Craps isn’t a stuffy game at all. In fact, it’s one of the most exciting games in the casino, and players regularly jump up and down, yell, and scream. It’s like being at a sporting event with a lot of fans, all of whom have money on their favorite team.
As a result, a lot of behavior that wouldn’t be appropriate at a formal dinner is perfectly appropriate at the craps table. That being said, some craps etiquette should be observed, but it’s nothing too complicated, and it’s certainly not something to stress out about.
This page focuses on craps etiquette and how to behave at the craps table.
Being at the Craps Table
A craps table is usually about three times as big as a blackjack table. Up to a dozen people normally play at a craps table, and it’s customary to stand unless you have some kind of physical disability. If you find a table that looks crowded, it’s polite to find another, less crowded table. Another option is to wait until the action at the table slows down and there’s room for you.
You can buy chips at the craps table. When you do this, you should put your cash on the table. Do NOT put your money into a casino dealer’s hand. Wait until the dice are at the center of the table, too—it’s not just impolite to put your hands into a spot where the dice might hit them. It’s also considered unlucky, which might even be worse than impolite.
Being the Shooter
The player at the table who rolls the dice is called the shooter. Everyone playing gets a chance to throw the dice, and each round the dice move around the table to the next person. It’s perfectly polite to decline being the shooter if you want to.
If you are the shooter, you must keep the dice in view at all times. This is a casino protocol that prevents cheating.
You should also make sure that you throw the dice hard enough to bounce off the end wall of the table.
Finally, if you’re the shooter, just use one hand.
Right Bettors and Wrong Bettors
Right bettors bet on the shooter to win on either the come-out roll or after the number is set. Wrong bettors bet on the shooter to lose. It’s not necessarily impolite to bet the wrong way every time, but it changes the nature of the game a bit.
Look at it this way. You’re at a table with ten other people, all of whom are rooting for the shooter. Do you want to be the one person at the table rooting against him? Some contrary types might want to, but for most people, being a right bettor makes a lot of sense. It’s more fun when you can high-five the patron next to you when the shooter gets on a hot streak.
Don’t Push Your System
Focus on playing your game. Your job isn’t to educate the other players at the table unless they ask you for help. You certainly shouldn’t advise them to follow any betting systems you’ve learned or devised. All of those systems are mathematically worthless, whether you believe it or not.
If someone else is superstitious or has a system, and you’re skeptical, keep it to yourself. It might seem like it’s more polite to dispel superstitions than it is to promote your betting system, but the reality is that it isn’t.
You also shouldn’t tell other people how to play unless they ask for help. The casino has employees who will help monitor the action and keep the game going. Mind your own business is good etiquette no matter what the endeavor.
Watch Your Alcohol Intake
Being drunk at the craps table ensures two things. You’ll make bad decisions, and you’ll annoy other people. It’s fine to drink and enjoy the alcohol. You’re there to have fun, after all. But keep it within reason.
Speaking of drinking, just because the cocktail waitress brings you free drinks doesn’t mean she doesn’t get a tip. Be sure to always tip her a dollar or two, every time she brings you a drink. If you can’t afford to tip the cocktail waitress, you’ve got no business ordering drinks (or playing craps, for that matter.)
If you’re losing at the table, you’re not expected to tip the dealer. But if you’re winning, it’s customary to tip the dealers. One classy way to do this is to place a bet on their behalf. Don’t tip so much that you give away all your profits, though. 10% of your winnings toward tipping is plenty, but if you’re feeling generous, 20% isn’t unheard of. And if the dealer is a jerk (and that happens sometimes), don’t tip.
Don’t Try to Cheat
Cheating at gambling games in major casino destinations isn’t just a faux pas. It’s also illegal. This is just common sense, but don’t try to cheat at craps or any other casino game.
Craps etiquette isn’t hard to learn. Most of it is common sense, and etiquette at the craps table is similar to etiquette in most other places. Try to treat other people the way you’d like to be treated, and you’ll do fine.