December 1, 2023


If You Really

Craps Table Etiquette

4 min read

Believe it or not while you may hear all of the hollering and yelling at the craps table, there are certain unwritten rules of etiquette that are expected to be followed. The first rule is to be courteous to dealers, casino staff and other players. Casinos do their best to promote the image of playing craps as being exciting and fun, but sometimes a player who has had too much to drink may take the party atmosphere too seriously and be just too wild.

When you first walk up to the table wait to buy your chips until the shooter is done shooting or until the dealer asks if you want to “buy-in.” Always place your cash on the table and NEVER try to hand it to the dealer. The dealer is not allowed to take money directly from any player and vice versa. All transactions must be on the felt layout so that the infamous eye in the sky can ensure there is no funny business going on between a dealer and the player. Once you put your cash on the table tell the dealer “change only please.” Otherwise, it may be considered a bet.

The dealer will then take your money and lay it out so that the box person can see how much it is and then the dealer will place you chips either in front of you or on the Come area of the layout. The box person will then put your cash in the cash box through a hole in the table. It is kind of the casinos way of telling you to say “bye-bye” to your money. They will use a lot of psychological tricks to keep your cash.

Once the dealer places your chips in front of you it is your responsibility to pick-up your chips and place them in the chip rack. If you do not remove your chips from the table, it may be considered a bet. Don’t worry about hurrying to remove your chips from the table too much because the dealers will give you plenty of time to pick up your chips from the layout. The stickperson will keep the dice in the middle of the table until the dealers are finished paying the winning bets, collecting the losing bets or making change for new players (and for people who need to reach into their pockets to buy more chips).

Always, always, always keep your hands above the chip rack (above the rail). Do not let your hands or fingers hang over the edge of the table. Many players are superstitious and believe that if the dice accidentally hit your hand or fingers that it will cause a 7 to appear. It is bad luck to let the dice hit another person’s hands or fingers. This is why you will see other players getting very upset if someone is reaching in at the last moment to make a bet.

When you are the shooter, use only one hand to hold the dice. Do not rub the dice with both hands. The casinos do not allow players to rub the dice with both hands because it grinds the edges. Using one hand to control the dice also helps to assure the table crew that you are not trying to switch dice or that you are not a dice mechanic (a player who replaces the official casino dice with crooked dice).

Do not spend an excessive amount of time setting the dice or going through any lengthy routine. The other players and dealers will expect a person to roll the dice within 3 to 4 seconds of receiving them from the stick person.

Always be nice to the dealers. Always toke the dealers. If the dealers are rude or not courteous to you, you have the option to leave the table or the casino. For the most part the dealers are nice and will help you – – so long as you treat them fairly. I routinely toke the dealers after a win and generally ask them where they want to place their tokes as a bet. The dealers appreciate this gesture because it allows them to “get into” the game and if they win on there bet, your $1 or $2 could be as much as $10 or more. Contrary to popular belief, the dealers are paid mostly from tips.

It is considered bad luck to mention the word “seven” during a roll. It is also generally considered rude to ask to “color out” or to “color up” in the middle of a shooter’s roll.

Be polite to the cocktail waitress. If you request a beverage (if you are playing it better be non-alcoholic), toke her a $1 chip. The cocktail waitress earns most of her money on tips.

Simply stated, be courteous and respectful, avoid behavior that is rude, pushy or belligerent. Do not attempt to force your way into a crowded table. If there isn’t room on the rail for you to place your chips in a separate section, you should not be there. Especially do not attempt to push your way into a hot table next to the shooter.

If you are only watching a companion, friend or partner and are not betting, and have no intention of making a bet, do not stand at the rail. Leave the space for another player who does want to get in on the action.

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