How Dealers Keep Track of Everyone’s Bets

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When the table gets hot and filled with 8 players squeezed in at each end, the point boxes on the layout are typically full of chips that appear at first glance to be scattered everywhere at the craps table. It looks like chaos to the untrained eye. How in the world do the dealers keep track of everyone’s bets? It’s actually a very well organized and simple process based on each player’s table position (i.e., the physical location where each player places his chips in the chip rack). In most cases, the player stands directly behind his chips. However, you might find a rare occasion, for example, where a drunk is at an empty table with his chips in the chip rack next to the stickman but he has staggered to the end of the table to throw the dice. In this unusual case, the physical location of his chip stack doesn’t correspond to the physical location of where he stands. So to keep it simple, let’s just say the process that the dealers use to track players’ chips is based on where each player stands at the table.

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This concept of positioning players’ chips in and around the point boxes based on where the players stand at the craps table applies to Come bets, Don’t Come bets, Buy bets, Lay bets, and Place bets. Let’s look specifically at the Place bet.  The illustration below shows the eight player positions at each end of the table. Position #1 is beside the stickman, and position #8 is at the end nearest the dealer. Note in the illustration that each point box as two rectangles for Place bets: (1) one rectangle at the top of the point box, and (2) one rectangle at the bottom of the point box. In the illustration below, we use the 4 point box to identify the location within each Place rectangle that corresponds to the player positions around the table. Looking at the 4 point box, we can see that players in positions #1 through #4 have their Place bets positioned in the Place rectangle that’s at the bottom of the point box, and the players in positions #5 through #8 have their Place bets positioned in the Place rectangle that’s at the top of the point box. Those relative positions as shown in the 4 point box are the same for all the other point boxes (i.e., the 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10). For example, the player standing in table position #1 (i.e., next to the stickman) always has his Place bets, regardless of which number he’s Place betting, positioned in the bottom Place rectangle at the far-left side of the rectangle. Let’s take a closer look at the illustration below for clarification. Look at the point boxes for the 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10, and notice the chips in the Place rectangles at the top and bottom of the point boxes. Let’s see if you’re paying attention…if the chips for the player in table position #1 are always positioned in the bottom Place rectangle at the far-left side, how many Place bets does player #1 have in the illustration below, and on what numbers are those Place bets? Very good! We see in the illustration below that the 9 and 10 have chips at the far-left sides of the bottom Place rectangles. Therefore, in this example, we can quickly see at a glance that the player in table position #1 has two Place bets, and they are on the 9 and 10.

Looking at the illustration below, we see that the point is 4 because of the white “ON” puck, and we see the following Place bets.

  • Place bets for player #1 are on the 9 and 10. We know this because only the 9 and 10 have chips at the far-left sides of the bottom Place rectangles.
  • Place bets for player #2 are on the 6 and 8. The 6 and 8 are the only numbers that have chips in the #2 position of the bottom Place rectangles.
  • Place bets for player #3 are on the 5 and 8. The 5 and 8 are the only numbers that have chips in the #3 position of the bottom Place rectangles.
  • Place bets for player #4 are on the 5 and 10. The 5 and 10 are the only numbers that have chips in the #4 position (i.e., the far-right sides) of the bottom Place rectangles.
  • Place bets for player #5 are on the 5, 6, and 8. The 5, 6, and 8 are the only numbers that have chips in the #5 position (i.e., the far-right sides) of the top Place rectangle.
  • There are no Place bets for player #6 because no chips are positioned in the #6 position of in the top Place rectangle for any of the numbers.
  • The Place bet for player #7 is on the 9. The 9 is the only number that has chips in the #7 position of the top Place rectangle.

Dealers Keep Track

What about player #8? Does she have any Place bets? As shown in the 4 point box in the illustration, if player #8 had any Place bets, they’d be positioned at the far-left side of the top Place rectangle. We see in the illustration above that there are no chips for any number positioned at the far-left sides of the top Place rectangles. Therefore, in the illustration, player #8 does not have any Place bets. Or does she? That was a trick question to see if you’ve been reading and studying our other articles. Yes, player #8 does, indeed, have a Place bet, and it’s on the point number, which is 4 (we know the point is 4 because of the “ON” puck, as shown in the illustration). Player #8’s Place bet on the point is positioned on the back line of the Pass Line directly in front of where she stands. Also notice how the $5 chip straddles the back line. That is, the chip is not in the apron and it is not inside the Pass Line. By perfectly straddling the back line, the dealers know her chip is a Place bet on the point number instead of a Pass Line bet. So, if you want to Place bet the point, you can make the bet yourself without the dealer’s help by positioning your chip(s) so it straddles the back line. Note that this can be done only when Placing the point. Place bets on any non-point number must be positioned by the dealer in the Place rectangles adjacent to the point boxes.

The way dealers pay off winning bets is just as organized and simple. The dealers follow a strict sequence for paying off bets and players. They never deviate from the sequence. The process is strictly adhered to because it helps the boxman and pit boss track payouts to ensure the right people are paid the right amounts. Pass Line bets are paid first, then all Come bets are paid, and then all Place bets are paid. Place bets are paid in sequence according to the players’ table positions, starting with the player in position #1 (next to the stickman) and ending with the player in position #8 (nearest the dealer).

Bets for the center section of the layout (e.g., the Hardways, etc.) are positioned in their little rectangles similarly to Place bets in that the chip positions inside the rectangle identify which bets belong to whom.

The next time you walk up to a crowded table and see a sea of chips scattered across the layout, be assured that the dealers (and the experienced players at the table) know exactly who owns every single chip on the table. It looks like chaos, but it is, in fact, the exact opposite.

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