Craps is a game with many esoteric-sounding terms and jargon. New players should not be intimidated by the terminology and oddball etiquette of dice shooting. Craps is not nearly as complicated as it looks.
Most of the wagering options are sucker bets, so you only need to learn a handful of the basic wagers to enjoy craps fully. Here is a glossary of craps terms to get you started.
Aces – See “Snakeyes”.
Base Dealer – Two dealers who stand on either side of the boxman, handling bets on their half of the table. They take instructions from the boxman.
Bones – The dice.
Boxman – The boxman is the seated employee in the center of the table who handles the casino chips, supervises the base dealers, and handles money transactions.
Black – Dealer term for $100. A $100 chip is black.
Cold Dice – When the shooters keep failing to make their point, the dice are cold.
Coloring Up – Process of exchanging chips of one color for chips of another color, usually for larger denominations. This is done by the boxman.
Come Bet – The “come out” bet is much like the pass bet, except it occurs after the point is established. At this point, you want the dice to hit the point instead of the 7.
Comps – Complimentary drinks, meals, hotel rooms, or other incentives to keep playing. Freebies. Some casinos offer cashback, depending on the betting stakes.
Crap Number – The 2, 3, and 12. Roll any one of these are you crap out.
Crap Out – To lose on the come out roll.
Don’t Come Bet – Made after the point is established, it is similar to the “don’t pass” bet. You are betting against the shooter–thus, on the 7.
Don’t Pass Bet – Made on the come out roll, the “don’t pass” bet is the opposite of the pass bet. You are betting against the shooter. The don’t pass wager has the best house edge in the game: 1.35%.
Front Line – Alternate phrase for a pass line bet.
Garden – A field bet.
Hot Dice – When the shooter is winning a lot of rolls.
Hot Table – The same as hot dice, except the good luck is imparted to the table itself and not the dice.
Lay-Out – The craps table or, better put, the printed bets on the craps table.
Lay Odds – Once a point is established, players can make an additional bet called laying the odds. This bet has a house edge of 0%, so it works to lower the overall house edge on a player’s original bet. For this reason, the size of an odds bet is limited by the casino. Gamblers should learn how laying odds works and use it whenever possible, because it boosts one’s chances of winning.
Marker – A plastic disk used to mark the point. One side has the word “on” and the other side has the word “off”. Not to be confused with casino markers, which are IOUs (to the casino) signed by high rollers when the play on credit.
Natural – Rolling a 7 or an 11 on the come out roll. This is an automatic winner for the shooter and all who make the pass line bet.
Odds Bet – A second wager made in addition to the original bet. See “Lay Odds”. This is important for lowering the house edge in craps, so learn the odds bet.
On – When the odds are active on the next roll, the marker is turned to the “On” side.
Off – When the odds are not active on the next roll, the marker is turned to the “Off” side.
Pass Line Bet – The basic bet in craps is the pass line bet or “pass bet”. To win, you need to roll a 7 or 11. If you roll a 2, 3, or 12, you lose. Any other number sets a “point”. The house edge on this wager is 1.41%, which is the second-best bet in the game.
Rack – The rail along the edge of the table where player chips are kept.
Right Better – A gambler with a wager on the pass line bet. Essentially, they are betting with the shooter. It is considered slightly unfriendly to make the “don’t pass” bet, which is why this is called the “right” better. While it is within etiquette to bet against the shooter (as the odds are better), it is considered rude to celebrate when you make the “don’t pass” or don’t come bet and win.
Seven Out – To roll a seven on the come out roll. To lose on the first roll.
Shooter – The person rolling the dice at any given time. Typically, a player is the shooter until they lose a roll, at which point the option to shoot dice or not is passed clockwise around the table.
Snakeyes – When the dice come up 1-1, because it looks like two beady little eyes. Snakeyes is bad, because the shooter loses. A player can bet “aces”, which is a long-odds bet that the dice will come up 1-1
Stickman – A stickman stands across the table from the boxman. He holds the long stick which retrieves the dice, takes bets in the center of the table, and calls out the results of the roll
Sucker Bet – When the house edge is so high no smart gambler would take the bet.
The Boys – A slang term for the craps dealers.
Toke – Slang term for a tip.
World Bet – A bet five numbers: all the horn numbers (2, 3, 11, and 12) and the 7.
Wrong Better – Betting against the shooter. Making a don’t pass or don’t come bet. See “Right Better” for the craps etiquette on betting.
Yo or Yo-leven – Used to indicate an eleven was rolled. Yo or “Yo-leven” is used, so the players do not confuse the words “seven” and “eleven” amidst the background noise of the casino.
The terminology above should get you started on dice shooting. Many bets exist in craps, but most of them are sucker bets. Stick with the basics and you’ll do alright when playing craps.