I’m a huge fan of the movies and have been since I was a kid. And one of my favourite filmmakers has to be Martin Scorcese the Italian-American director.

So when the movie Casino made it’s debut I wasted no time in getting to my local cinema. That was many years ago and I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen the film since.

While the excitement level may not be the same as that very first viewing it still has the power to keep me completely engaged.

One scene that I find powerful is when Sam, played by Robert DeNiro, notices Ginger, played by Sharon Stone, for the first time. She’s a sexy hustler shooting dice for another wealthy player at the Craps table. The scene is fast and raw. Especially when she erupts in anger and throws a tray of chips into the air.

It’s not the first time a Craps game has been used to ratchet up the drama in a film. And no wonder. it’s probably the most exciting table in any real casino.

Who’s working at the Craps table?

The Craps table is handled by four casino employees. On one side is the Boxman. He’ll be seated along the center. And typically the only person ever seated at a Craps table. On either side of the Boxman are the Dealers. One to look after each end of the table which are mirror images of each other. While the Dealers are responsible for calling bets, wins and losses the Boxman oversees it all. On the opposite side of the table and directly across from the Boxman is the Stickman. This person is easy to spot. His job is to move the dice around the table using a rake-like stick.

Tip : Proper etiquette for players and shooters is to stand.

For the most part he’ll offer up fresh dice to each successive shooter. As well as collect the dice after each roll. If you get close enough you’ll hear some very colourful language coming from the table. Most of it in reference to the outcome of each roll. Don’t be confused by the terminology. It’s purpose is to entertain as well as inform. You’ll hear slang, rhyme and even signature expressions from their own casino. “It’s no wonder script writers love casino-speak.”

What about the players at a Craps table?

Depending on the table size up to 16 players can take part. Once a shooter moves into position at the end of the table the Stickman offers up 5 dice. The shooter will then choose two dice from the lot. The shooter will use those same two dice throughout their round. In the case of any dice bouncing from the table the Stickman will offer the remaining dice for the shooter to pick from.

This is an effort to keep the dice honest. There was a time that bouncing dice from the table was a tactic used by unscrupulous players. They would use the distraction to get their own ‘loaded’ dice into the game. Bounced dice can only be replayed if the Boxman has inspected and accepted them. To join in it’s as simple as finding a vacant slot at a table. The only exception is when a small towel has been placed to mark someone’s placed bet while they have left momentarily …usually a washroom break.

What about the shooter?

After a round ends the shooter can remain with a fresh bet or give up their spot. The Stickman, moving clockwise, will then offer up the shooter’s spot to each successive player that has placed a bet.

The new shooter now chooses two new dice. Tip: Use a single hand when picking dice from the Stickman.

Many people have their own lucky rituals before rolling. But it’s best to not waste a lot of time on this. You want to be considerate of other player’s time.

When it comes time to roll. The idea is to use enough force to hit the far wall. It’s angular surface is designed to rebound the dice chaotically. This is yet another safeguard to defeat loaded dice or a strategic throw.

Breaking down the points.

Craps is played is two stages, the come-out and the point stage.

During the come-out stage the shooter needs to establish a point with the come-out roll (first roll). This must be anything other than a 2, 3, 7, 11 or 12. If any of these are rolled the shooter “craps out”. In which case the round ends.

If the shooter rolls a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 this is now the established point. The Dealer will mark that point by placing a white marker on the corresponding number printed on the table surface.

Placing a bet in the points stage.

You are simply betting on the outcome of the dice roll. You are betting for or against the shooter hitting the established point again.

You do this by placing your wager (chips) on either the Pass line or Don’t Pass bar. These are printed on the table surface.

All bets (table minimum) must be placed before the roll.

There have been attempts in the past to create distractions and place a bet after the roll. This is next to impossible nowadays. The Boxman, Dealers and Stickman monitor the tables closely. And what they miss will be recorded on security cameras for instant playback. Summing up Craps.

Craps is an exciting game with a short learning curve. It’s animated, visual and easy to pick up. This is entry level gaming for those looking for casino excitement. If you’re still unsure about joining a table you could wait until a less-peak time to approach. Most Dealers are happy to accommodate your need for instruction. Don’t forget to tip for the extra help. Keep in mind there are strategies worth learning in the form of odds and dice combinations. But in the end it’s still a game of chance. Know this going in.

If you want to continue your Craps education inquire at your casino about sideline coaching or video tutorials.