Rules Craps: Rolling the Dice
After each roll of the craps dice, the stickman gathers the dice and places them in the center of the table while waiting for
the dealers to catch up. If the table is crowded with a lot of bets on the layout, the stickman waits until the dealers pay all
winning bets. When the dealers are ready, the stickman pushes the dice to you. Regardless of what else is occurring at the
table (e.g., a conversation between a player and the boxman, the dealer re-stacking chips or otherwise appears he's not
paying attention, etc.), when the stickman pushes the dice to you, it's a silent indication for you to pick them up and roll
When choosing two dice to roll, simply reach down and take two. Don't analyze each die or rearrange them or take forever
to pick the ones you think are lucky. Just take any two so the game can start. It's annoying when a new shooter picks up
all six dice, drops them all on the table, scoops them all up again, drops them all again, trying to find two that he thinks are
lucky. Avoid doing this--the rest of us beg you, please don't do this! It's inconsiderate and just plain silly because there are
no lucky dice. Other players are anxious for the game to start, and no one wants to wait for some clown wasting time trying
to figure out which two dice are going to land the way he wants. Just pick two and start the game.
When handling the dice, always use one hand and never let the dice to leave the table. "Leaving the table" means bringing
them outside the imaginary plane that extends straight up around the edge of the table. In other words, when holding the
dice, always keep your hand inside the table. This is a standard rule among all casinos for security purposes. It's difficult to
introduce crooked dice into the game using only one hand when it's in plain view over the table. When handling the dice for
the first time, you may be nervous or so excited that you forget these basic rules. The crew will quickly remind you by
politely, but firmly, requesting that you use only one hand and keep it in plain view.
To make the crew's job of spotting cheaters a bit easier, I flash an empty hand just before picking up the dice. As I reach
down for the dice, I quickly turn my palm up, flash open my fingers so they (and the camera) can see my empty hand, and
then pick up the dice. It's an instantaneous, fluid motion just long enough for the crew to see my empty hand, but quick
enough that most players don't notice it and don't realize what I'm doing.
Smoothly toss the dice, both at the same time, to the other side of the table so they hit the table felt first and then bounce
against the back wall. This ensures you have no control over the outcome. If the dice come to rest close to the back wall
but don't hit it, the stickman will likely call it a good roll, but he'll politely ask you to hit the back wall on all subsequent
throws. Follow these simple rules and you'll do just fine:
Handle the dice with only one hand (never use both hands to pick them up, shake them, or anything).
Don't bring the dice outside the table (keep them within the imaginary plane that extends up from the table
Smoothly toss the dice (don't slide, drop, or throw them hard).
Don't toss the dice higher than the height of the dealers.
Toss the dice so they land on the table felt and bounce against the back wall.
Sometimes, even with a good, smooth roll, a die bounces off the table. That's okay, it happens. The stickman calls, "No
roll," empties his dish, and pushes all the dice to the shooter to select another pair. When a die leaves the table, the
shooter has the option of requesting, "Same die," meaning she wants to continue using the one that flew off the table. This
is pure superstition, especially when the shooter is having a hot roll. Changing a die or both dice in the middle of a hot roll
is considered bad luck.
When a die leaves the table, typically a player or member of the pit crew (not the table crew) picks it up and drops it on the
table. The dealers are never allowed to leave the table to search for a die; they must always keep their eyes on the table.
After finding the die, a player isn't allowed to hand it directly to a dealer. Dealers and players aren't allowed to exchange
anything hand-to-hand, whether it's money, chips, dice, food, or anything. Instead, the player drops the die on the table,
and the dealer picks it up and hands it to the boxman. The boxman then inspects it to ensure it has the proper markings
and sometimes spins it between his thumb and index finger to get a feel for the weight (to verify it's not weighted on one
side). If it passes inspection, as it usually does, the boxman drops it on the table and the stickman pushes it to the shooter
to use on her next roll.
Another "no roll" situation occurs when a die comes to rest on the boxman's chip stack. When this occurs, the stickman
simply gathers the two dice and pushes them back to the shooter for another throw.
Sometimes, a die lands on the rail (i.e., the players' chip rack around the edge of the table). When this occurs, the stickman
usually says something amusing like, "No roll, too tall to call." (A good stickman has lots of rhymes that add to the fun.)
Other situations frequently occur that one might think are "no rolls," but are valid. These situations are when a die comes
to rest leaning against the wall, leaning on a player's chip on the table, or leaning against the boxman's chip stack. A
"leaner" is a valid throw and the outcome for that die is determined to be the number that is most facing up.
The basic "Don’ts" for throwing dice are summarized in the following. Oftentimes, a "bad" throw may be considered valid,
but it's still a bad throw and should be avoided because of its negative consequences as described below.
DON'T throw them so hard that they hit the back wall first before hitting the table felt. Instead, toss them smoothly so they
first hit the table felt and then bounce off the back wall and stay inside the table.
DON'T throw them so hard that they bounce repeatedly off the table, throw after throw. This holds up the game and
frustrates everyone. Sometimes a flying die hits another player and can hurt. (DO say you're sorry if your hard throw
causes a die to bounce off the table and hit someone, especially if it hits them in the head. Be polite. You never know if the
person is a drunk or the type of person who holds a grudge.)
DON'T try to be fancy with your throw. No one cares about your superstitions or talent for twisting your arm or wrist in
weird positions as you launch the dice on their way. Besides, you look ridiculous.
DON'T waste everyone's time arranging the dice in a specific orientation before picking them up (e.g., some morons like to
find the 6 on each die and line them up parallel, and then recite silly incantations to give them a little extra luck). It's okay if
you want to apply luck or superstition as you play, as long as it doesn't affect other players. By taking forever to line up
your dice in your lucky orientation and applying some sort of mojo to them, you delay the game, which frustrates the other
players. So, follow craps etiquette and don't do it.
DON'T try to appear as though you're skilled at controlling your throw (i.e., appearing as if you can somehow control their
outcome). If a throw is deemed valid under the casino's rules, there's no way anyone can control the dice to consistently
produce a desired outcome. I don't care what you read in any book or anywhere online about some scammer's claim to
have practiced 40 years to learn to throw dice and affect their outcome. It's pure nonsense. The shooter may be able to
control the dice for the instant they're flying through the air, but as soon as the dice hit the table felt and bounce off the
back wall, the outcome is completely random. To ensure a random outcome, the dice are required to hit the back wall, which
have all those rubber spikes (pyramids) that cause the dice to bounce completely randomly. So, to avoid looking silly, don't
try to control your throw using some kind of bogus dice control technique for which you wasted $500. Just toss them to the
other end of the table.
DON'T aim for big stacks of chips at the other end of the table. When the other end has high rollers who have lots of chips
stacked on the table, don't try to knock over the stacks. Chips fly everywhere making a mess and upset the crew because
they have to remember where all those chips go. If you see chip stacks at the other end of the table, do the dealers a favor
and try to aim away from them. If you accidentally hit the chips and scatter them to the winds, don't worry, they won't say
anything the first couple of times. But if your throws routinely knock chips everywhere, they'll politely ask you to miss them.
DON'T hit the mirror on the side of the table. The dice are hard and the corners are generally pointed, not rounded. Don't
break the casino's mirror.
DON'T take too long blowing on the dice for luck. A quick puff is okay as long as it doesn't delay your throw. Remember,
your superstitions are okay as long as they don't affect other players. Unnecessarily delaying the game affects other
After a game ends with a 7-out, the stickman passes the dice clockwise to the next player. If the game ends with a natural
or by rolling the point number, the same shooter continues rolling for the next game. If the shooter is hot and hitting point
after point, she may hold the dice for 30 minutes or more.
If you don't want to shoot, you don't have to. You may choose to pass the dice to the next clockwise player. If you're too
nervous or otherwise not ready to shoot, simply make a waving motion with your hand toward the next player and tell the
stickman, "Pass." The stickman then pushes the dice to the next player.
If you decide to shoot, you must first make a Flat Pass Line or Flat Don’t Pass bet. This helps ensure the shooter won't
leave the table before a decision is made to end the game. You can certainly leave the table if you absolutely must (e.g.,
you'll miss your flight if you don't leave immediately). However, if you shoot, try to have the courtesy to finish the game