Proper Etiquette at the Craps Table

D isplaying craps etiquette is little more than using your common sense and being courteous. Your craps playing time will be much more fun if you simply use your head and be nice.

Don’t belittle other players for making stupid bets. Don’t act like you’re God’s gift to the craps world by educating the whole table on why they should or shouldn’t make certain bets. However, if someone asks for your opinion or help, then be friendly and do your good deed for the day.

Don’t be a donkey to the dealers. Say “please” when you make a bet (e.g., “Place the six, please”) and “thank you” when they pay you. Those three little words can have a big, positive impact on your time at the table not only with the dealers, but also with other players.

Don’t continually whine about your life’s problems. No one at the table cares. The players are there to have a good time, not be your therapist. So, either stop whining or leave the table and take your misery with you.

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Before leaving for your trip to Vegas, spend some time to learn the basics of the game. Don’t overtake a table by asking the dealers and other players never-ending questions about what to do. If you’re going to gamble your hard-earned money, the least you can do is know how to play the game. It’s okay to occasionally ask the dealers questions, but don’t overwhelm them to the point that they can’t do their jobs.

Don’t hold up the game by constantly complaining that the dealer did something wrong or didn’t pay you properly. Most of the time, you’re wrong. Yes, of course, if you see that the dealer mistakenly short-changed you, then by all means say something but don’t be a jerk about it by accusing the dealer of intentionally ripping you off.

Craps players are highly superstitious. The word “seven” is bad luck because most people bet the Pass Line. If you let it slip out in the middle of a game and the dice land on 7, then the whole table will cuss you for putting an evil voodoo spell on the dice. People aren’t happy when they lose money and they don’t want to blame themselves for their losses, so they blame you and your bad mojo for their bad luck. If you must say something about the number 7, then say “S word” or something else, but try to avoid saying the word “seven.” If you want to play craps at a live table, then you’ll have to get used to these kinds of silly superstitions.

When the shooter is at the other end of the table and rolling the dice toward you, keep your hands and arms out of the playing area. The dice occasionally take a wild bounce and, if they hit your arm or hand and then land on the “S word,” then everyone blames you for causing the “S word” to appear. Remember, when someone loses at the craps table, it’s always someone else’s fault. People will blame you and yell, “Hey, #$%@$#, watch your hands next time!”

If you play the Don’t Pass, you’ll probably be the only one at the table doing so. Everyone will likely be playing the Pass Line, even if the table is cold. Get used to the fact that everyone will hate you for playing the Dark Side. They know you’re rooting for a seven to appear, which is a loser for them, so don’t make them hate you more by shouting, “Come on, gimme a seven!” Then, when the shooter does roll a losing 7-out, don’t jump up and down screaming, “Yeah, way to go, thanks for that seven!” However, if you don’t care about being alienated and having everyone hate you, then go ahead and have fun making them feel miserable.

If you smoke, don’t hold the cigarette so the ashes fall on the tabletop. If you dirty the table, the crew has to stop the game and clean up your mess. Show some respect for your fellow players by not blowing smoke in their faces. Instead, tilt your head and blow the smoke straight up so the air-handler can suck it up away from the players and dealers.

Don’t be late making your bets. Decide what bets you want and make them when the dice are in the middle of the table under the stickman’s control. The stickman’s move to push the dice to the shooter is an implied signal that it’s too late for any more bets.

When it’s your turn to roll the dice, don’t intentionally aim for the chips at the other end of the table. If you hit them, they usually ricochet all over the place and the dealers have to remember where they all go and re-stack them. It’s okay to hit them occasionally, but if the crew thinks you’re doing it intentionally, they’ll ask you to stop.

Don’t hold up the game by wasting time with silly dice setting techniques. Dice control is a scam (refer to our other lesson on dice control). No silly dice grip or orientation has any effect on how the dice will land. Everyone at the table knows you’re a sucker if you believe that dice control actually works, so stop embarrassing yourself and just pick up the dice and roll them.

Before you roll, don’t blow so hard on the dice that you spit on them. You’re not going to magically transfer your luck to the dice. The only things you’ll transfer are your bad breath and germs. A gentle puff is okay as long as spit doesn’t fly out of your mouth. You see it all the time, there’s always one jerk at the table who blows or coughs on the dice before each roll with a few added spit balls for extra luck.

Lastly, make sure you don’t forget to toss the dealers a tip every now and then. They rely on tips because they generally make minimum wage. Refer to our other lesson on how and when to tip the dealers and the possible rewards that you can reap by doing so.

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Author
Written by John Nelsen in partnership with the team of craps pros at crapspit.org.