Craps Etiquette

Like all other casino games, and all group activities for that matter, the game of craps has an unwritten set of rules to complement the technical ones. While issues such as betting schemes, payouts, shooter rotation and active dice are all within the scope of the dry rules, other, more ‘cultural’ aspects of the game have also developed into their own set of rules. These are known as ‘craps etiquette’, and are commonly followed by all craps players. Some of these guidelines are related to casino security and are enforced by the casinos; others are attributed to superstition or good manners.

Here are some of the more important ones:

  • When offered the dice to shoot, it’s OK to pass the dice to the next player. However, there must be someone else at the table that has placed a Pass Line or Don’t Pass bet; otherwise there will be no shooter.
  • The shooter should handle the dice with one hand only. If he or she chooses to switch hands before the throw, the dice should be placed on the table with one hand, and then picked up with the other hand.
  • The shooter may not take the dice past the table edge. The last two rules eliminate the possibility of dice switching.
  • In most casinos, the dice should be thrown all the way to the opposite wall (‘the back wall’) and hit it. Otherwise a ‘no roll’ is ruled. This eliminates the possibility of shooters controlling their rolls.
  • Players are not allowed to touch the dealer, so handing money directly to the dealer is prohibited. Players should lay their cash down on the layout for the dealer to collect and switch to chips.
  • Players are expected to remove their hands from the table when the shooter is ready to roll. It’s common practice for the stickman to say “hands high, let ’em fly” or “dice are out, hands high”.
  • In case one or both dice hit the dealer or a player and then roll back onto the table, some casinos will rule a ‘no roll’, while others will accept the roll as long as the person being hit did not interfere with the throw. Follow casino rules in all such situations (you really have no other choice).
  • Place your chips on the table rather than throwing them, so as not to interfere with other players’ chips or the roll of the dice.
  • Never place a bet when the dice are in the air. The dice might hit the chips and the result may upset other players.
  • Don’t talk to (or bump into) a shooter who is just about to roll. Again, some players might blame you for interfering with the outcome if it’s not in their favor.
  • After the come-out roll, it’s considered bad luck to say (or even think) the word ‘seven’ at the craps table. Instead, use the nickname “Big Red”. If you do say ‘seven’ and it appears, some players may count it against you.
  • Even though it makes slightly more mathematical sense than the Pass Bet, players who bet the Don’t Pass bet are considered bad luck at the table. Betting the Don’t Pass bet is also called “betting on the dark side”, and is frowned upon.
  • Changing dice in the middle of a roll is considered bad luck. For this reason, if a die (or dice) goes off the table, the shooter is expected to immediately ask for “same dice”. If the dealer substitutes the dice, bad luck is sure to follow.
  • If a shooter is on a roll, don’t slow him down by delaying the game or he might cool off.
  • It is considered bad luck for the shooter to leave the table after a successful come-out roll.

If you follow these simple rules you will no longer be an observer, but an equal citizen in the exciting world of craps. You will be able to participate in one of the most enjoyable communal events that casinos have to offer.