible

When you’re the shooter (the person rolling the dice), always keep the dice visible. Don’t remove them from the table or hide them from the dealer.

This is to ensure fair play and maintain the integrity of the game.

3. Don’t Buy-in During a Roll

Never attempt to buy-in or exchange cash for chips when the shooter has the dice. Wait for the dealer to indicate when it’s okay to place bets and when you should not.

If you’re playing, ensure the dealer confirms any bet you’re trying to place before the shooter rolls the dice.

4. Respect the Pace of the Game

As the shooter, you control the pace of the game. When it’s your turn, just shoot the dice. Avoid unnecessary delays, such as blowing on the dice, which can also spread germs.

If you don’t feel like shooting, you can always “pass right” and let the next player take their turn.

5. Passing Right

If you don’t want to shoot, it’s perfectly acceptable to pass the dice to the player on your right.

To do this, open your hand with the dice in your palm and indicate them towards the next player in a clockwise manner.

6. Hands High

When the dealer says, “Hands high” or “the dice are out”, lift your hands off the table.

This ensures you’re not interfering with the play and the dice can be passed to the shooter without obstruction.

7. Be Respectful to Other Players

Good manners are essential at the craps table.

Avoid hanging your hands over the edge of the rail or resting drinks on the rail. Excessive drinking can lead to disruptive behavior, so it’s best to drink responsibly.

Keep the table clean and free from drinks and cigarette ashes.

8. Ask the Dealer for Help

If you’re unsure about the different bets or any aspect of the game, feel free to ask the dealer for help. However, don’t rely on the dealer to coach you throughout the game.

The craps table can get crowded, and dealers need to focus on managing the game.

9. Don’t Forget to Tip

Tipping the dealer is a common courtesy, regardless of whether you win or lose. Never hand a dealer money directly.

Instead, place money or chips on the table for tipping purposes and clearly state what the money is for. You can also place a bet for your dealer as a tip.

The Social Side of Craps: Beyond the Bets

Craps is more than just a game of chance; it’s a communal experience that thrives on the energy and camaraderie of its players.

The craps table is a melting pot where individuals from diverse backgrounds unite with a common goal: to ride the wave of the shooter’s luck.

Let’s explore the unique social aspects of craps, highlighting why it’s not just the thrill of the gamble, but the human connection that draws people to the table:

1. Collective Excitement

One of the most captivating aspects of craps is the collective excitement it generates.

Unlike many casino games, which are solitary or directly competitive, craps players often win or lose together. This shared fate fosters a sense of community and mutual support. Cheers for a successful roll or groans at a seven-out are shared by all, creating an atmosphere of joint anticipation and celebration.

2. The Role of the Shooter

The shooter, the person rolling the dice, becomes the temporary hero of the table.

Everyone’s fortunes rest in their hands, literally. This spotlight moment can turn an ordinary player into the center of attention, with every roll drawing cheers or sighs from the crowd.

The ritual of passing the dice and encouraging the shooter adds to the communal spirit, making every player an integral part of the game’s unfolding drama.

3. Communication and Etiquette

Craps etiquette plays a significant role in the game’s social dynamics.

Phrases like “hands high” and the tradition of not mentioning the number seven reflect a shared language and set of superstitions. This unspoken code of conduct helps maintain a respectful and enjoyable environment for everyone.

Politeness and positive interactions with both dealers and fellow players are not just encouraged; they’re integral to the craps experience.

4. Learning from Each Other

For newcomers, the craps table can be a scary place, with its rapid pace and complex betting options.

However, the communal nature of the game means that there’s always someone willing to explain the ropes. Veteran players often take pride in teaching newcomers the nuances of the game, from betting strategies to table etiquette.

This mentorship strengthens the game’s social fabric, ensuring that the tradition and joy of craps are passed down through generations.

5. Celebrating Wins Together

Perhaps nothing illustrates the social side of craps better than the collective celebration of a win. When the shooter hits their point or lands a desired roll, it’s not uncommon to see high-fives, cheers, and even hugs among players.

These moments of shared joy transcend the individual, highlighting the communal triumph over the odds.

6. Commiserating Losses

Similarly, the collective sigh that accompanies a losing roll—especially an unexpected seven-out—demonstrates the empathetic bonds formed at the craps table.

Players often offer words of consolation to the shooter and each other, reinforcing the sense of community. It’s a reminder that while the game involves risk, no one is truly alone in their disappointment.

Final Thoughts

Craps is an exciting and engaging game that brings together people from all walks of life.

Understanding and practicing proper craps etiquette not only enhances your gaming experience but also contributes to a friendly and respectful atmosphere at the table.

Remember: the goal is to have fun and enjoy the game.

By following these craps etiquette guidelines, you’ll be able to participate in the game smoothly, make new friends, and create memorable experiences.

So, whether you’re a seasoned player or a newbie, step up to the craps table with confidence and respect, and let the good times roll!

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