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.
Above: Aruze Gaming’s 8-Seat “Shoot to Win Craps”
Above: Interblock’s 2-Sided Center Display, 6-Seat “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.
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