The Craps Table Layout
A standard craps table layout comprises two sections: 1) side section (there are two identical side sections, one on each end of the table), and 2) center section. Each side section is manned by a dealer. The center section is manned by the stickman. Because the two side sections are identical, it doesn’t matter which end you play, except for personal preference (e.g., if one end has several chain smokers, then you might want to play at the other end). Regardless of your table position, the only areas on the layout that apply to you are the side section at your end and the center section. The side section at the other end of the table is for players at that end. All players at both ends share the center section. See the two figures for illustrations of the layout’s side and center sections. The blocks and numbers on the layout represent the various bets you can make, which are described in our other articles.
Each side section has two areas: 1) the self-service (or player’s) area; and 2) the dealer’s area. The blank part of the table between the pyramid rubber and the layout is called the “apron.”
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The side section’s “self-service area” includes the following bets: Pass Line, Don’t Pass, Come, Don’t Come, Field, and on some tables the Big 6 and Big 8. (Note: Not all craps tables have the Big 6 and Big 8 bets because the house advantage is so high that most people don’t bet them, so the casino doesn’t waste table space with them.) These bets represent the “player’s area” or self-service area because you handle these bets yourself without the dealer’s help. To make one of these bets, you put your chip(s) in the block yourself. For the Pass, Don’t Pass, and Field, if you win the bet, the dealer places your winnings adjacent to your original bet and it’s your responsibility to pick up your chips (the Come and Don’t Come are a bit different as described below). If you leave your chips on the table, the crew assumes you’re pressing up your bet with your original bet amount plus your winnings. So, if you don’t intend to press the bet, then you must pay attention and remove your chips from the layout before the next roll is made. Technically, you can also make a Place bet on the point yourself by placing your bet in a specific position on the Pass Line, but we’ll discuss that in another article.
The side section’s “dealer’s area” includes the six square boxes with the numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10, which are called “point boxes.” The 6 and 9 are usually written out “six” and “nine” so there’s no confusion on anyone’s part which number the box represents. When a point is established, the dealer places the puck white-side up (i.e., in the ON position) in the middle of the corresponding point box to indicate the point number for that particular game. The dealer also uses these point boxes to make several types of bets at your request, which are the Buy, Lay, and Place bets, and odds bets for the Come and Don’t Come. The Come and Don’t Come are self-service bets that you make yourself, but the dealer handles the odds for them. It works like this. You make a Come/Don’t Come bet by putting your chips in the Come/Don’t Come block. If a Come/Don’t Come point is established, the dealer moves your chips to the appropriate rectangle adjacent to the appropriate point box. To add odds to your Come/Don’t Come bet, you put your chips in the apron and tell the dealer, “Odds on the Come/Don’t Come, please.” The dealer then picks up your chips and places them in the appropriate position with your Come/Don’t Come bet.
Notice that each point box has two thin rectangles and one wider rectangle associated with it. The thinner rectangles at the top and bottom of each point box are where the dealer puts Place bets. The wider rectangles at the top of each point box are where the dealer puts Lay and Don’t Come bets. The dealer puts Buy bets and Come bets inside the square point boxes. (I know this sounds terribly confusing, but our other articles about the various bets clearly illustrate exactly where each chip goes for each type of bet. We walk through each step in the betting process and show you exactly what happens with your chips.) Unlike the self-service area, you’re not allowed to put down or pick up any bets in the dealer’s area.
All players on both ends of the table share the center section, which contains the “proposition” bets. The stickman handles all bets in the center section, so keep your hands off this area. Typically, to make a proposition bet in the center section, get the stickman’s attention and gently toss your chip over the center of the table and tell him what bet you want. Sometimes, the stickman will catch it but most of the time, he’ll let the chip fall onto the layout. So, when tossing your chip to the center section, try to aim for an empty part of the layout so you don’t knock over everyone else’s chips. If that happens, the stickman has to remember exactly how much the other players’ bets were and then re-position the chips in their proper locations (not a fun thing for the stickman). If the stickman is busy making bets for other players and you’re too impatient to wait until he’s ready for you, simply put your chip in the apron and tell the dealer what proposition bet you want. The dealer will pick up your chip and either put it in the proper position in the center section, or he’ll wait for the stickman to finish with the other players and then tell the stickman what bet you want. If you win a proposition bet in the center section, the stickman tells the dealer how much to pay you, and then the dealer puts your winning chips in the apron in front of you for you to pick up and place in your chip rack.
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