Craps Table and Equipment
The biggest and most obvious part of a casino craps table is the bed. Live casino craps tables are generally available in
8-foot, 10-foot, or 12-foot lengths (depending on the casino's specifications), and are about 5 feet wide and about 3.5 feet
high. A typical 10-foot table weighs about 350 pounds and costs about $5,000. Along the top edge of the table bed is a
continuous Padded Rail on which the players can lean. Standing at a craps table for long periods of time can become
tiresome, so the padded rail allows the players to rest or change body positions to ease their stress. After all, the casino
doesn't want players to walk away simply because their feet and knees hurt. Obviously, the casino wants players at the
table as long as possible.
Adjacent to the padded rail is the wooden Chip Rack, which is usually two-racks deep with dividers about every 12-to-16
inches. The dividers separate the chip rack into individual sections for the players.
Along the outer perimeter is a little shelf called a Drink Rail. As the name implies, this is where players put their drinks and
ash trays. Drink glasses and bottles are not allowed on the Padded Rail because of the risk of spillage onto the
table layout. Not only do spills make a big mess on the table layout (which the casino has to pay to get cleaned), spills
delay the game which digs into the casino's profits. Cigarette ashtrays are also placed on the Drink Rail.
Inside the bed is the Table Layout with all the numbers, squares, and rectangles onto which the players' chips are placed.
The felt can be any color depending on the casino's specifications. Common colors are green, blue, and sometimes red.
Special designs and patterns can be incorporated into the layout to match the casino's theme. The area on the outer edge
of the layout is called the Apron.
Rubber material lines the inside wall of the bed and is called Rail Rubber. Below the rail rubber on each inside end of the
table is a 6-to-8-inch wide piece of Pyramid Rubber. This is the part of the table with all the little pyramids or spikes that are
specially designed to randomly deflect the dice. Casinos have a rule that a player must "hit the back wall" when tossing the
dice. This rule ensures the dice hit the pyramid rubber, thereby, preventing anyone from controlling the outcome of a dice
roll. Regardless of what you hear, read, or see at a live craps table, no one (NO ONE!) can consistently control the outcome
of a craps roll when the dice hit the pyramid rubber. They just can't. (Please refer to the lesson on Dice Control.)
On the inner side of the bed across from the dealers and boxman is a mirror about 8 inches wide that runs the length of the
table. The mirror allows the dealers and boxman to see the palm side of the player's tossing hand. The boxman can easily
see if a player is cheating by "palming" the dice, trying to introduce a crooked pair into the game.
The casino's chips are neatly stacked on the table in front of the boxman, generally 20 chips high. Standard policy for all
casinos is to "protect" the higher denomination chips by stacking them in the center and surrounding them by the lower
denomination chips. It's harder for a thief to grab the higher denominations because they're "protected" by the lower
Cut into the table layout in front of the boxman is a Money Slot for the drop box. The money slot is about 3/8-inch wide and
about 3 inches long, which is just the right size for pushing bills down into the drop box. The boxman uses a Paddle to push
the money through the slot into the money box that's attached to the underside of the bed. (That's where the term
"boxman" came from.)
As many as 10 players can play craps at each end of the table, but typically, the boxman limits the number of players on
each end to eight. The chip racks on the railing are sectioned off making it easy to recognize the player positions. When
you approach the table, find an unused chip rack and take that position. If it's busy, you'll have to squeeze in wherever you
can. If it's dead, you can choose any position you want. Player position #1 is next to the stickman. Each succeeding
position goes around the table to position #8, which is next to the dealer. After each roll, the dealer pays all bets in order,
starting with position #1 and ending with position #8. See Figure 1 below for the player positions.
The stickman controls a small bowl that rests on the tabletop against the wall directly in front of the stickman. This Dice
Bowl (or Dice Boat) simply holds the extra dice that are not in play. When a new game starts, the stickman dumps the
unused dice onto the table and uses his stick (or whip) to push them all (usually 6 or 8) to the next shooter. The shooter
then selects two that she thinks are lucky, and then the stickman pulls the remaining dice back and puts them in bowl. The
bowl is usually made of clear acrylic or wood.
Also considered part of a craps table are the Puck and Buttons. The ON/OFF puck (white for the ON side, black for the OFF
side) is used simply to indicate whether a new game is in progress. If a new game is about to start, the puck is turned to
the OFF side. If a game is in progress, the puck is turned on its ON side and placed in the appropriate number box on the
layout to indicate the "point" for the current game. Small buttons about the size of a quarter are used to indicate whether a
player's bets are "off" or "on," or whether a certain type of bet is a "buy" or "lay." Each button has one word engraved in it,
either OFF, ON, BUY, or LAY. Buttons help the dealer, boxman, and the eye-in-the-sky keep track of players' bets.
A removable placard is mounted on the inside wall of the table on the dealers' side. This sign defines the table's minimum
bet, maximum bet, and maximum Odds allowed. The signs are also color-coded so you can easily know the table minimum
from a distance. Typically, white indicates a $2 or $3 minimum, red is $5 minimum, yellow or blue is $10 minimum, and green
is $25 minimum. The minimum and maximum bet amounts usually apply to all bets except proposition bets. The typical table
has a $5 or $10 minimum bet, $2000 maximum bet, and allows three, four, or five times Odds depending on the point
number. The minimum proposition bet is usually the value of the lowest-denomination chip used at the table. For example,
if $1 chips are in use at a table, then $1 is the minimum for a proposition bet for that table.
Now you know all the components of a craps table. It's fun to learn craps details! The more you know, the more confident
you'll be when you walk up to a craps table. And the more confident you are, the less likely the dealers will guide you down
the wrong path by enticing you to make bets with high casino advantages.