start with the players, men and women, rank beginners
and old-timers, some laughing and shouting, some quiet
and grim. Although they are all crowded around the
table together, craps is not a group games. All players
bet against the house, and one player's decisions
in no way affect those of the others. The number of
players is limited only by the number of people who
can squeeze around the table. If you can slip in sideways
and get to the layout, go for it.
If you are going to play, you will need to bet with
chips or checks. Chips are required for craps with
no exception, for several reasons. First, the bankroll
needed by a casino is a fraction of what would be
required if all tables were stocked with cash. Second,
the different colors of the chips simplify the dealer's
job of paying winning bets. Finally, the possibility
of theft is reduced since stolen chips must be subsequently
converted into cash.
How much cash you convert depends on the minimum bet
and other factors. Each craps table has a minimum-bet
requirement. A sign is positioned next to the dealers
on either end to indicate the table stakes. You can
easily tell the stakes by the color of the sign. A
white sign indicates a $2 or $3 minimum bet (very
few of these low-minimum tables are found in today's
casinos); a red sign indicates a $5 minimum (the most
common); light brown or blue or a similar color indicates
a $10 minimum; green indicates a $25 minimum; blue
indicates a $50 minimum; and black indicates a $100
minimum. Maximums usually vary between $300 and $1,000,
although top casinos will raise the maximums at the
request of a high rolling player.
Place some of your currency in front of the dealer
and, so that it will not be mistaken for a bet, announce
clearly, "Change, please." Don't try to
hand the dealer your money. Drop it on the table.
Dealers are not allowed to take money out of your
hand, and they are not permitted to hand you your
chips. The dealer will usually repeat "Change
only," and hand the money to the boxman, who
counts it and tells the dealer the amount. The dealer
will then place the equivalent amount of chips on
the table in front of you. Pick them up and immediately
place the chips you are not betting in the chip grooves
provided in the table railing directly in front of
you. Never leave chips on the layout, as they may
be considered a bet. Remember that dealers must pay
off all previous winning wagers and will usually set
up new bets before stopping to make change. If you
think the dice will be thrown before you get your
chips, clearly announce the size and type of the wager
you are making; if the dealer acknowledges it, called
websiteing, you have a bet-even before you get your
are a fascinating subject, but as knowledge of common
tells becomes more common, it becomes less useful.
The information remains valuable against relative
novices, but isn't particularly valuable against more
experienced players without empirical and player-specific
Televised poker is going to make it much easier to
pick up tells on players, because we're all going
to get to see faces and hole card simultaneously.
I can tell you from first-hand experience that players
are working on sending false tells to TV audiences.
When I knew prospective opponents might be studying
videotapes of me, I made quite sure I included some
meaningless repetitive motions.