shoot to win craps

Bubble Craps Machine

W e’re starting to receive questions about a fairly new variety of craps called “Bubble Craps.” We here at the Crapspit avoid this game (we explain why in a moment), so we don’t know the details of how to work the user display, the payoffs, etc., but we can provide a basic description so you can then decide if it might be something you’d want to check out in the casino.

Bubble craps” is a slang term for the latest electronic version of craps found in some casinos. The game hasn’t caught on with all casinos, but more and more are beginning to test it to see what kind of profit it can turn. As far as we know, the two primary makers of bubble craps machines are Aruze Gaming and Interblock. Aruze Gaming calls their game “Shoot to Win Craps,” and Interblock calls theirs “Organic Craps”. The game gets it slang name from the glass (or plastic) enclosed dome or compartment (i.e., the “bubble”) in the center of the unit that houses a big pair of dice. Refer to the pictures below to see what the units look like.

shoot to win craps

Above: Aruze Gaming’s 8-Seat “Shoot to Win Craps”

Organic Craps

Above: Interblock’s 2-Sided Center Display, 6-Seat “Organic Craps”

Organic Craps

Above: Interblock’s 3-Sided Center Display, 8-Seat “Organic Craps”

Notice that the Interblock pictures have three dice in the bubble. The machine is designed so the casino can determine whether to set it strictly for craps (which uses two dice), or to include the game of sic bo (which uses three dice). (Note: Sic bo is an old Chinese gambling game where you can bet on a variety of outcomes of three dice. Several English-language gambling and craps websites state that “sic bo” means “dice pair,” but Wikipedia and www.asiabet.org state that the literal translation is “precious dice.” We here at the Crapspit don’t speak the language and we don’t believe in blindly copying other craps websites that may or may not be presenting accurate information, so we freely admit that we don’t know which translation is correct.)

The Aruze Gaming and Interblock games are similar in concept but vary a bit in actual operation. For example, the Aruze Gaming machine uses a red button that the shooter presses to start the game and roll the dice; whereas, the Interblock machine doesn’t have a red button to shoot the dice. The following describes the basic operation of the Aruze Gaming machine.

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Shoot to Win Craps is a player-initiated craps game that recreates all the different bets of the traditional live table game. The game’s user display and Help screen are easy to understand and operate. Dice are in a “bubble” in the center of the unit. The bubble’s floor vibrates for a few seconds causing the dice to gently shake and bounce. The shooter presses the big red “Shoot” button at his/her station to “shoot” the dice. When the button is pushed, the bubble’s floor causes the dice to pop into the air, and tumble slightly to produce a random roll. The unit then accurately “reads” the outcome of the dice roll and electronically pays the players accordingly. All players take turns shooting the dice. The player’s screen has a layout that looks similar to a live table layout. The screen also has areas that show the roll history and a Help screen that explains each bet. The player can touch the Help screen, read about the bet, and then make the bet while the Help information is still visible. The user display also shows the “win condition” for the bets that the player has made so the beginner can see at a glance which numbers need to show for him/her to win. A Free Odds bet can be made and the casino can adjust the maximum allowable odds at their discretion (for basic information on the Free Odds bet, refer to our article on Free Odds). The Shoot to Win Craps machine can accommodate up to 50 seats to meet the casino’s needs (if the casino finds that the game successfully exceeds their profit goal, they can add more seats to increase their profits). When you’re ready to stop playing, the machine issues you a printed chit of your winnings, similar to the way modern slot machines issue printed chits.

Interblock’s Organic Craps machine can generate between 60 and 80 results per hour compared to a live table with 11 or 12 players that generally has an average of about 100 rolls per hour. We don’t know the rate of play for the Shoot to Win Craps machine, but we suspect that it’s similar to Interblock’s machine. Although the roll rate for these electronic machines isn’t as high as an average live table, the overhead cost for the machines is less. For example, a single live table requires four human dealers (three on duty with a fourth on break) and a boxman; plus, a bit boss to watch over the craps tables assigned to his/her pit. The machine only requires some electricity, some paper and ink for the chits, and occasional maintenance and calibration actions.

You read on forums that many people are leery about the fairness, accuracy, and randomness of the dice “roll” with a bubble craps machine. We generally don’t worry about that at a legitimate casino because we know the casino wouldn’t risk their gaming license on a game that isn’t considered fair by the state’s gaming authority. Gaming licenses are like gold. Can you imagine a casino losing its license and having to close its doors because it allowed an unfair machine to be played? Not gonna happen with a legitimate casino. You might be thinking, “If the machines meet the gaming authority’s fairness test, why do you avoid them?” Simply put, we don’t think they’re as much fun as a live table.

If we’re going to be in a live casino, then we want to play craps at a live table. Yes, we do enjoy playing craps online in our own homes, but let’s emphasize that we play at our favorite online casino only in the comfort of our homes, not at a casino. If we’re taking a vacation to a gambling destination such as Las Vegas and playing at a live casino, then we’re going to play at a live craps table to experience the fun and excitement of interacting with the craps dealers and other players. We’re not going to sit for hours at a machine pressing icons and buttons on a display screen. If we’re going to be in a casino, we prefer being at a live table whooping it up with our new friends when we win and cursing together when we lose. We want to touch our chips, toss them onto the layout, pick them up when we win, and say goodbye to them when we lose. Although we do enjoy playing craps online at home in our pajamas, we find that the game is a lot more fun at a live table. So, if we take the time and effort to go to a live casino, then we’re going to play at a live table, not at a bubble craps machine.

Some people believe that the bubble craps machines are a good way for the beginner to learn the game because they don’t get as intimidated as they might at a live table, and because they can play bubble craps for as low as $1 per bet (the part about not being as intimidated may not always be true). The logical question we’d ask is, why would you go to a live casino so unprepared (i.e., not knowing how to play the game)? At a bubble craps machine, you might be playing with other people on either side of you, or people might be standing behind you watching you play. Those people might wonder or flat-out ask you (they might be drunk or just plain rude), “Why did you make that sucker bet?” Or one of those people might be a know-it-all who can’t resist offering you his wisdom, “You should bet this way, not that way.” Also, the casino noise and smoke can distract you from your goal of learning the game. So, if your intent is to play bubble craps to learn the game, then why wouldn’t you learn the game before even going to your gambling destination, such as learning the game by playing at your favorite online casino in your own home, at your own pace, with no distractions at all? Suppose you say, “Well, I’m a loner and I hate people, so I like just sitting there by myself.” Our response would be, then why go to a live casino at all? Why not just stay home in your pajamas with your glass of wine and play online by yourself with some soothing music in the background without all that second-hand smoke? If you have a question about a certain bet while playing online, you can stop for a moment and refer to one of our many articles for help. If you’re going to learn the game or if you want to play at low limits such as $1, then we strongly suggest that you do it at your favorite online casino in the quiet and stress-free environment of your own home instead of at a bubble craps machine in a smoky, noisy, people-filled casino.

We here at the Crapspit see bubble craps as nothing more than a way for the casino to decrease their overhead costs and increase their profits. When we’re in a live casino, we play at a live table. When we want to play craps on a machine, we play online in the comfort of our own home. Despite our preferences, the popularity of bubble craps is growing in casinos worldwide such as in Reno and Atlantic City.

We have other articles that we believe you will also enjoy reading and we list them below:

You can now head over to the table of contents to find more great content.

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

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Comments 18

  1. The Casino that we have close to us has the bubble craps game only. I agree with you 100%. The reason for it, is not having the overhead of a live table. They had both games, but took out the red push button one. It’s ok to play, and pretty easy to pick up on. I did not know that the casino could set the odds on these games. The game they took out was only 2X odds on everything, The Interblock at least has 2, 3, 4X odds. My suggestion to anyone playing Interblock,. Play the don’t!

    1. I concur with your sentiment of Play the Don’t at these tables… especially the 3 dice sicbo variety. I have watched one die roll around the edge of the bubble rim and stop on its rounded corner. All bets were cancelled and the machine reset itself. This would never happen at a table. Even if the dice were tossed 30 feet across the casino. The table would not be cleared of every bet and reset. People woukd lose their stuff if that were common practice. To sum up; the statement from Interblock that assures the dice will always land flat is false. I witnessed in addition to this reset, two other instances when one die would land leaning on the other and the machine played on, no reset these times, it counted the angled die as it lay at about a 45° angle showing a 5 in both instances and in addition for both of these rolls the other die lay at rest showing a 2 for a total of “7 out!” There is a flaw somewhere and I have exploited the Darkside as often as possible when playing. In addition I have a technical question for anyone in the know. If these machines are considered to be slots, which they are considered to be in Arizona, they must be regulated by law to ensure a particular percentage payout by years end. So according to AZ state law which is pretty strict on the Native American Casinos as far as I can tell there must be a program in place that allows for the manipulation of the outcome, right?I know nothing about the laws in particular but I know slots have to pay out what they state they will payout. Thoughts and opinions are greatly apappreciated. And this is the best forum for craps by far. Sun Palace is also one of my favorites, so thanks for the recommendations.

      1. Thanks, Tangible, for the great information. We don’t play any form of slot machine and we don’t know much about them, so we can’t respond to your question about state laws and payout requirements. Our readers are welcome to post responses and maybe someone out there has the information you’re looking for and will post it. So, please return to the forum and check for responses. Again, thanks for the great info. We appreciate our readers’ input like yours because it helps to expand all of our craps-related knowledge. And thanks for the kind words about our site being the best forum for craps. Take care, and good luck at the tables—and at the bubble craps machines!

        1. I enjoy this discussion and thought I would add my 2 cents. I have been playing live craps for 40 years and bubble craps for 3 years. I am now retired and live within a 2 hour car ride of several casinos that have bubble craps. I am not a smoker but do enjoy the camaraderie of fellow gamblers and the simplicity of the bubble craps system. I find myself agreeing with several points on each side.

          I recommend that everyone review the Interblockgaming.com website, in particular dealer assisted craps. Imagine a live craps table, where you can roll the dice but make your bets electronically. imagine leaving the game and picking up where you left off at the bar top version. I magine that people who do not wish to stand at the table could still play at a personal system. This is the evolution of live table gaming and I think it is very exciting.

  2. Recently went to Vegas with the intention of playing Blackjack and not craps at all. Watched the craps table for a while then sat at the “Shoot to Win” bubble craps game with some friends. Lost my first $100 with just pass line minimal bets ($2) and betting the 6 and 8 at $6 per bet. I was taking profits but not letting my bet increase. Occasionally would bet the 5 and 9 at $5.
    Had a lot of fun but lost my $$.
    Went back a few hours later with $100 and refined my methods. Someone had recommended making a small “horn bet” wager when betting the come-out roll as insurance against a crap out. That worked out very well.Once point was established I would make a small ($2 to $3) odds bet on the pass line. I would take my first bet back from the 6 or 8 after they paid and allow the remainder to increase as the point came up each time. The machine would only allow a $14 maximum “Place” bet on any number and I don’t (yet) understand the “Buy” option so as I maxed out the 6 and 8, I would add future winnings to the 5,9 then 2,10. Using this system I turned $100 into $580 and cashed out feeling I had done well. The dice were so hot for me that I had $40 cash on me that I plopped into the machine and when it was $160 called it a night (actually 3:30 am).
    After reading some of this site (love the info, by the way) I wonder was this just dumb luck or was this a reasonable approach for a newbie?
    I imagine the $14 max place bets were unique to the machine and don’t work that way on a table.

    I have made plans to return to Vegas in March with much more info and play the real tables, but he bubble craps machine seemed a low-stress way to get used to the game.
    ANy advice/ comments are greatly appreciated. Love this site and will be absorbing as much info as I can over the next few months.

    1. Hi G Volans, and thanks for your kind words about the website. In one simple word, the answer to your question, “…was this just dumb luck…,” is yes.

      Craps is designed with all those different bets so the player has a statistical disadvantage and cannot possibly win over the long-term. But your lucky session where you won the $580 and the $160 proves the whole premise of our website that a statistical phenomenon called “distribution variance” can make us winners–even on a bubble craps machine. Please ensure you read our other articles for a basic understanding of this phenomenon (refer the link “Table of Contents” at the bottom of our pages) .

      As noted in the bubble craps article, we freely admit that we don’t know the details about any type or brand of bubble craps machine, so we can’t comment on why your machine’s maximum Place bet was only $14 on the 6 and 8 (maybe it had something to do with the amount of your Pass Line bet, we don’t know, we’re just guessing). We avoid bubble craps machines because we view them as a mere variation of a slot machine, similar to a video poker machine. We should all know that all machines are designed for the casino to have an advantage. Do any of our readers actually believe a casino would invest money in a machine and put that machine (including bubble craps) on its floor if it didn’t give the casino an advantage? My wife has short-lived sessions at the video poker machine where she hits four-of-a-kind five times in 20 minutes, but the machine always gets her money in the end. Same with bubble craps. It’s going to suck you in with a few winning sessions, but you’ll eventually feed it until your pockets are empty.

      A live table also has a built-in house advantage that you cannot beat over the long-term, but we believe playing a live table is way more fun and exciting than falling asleep at a machine.

      Regarding your “system,” please refer to our articles about so-called Winning Systems (you’ll be cured of any false hope that you’ve stumbled upon the elusive one-of-a-kind system that will consistently beat the casino and allow you to walk out a $500 winner every night).

      Regarding that Horn bet as a hedge to “protect” against a craps on the come-out, please refer to our article about Hedging Your Bets (you’ll be cured of that false hope, too). Hedging your bets does only two things: (1) increases the house advantage, and (2) empties your pockets faster over the long-term. But, after reading about Hedge Bets and you still can’t resist making them, why not consider an Any Craps bet instead of the Horn? If you don’t yet know the difference between the two bets, we encourage you to read our articles about them.

      We hope you’re comfortable enough with the game to play a live table when you return to Vegas in March. Although we’ve never played a bubble craps machine, we’re confident in saying that a live table can be much more fun and exciting than playing a machine. If you need more “alone time” to get comfortable, perhaps a way to gain that comfort is to play an online casino where you can bet as little as $1 (and you can do it right in your own home with no one watching over your shoulder). We believe blowing $20 or $30 at an online casino is a small price for learning and getting comfortable with playing the game. https://www.crapspit.org/sun-palace-casino-review/

      Again, thank you so much for your kind words about the site. Good luck, and let us know the results of your next trip. Oh, and read our article about Buy bets because you definitely want to replace your Place bets with Buy bets as the amounts increase during hot rolls, and let us know if you have questions. Here is the link too: https://www.crapspit.org/table-of-contents/

  3. I quit playing live craps after 15 years. I found that the bubble craps game is the best game for me. First, I can buy those numbers with any amount of bets ($1-$300); Second, I don’t have to be superstitious anymore. The shooter has to push the button every 20 seconds. There is no shitf change… THird, I get to keep all my profit and only tip the cocktail waitress; last, all I need to do is pushing the OFF button when I think it’s time to leave.
    However, there are two things you shoud be aware. First, don’t buy the number 4 or 10 more thant $20 (comparing the live table, the odds is getting worse after $19); Second, always buying the number 5 or 9 and always placing the number 6 or 8.

  4. Absolutely better namely because you don’t have to deal with all those “hater” stick men and their rude comments. Had great run at Westgate Las Vegas on this machine .

    1. I rarely have issues at the live craps tables but i can understand how a rude stick man could make you no longer want to play at the live table. Thank you for sharing!

  5. This game has a glitch. It’s happened to me at Hooters, Caesar’s Palace and Green Valley Ranch. If you play the don’t pass and place bets then the don’t pass loses, when the new pass is established it will wipe away some or all of your place bets. Both Caesar’s and GVR opened the game, ran back the roll and bet history and agreed I was right and paid me. They need to fix this.

    1. Hello Barry Ray,

      Thank you for taking the time to share this with our readers here at CrapsPit.org! Hopefully the casinos have taken the appropriate steps to ensure it does not happen again.

  6. First of all, let me say how much I enjoy and appreciate your site. The information provided is invaluable.
    I play “bubble craps” a lot. There are several reasons why I prefer it over the tables:
    1) I travel with my husband, and since we are on vacation, we prefer to spend time together. Sitting side by side at the machine gives us the chance to chat while the “shooter” resets, so we can discuss strategy (ha) or what we want to eat for dinner without someone’s elbow hitting our ribs.
    2) Sitting! Since I know that a winning strategy is non-existent, my goal is to play as long as I can. It’s a lot easier to do in a comfy chair. Since I have a partner, I can even go to the comfort area or the bar, and he can protect my space and my money, and vice versa. Yes, we’re boring, but we know what we like. No shame in this game.
    3) I can make stupid, risky bets without anyone being snarky. Yesterday the field got hot. I NEVER play the field. But what the heck? 10 rolls later, $50 richer.
    4) Eight is enough. Big tables can certainly be fun, but I’ve always had fun with the other people at the machine when things get hot. There’s plenty of high-fives, clapping, and yelling. We even ran into a couple this weekend who remembered us from playing last year. Winning is fun no matter where you are.
    5) Lower minimums means we both get to play. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to play a $5 or $10 table and both make the same bets. The winning is better, but the losing gets ugly real fast. With a $2 pass line bet and $1 minimum on the numbers, we can share the fun.
    6) The number tracker sometimes reveals interesting trends that, unless you’re Rainman, a table player might miss. For example, a couple of days ago, whenever a horn number was rolled, another followed immediately. Of course it’s a fluke, but it fluked for over an hour. Adds a little twist.

    Other thoughts:
    1) I’ve never seen the Shoot to Win machine do a total reset. Because the corners are rounded (so they won’t scratch and crack the glass), the dice sometimes get stuck on a corner. When that happens, the machine automatically re-shoots.
    2) In stand alone casinos (Hard Rock in Tampa, Hard Rock in Miami), I imagine it would be difficult to maintain a stable of well trained croupiers. After all, if they’re unhappy at work, where else will they go? How easily can they be replaced? They would have to be so well paid that it wouldn’t make fiscal sense to have a real table in place of the machine. (An 8 person machine costs about $100,000, according the the Aruze rep.)
    3) The odds are slightly different:
    4 & 10: 2:1
    5 & 9: 3:2
    6 & 8: 6:5

    All that said…do I win? No more and no less than on a table. There have been a few great runs where the initial $100 multiplies several times over. And plenty of times when it seems like nothing works and I have to walk away. I decided this weekend to spend some time tracking come out rolls, and the win/lose was almost exactly 50/50 over a 6 hour span (208 come out rolls). Playing the minimum pass line only would have been +$8, minimum don’t pass only -$8. (That doesn’t account for any place/buy/hardways/field/horn/any other bets.)

    So back to reason #2 why I like the machine. I believe as long as I’m consistent and avoid trap bets, I can sit down and leisurely enjoy my favorite game without losing my shirt, and if I’m lucky enough to be part of a streak, even better.

    Thanks again for the great info!

  7. Thank you Brookidy for taking the time to submit your experience with the bubble craps machines. I am sure many readers will find value in it and posts like this also add value to the site. Their is limited information online about bubble craps so thank you again for your post!

  8. I like the bubble crops from the ‘don’t have to put up with the other BS’ from other players with superstition, strategies, table etiquette, etc… However, I like the one with the button the shooter pushes. The other one is controlled by a computer, so could be manipulated. You can’t control when the user will push the button. Keeps it honest. It also pays in fractions of a dollar, so no need to have exact bet amounts.

  9. I like playing bubble craps because I don’t have to take the crap out of the bad behavior displayed by the dealers, pit bosses, and other players designed to make you lose money and reduce your enjoyment in playing the game. I am experienced in craps gaming since I have played for some time and have many friends that trained and dealt craps as one of their positions in the casino.

    Craps can be intimidating to play and learn but bubble craps can make the experience less stressful without people interacting with you to force you to change the way you play the game. You don’t have to worry about your drinking, you don’t have to worry about other people’s bets or yours offending someone else. You won’t be scolded for doing anything wrong at the table and you won’t be told what to do or not to do.
    Please note that the rules of bubble craps may change and be completely different from the rules applied to the table game or to even other bubble craps slot machines so don’t assume your odds of winning are the same or will stay the same while you are betting because the casino and machine can change the odds on the fly as you are on the table or slot machine. This changing of odds is always wrong in every sense of the word but still they do it.

  10. I like bubble craps because I can play with my low-rolling friends/family. I have to admit it can get a little boring though (by myself at least, haha). I agree. Craps table employees have little tolerance towards beginners and it can make it intimidating.

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