Translate This Page
Craps Table Crew
You walk up to a craps table and hear, "New shooter, coming out! Place your bets. Money plays to the table limit.
Hardways work unless you call them off. Get your C and E’s, Horns, and Whirls. No more bets, the dice are ready!" Huh?
What? Who's that guy and what did he just say?
A normal-size casino craps table (i.e., not a rare "mini-craps" table) is manned by four people: one boxman, two dealers,
and one stickman. Sometimes the stickman is referred to as a third dealer. Actually, four dealers are assigned to a craps
table, but they rotate about every 20 minutes, so a table has three dealers working with the fourth dealer on break.
The boxman is the boss of the table. She sits in the middle of one side of the table directly in front of all the casino's chips.
Casino personnel usually refer to chips as "cheques," which is of French origin. Technically, there's a difference between a
chip and a cheque. A cheque is a chip with a denomination printed on it and is always worth the value of the imprinted
denomination. Chips, however, don't have denominations imprinted on them and any color can be worth any amount that
the dealer defines. For example, in a poker tournament, the dealer may define white chips as $1 and blue chips as $10;
whereas in a roulette game, the dealer may define white chips as 25 cents and blue chips as $2. When you plop your
money down on the craps table and hear the dealer say, "Cheque change only," he's simply telling the boxman that you
want to exchange cash for chips (cheques), and that the cash on the table is not in play. Cash plays in most casinos, so if
you put a $5 bill on the Pass Line just before the shooter rolls the dice and the dealer doesn’t exchange your cash for chips,
your cash is "live" and "in play." When the dealer says, "Cheque change only," the boxman knows that your cash is not in
The boxman watches everyone and everything. Her job is to ensure the game runs properly. She watches the dealers to
ensure they give the correct winnings, take down lost bets, and don't cheat the players or casino. She also watches the
players to ensure they don't cheat the casino or other players. She acts as the referee for disagreements between a player
and dealer (e.g., a player may argue that the dealer paid incorrect odds, didn't pay a bet, or made some other kind of
mistake). She acts as a bouncer when players get out of control and she can deny a player a position at the table for
cursing too much, constantly complaining about a slow dealer, or otherwise making the game less enjoyable for other
players. Your interaction with the boxman will typically be limited. She might say, "Hello," but that’s about it. Her job is to
focus on running the game properly, so she minimizes distractions by leaving player interaction to the dealers and stickman.
When you drop your money on the table, the dealer picks it up and gives it to the boxman. The boxman then places the
money on the table as she counts it so the overhead camera can see the total amount. After the count is complete, the
boxman then stuffs the cash into a narrow slot in the table where it falls into a metal box secured to the underside of the
table (that’s how this person got the name “boxman”).
The two dealers stand on either side of the boxman and handle players' bets in the side section. The dealer is like a bank
teller, giving and taking money. When you win, he pays you by putting your winning chips in front of you so you can easily
reach them. Conversely, when you lose, the dealer takes down your bets. If you approach the craps table with high-
denomination chips, such as $100, the dealer exchanges your $100 for $1 and $5 chips.
A good, fun dealer can add much enjoyment when you play craps. When the table is packed and the numbers are running
hot, it's fun to watch a fast dealer with his arms flying everywhere counting out chips and knowing exactly how many
everyone gets. If the table is cold with not much action, you can carry on a conversation with him. He'll answer questions
about the game or politely correct you if you make a mistake, such as not putting down enough Odds on the point.
Most dealers are your friends and want you to win because players' tips are how they make most of their money. They earn
minimum wage and rely on tips for their livelihood. When a dealer auditions at a casino, personality and people skills are
considered more valuable than dealing skills. The casino knows a new dealer’s skills will develop quickly, but more
importantly, the casino knows that a polite and friendly dealer makes the game more enjoyable for the casino's patrons.
However, you'll occasionally run into a dealer who's having a bad day. Maybe he has a headache, or his feet hurt, or he's
hungry. The crew rotates typically every 20 minutes, so he'll be gone soon and another dealer will take his place.
The stickman stands at the center of the table on the opposite side of the boxman and dealers. She controls the pace of
the game. She uses an L-shaped, wooden stick (called a "mop" or a "whip") to gather the dice after each roll and give them
to the shooter for the next roll. The stickman also manages the proposition bets, which we'll discuss later. If a proposition
bet wins, the stickman tells the dealer how much to pay the winner. If a proposition bet loses, the stickman takes down the
bet. When the stickman's chip stack gets too big (usually about 20 chips), she hands them off to the boxman. The casino
doesn't want a lot of stacked chips on the table where the stickman works because it's easier for people to reach down and
The stickman calls each roll of the craps dice, usually adding banter that makes the game more entertaining. It's fun to
listen to a good stickman spouting craps jargon and amusing rhymes. The stickman also tries to persuade players to make
proposition bets that have a high casino advantage. A good stickman is a bonus for the casino because she can talk people
into making bigger bets than they normally would, as well as making proposition bets that they normally wouldn't.
Proposition bets and bigger bets mean one thing to the casino--bigger profits.
Don't fall into the stickman's trap. She can be very tempting. It's okay to laugh at her banter, but don't get sucked in.
Simply say, "No thanks." Don't let her talk you into increasing your bets, making proposition bets, or making any other kind
of bet that you know you shouldn't make.
Rarely, you'll see a mini-craps table, typically in small casinos. For mini-craps, the game is the same, but the table is half
normal size and accommodates only eight players. Because the table is smaller, only one dealer is needed to run the
game. That one person performs the functions of the boxman, dealer, and stickman, which makes the game slower than a