Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Learn and Play Craps with Royal Flusher: The Basics

A loud bunch of people in the casino are having what sounds like a full-on fireworks and jello shots party, grouped around a long wooden table, drinking, laughing, placing chips on the table, and picking up winnings, the racks in front of them filling up with red, green and black chips.

About every 30 seconds, they scream at the top of their lungs, high-five each other, and generally carry on, practically giving everyone within a 50 yard radius a heart attack. They are, without a doubt, the most obnoxious, out of control group in the casino.

And by God, you want to be one of them someday. Because it looks like they are having the time of their lives. And they are.

Welcome to craps. In this series of articles, I'm going explain in crystal clear terms the absolute bare minimum that you need to know to start playing craps without making an ass of yourself or getting into any trouble. I'll explain the fundamental rules, and show you how to walk up to a craps table and get in the game without feeling intimidated. Because, let's face it, to some, craps is the most intimidating-looking game in the casino. But once you know the basics, it's easy.

The best part? With this simple information, you'll be making some of the best bets with the lowest house edge in the casino.
When you see craps in the movies, it's usually wrong, or ridiculous. James Bond strolls up to the table and says, "'ll take full odds on the ten, 200 on the hardway, the limit on all the numbers, and 250 on the eleven, thank you very much." Next thing you know he's got a ton of money, and an STD from Plenty O'Toole.

Forget all that sort of stuff. The simplest way to play craps is to make a pass line bet.
Let's take a look at the craps layout. Don't be fazed by all the ridiculous numbers and boxes. You won't need them for this lesson.

The craps layout. Well, half a craps layout. The other side of the table is a mirror image.

See the pass line? That's all you are going to need. That's now as simple as an one-toothed hay-wagon jockey, now isn't it.

When you bet on the pass line, you are going to bet that the dice 'pass'. That they 'make it'. That they succeed, win, prevail, get lucky, return home to Motorboatin' Mama.

You know that craps are played with two dice, right? And the dice are rolled by the players down the table. And that this determines what happens.

There are a set of rules that are used to determine when the dice win or 'pass', and when they lose (or 'don't pass'). Here's the toughest part of the lesson - a little flowchart that Jimmy Poon made up for me when I was trying to learn the game.

Rolls of the dice are part of a process that loops over and over again. This process is actually called a 'hand'. It can be as short as one roll, or as long as, well, many, many rolls - five, ten, even twenty or thirty on rare occasion. (That's what causes the screaming maniacs the most excitement.)

Let's say you bet on the pass line.

"You bet on the pass line."

Thank you.

The process starts with the 'come out' roll, on the left side of the chart.

Roll a 2, 3 or 12 and the dice have not passed. BZZZZZT!!! You're a loser. You blow. You failed. You have been crushed by the sturdy hand of the Casino Giants. It sucks to be you.

Roll a 7 or 11 on the come out roll, and you've won! You're brilliant! You're lucky! You killed it! You slayed 'em! You could do this all night, baby, you can't LOSE!!!!!

Roll a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 on the come out roll, and you have established what is called 'the point'. You haven't won yet, and you haven't lost.

As you can see on the chart, you get to ROLL AGAIN. Only now, things change just a little bit. You now roll a number of times until one of two things happens.

Roll a 7, you've now lost. (This is the confusing bit. Seven was good before, but once a point is established, it's lost its allure. It's glory has faded. It's a piss-drop in the shit bucket that is your craps session.)

Roll the point number again, change the sheets, you're getting lucky tonight - you've won! The dice have passed! Everybody betting on the pass line wins money, money, money!

Roll any other number other than 7 or the point and nothing happens regarding your pass line bet. You haven't won yet, and you haven't lost. You roll again, and again if needs must, and yet again if needs still must.

And that's it! That in a nutshell is the basic way that craps is played, at least in terms of the rules of the rolling of the little cubes with their little pointy corners.

How Do I Actually Play Craps?

I knew you were going to ask that.

In the next article of this series, I'm going to explain exactly how to get into a game of craps without stepping on any toes or anyone giving you the stink-eye.

Because know this - craps players are the most ridiculously superstitious people out there with a bunch of unwritten rules (well, we'll fix THAT won't we) - and soon you will be one of them!

Because you have been such a good student, here's the simplest way to play craps.
  • You wait until a roll is over.
  • You place some money on the felt and get chips. You note the table minimum, written on the little sign.
  • You place the minimum bet on the pass line.
  • If the guy with the bamboo stick shoves the dice toward you, just wave him off and say 'Pass'. Let some other loser take all the stress of shooting the dice for now.
  • Follow along as the roll takes shape, remembering the fancy-ass flowchart I made just for you - yes you.
  • When the dice pass and you win, the dealer will put your winnings beside your bet. Scoop 'em up and feel lucky - you're a winner and a savvy craps player.

That's basically it, for the newbie player. I have glossed over a bunch of stuff but don't you worry - in the articles to come, I'm going to tell you exactly how to get into the game, what to do, what not to do, what to wear, whether it is okay to wear white at the craps table after Labor Day, who the heck Little Jo and Yo-leven are, and other important things like where to put your drink when playing craps. (Hint - not on the table. Not ever.)

Next up!
Learn and Play Craps with Royal Flusher: Simple Pass Line Play