Dice setting and
the Dice Coach have contributed a positive addition to my game. The more
“tools” available to me as an advantage player, the better chances I have
of coming away with a winning session.
Of all the “tools” in my arsenal, I still
cling to the metaphysics or what I typically call the prevailing energy as
one of the more import. The prevailing energy at a craps table is an
expression of all the players, personnel and events that occur at the
Often energy is expressed in subtle yet
powerful ways. Little things can occur during a game to effect the energy.
Sometimes this is good, sometimes it is not so good and sometimes it does
not make a difference. Often a shift in energy occurs as a result of an
inconsiderate act or otherwise uneducated player that does not follow
protocol at a craps table.
Table manners at the craps table goes
beyond social etiquette. It is more than the basic “yes sir”, “no ma’am”,
“thank you”, “yes please”. Your behavior is an expression of your energy,
stating to the universe who you are and how you expect to be treated.
My intention, when playing dice is to be
treated like a winner. Winners are always respected, and they are treated
in an honorable manner. During a recent session with Dice Coach and Soft
Touch one player exhibited poor table manners. After the session I was
encourage to write an article on table manners and how a person’s play can
effect the game on an energy level.
I will take you through what I consider
protocol for entering a game, playing and exiting a game.
Before entering, be aware of the game. Is
it a come out roll or is it in the middle of a hand? Identify the shooter.
Do not push in or crowd the shooter. Doing so is an invasion and usually
breaks the energy, which results in the seven out. If standing next to the
shooter is where you wish to play, be patient and wait until the shooter
has finished the hand. I have a personal rule of never entering in
mid-game and never interrupt the shooter. The shooter is sacred.
When you have selected your position and
you are ready to buy in, do so during the come out roll or at lease when
the dice are in front of the box man. Do not toss in your money and rating
card with a “look at me, I am in this game” kind of energy. Get the
Politely put your money down with the
rating card stating how much you have and if you want to book a bet or
want no action. If you are going to buy-in during the middle of a hand,
please do so when the dice are in the middle and when you can see that
your buy-in is not going to hold up the game.
Example: Don’t call for a marker. Don’t
make bastard bets that befuddle the dealers and require repeated
explanation. You owe it to those already in the game to get in with a low
profile allowing for the flow to continue. Your buy-in if not handled
properly can be an interruption and cause the game to break down. There is
always plenty of time. You do not have to rush. You will not miss a thing.
Now that you are
in the game, here is a bit about the dealers serving you. There are three
dealers at the table. The stickman runs the game. He controls the dice and
sends them to the shooter. The stickman is in charge of the proposition
bets directly in front of the stick position. It is the stickman’s job to
determine the winning pay-off, who is paid, and when they are paid. The
stickman first instructs payment of winning proposition bets from the end
of the table, opposite to the shooter. He begins with the player closest
to the paying dealer.
There is one dealer at each end of the
craps table. They are the money handlers. The dealer exchanges cash for
chips, settles winning bets, and picks up losing bets. They have a set
routine for the order of how they pay and pick up bets. Watch, and you
will quickly see that the order is right to left or left to right,
depending on which end of the table you are playing. When being paid, you
have to pay attention and wait your turn.
The same thing happens when booking a
bet. The dealer is like a cocktail waiter, willing to take your order. In
the lounge, a table of six people would not shout out the drink order all
at once. Unfortunately, it happens at a craps table all the time. Here are
just a few suggestions for good table manners once in the game.
Be patient, be alert, and
be ready to make your wager when it becomes your turn to bet.
Be polite! Learn the
dealer’s name and use it when booking your wager. It helps to get their
attention, as well as a way of honoring them.
Wait your turn to be paid
before giving the dealer betting instructions. That is, “same bet, press
up, take down”.
Proposition bets go to the
stickman. Get his attention first before throwing the chips in. Nothing
slows the game like a stickman chasing checks then having to ask who’s bet
it is and what they want. Never mind the attitude it can evoke.
Make your wagers when the
dice are in the middle of the table. There is plenty of time and all you
have to do is be ready when it comes your turn to bet.
Don’t try to make late bets
after the dice are out.
Don’t toss your money or
chips out in front of the shooter after they have the dice. If you have to
make a late bet, get the dealers attention by name and make a call bet
chips in hand. After the roll politely put your action down for the
Keep your hands up and out
of the table at all times except when making a bet. Too often I see
zealous players pointing out their bets to a friend crossing the shooter’s
energy, line of site or worse, having the dice hit their hand. Always a
guarantee for a seven out.
Keep your movements to a
minimum when the shooter has the dice.
Keep your conversation
focused to the game only. If you want to talk about last night’s ballgame,
take it to the lounge.
Camaraderie, high five and
“way to go shooter” is fun and usually okay. However, many shooters are
“head down, blinkers on” kind of players and all the yahoo stuff is a big
distraction from their game. Be conscious of what kind of celebration is
Never ever get into an
argument with other players or the crew. If a referee is required, then
that is the boxman’s job. You keep your lip buttoned down. It is not your
game and you do not get to make the rules. Emotional control is crucial.
Engaging in emotion kills a game quicker then anything I know.
Be aware and conscious of
your involvement in the game making sure that you are contributing to the
flow of the game and not holding it up. This means not making oddball bets
in weird amounts or making the dealer do unnecessary work, are just two
Losing is part of the game.
Be a gracious loser when you leave the game. It is an expression of who
you are and a courtesy to those remaining in the game.
Just because it is called a
craps game does not mean you get to speak crap. Profanity really is not
acceptable in the game.
A separate issue that may come up is
player interaction. This covers free advice to disagreements between
players. Though I am well aquatinted with the game, I will not offer help
or advice unless asked directly for my input, and then sparingly with
When it comes to money, the emotional
charge is great and I feel the responsibility of knowing the game rests
with each player. On an occasion, if I am next to a novice that is really
struggling, I may politely offer encouragement by saying, “if you have a
question, ask me, if you feel like you need help.” However, I do this only
as a motivation to keep the game flowing. Okay, there is a bit of kindness
in me too.
Disagreements or arguments at the table
are the kiss of death. Anytime you are at a table and there is any kind of
aggravation, “argy-bargy”, the negative emotion swoops in, and the game
will be short lived. A particular trap is a disagreement in player’s
opinion of play.
Everyone is entitled to his or her own
approach to the game. Craps is not a team sport whereby one and all
benefit from a particular hand. It is best to keep your opinions and
comments to yourself. If you really don’t like another player’s energy, it
is your choice to leave the game. When I speak of discipline and
detachment, this is a perfect example of what is meant, having the
self-control to keep quiet or having the good sense to leave the game.
When your session is over and it is time
to color up, you exit the game in a similar manner in which you entered,
politely. Order and count your chips. Prepare your color up so that it can
be paid back in multiples of $25.
There is no sense in handing in fives and
ones that just have to be counted and given back. The idea is for you to
know how much you are coloring to confirm with the boxman and to make the
count up easy and quick for the boxman. All this with an intention of not
holding up the game.
When you have your chips sorted, wait for
the seven out, wait for the dealer to clear the table and get his business
complete. Get the dealer’s attention, and ask for the color-up. He will
check with the boxman and will either tell you yes, set it down or wait.
The boxman can only color one player at a time and you may have to wait
If you have to
color in the middle of a hand, not recommended, do so in this order. Check
to see that the box man is not busy. Have your chips in the most reduced
stack to make the transaction as quickly as possible. Best if in multiples
of 100. Color when the dice are in the middle and not while the dealer is
trying to settle bets. Not good to color if a hardway rolled with the
point. Too much action and movement of chips at this time and the table is
heating up. Don’t break it down with your need to leave, wait.
When you do ask
for color, hold the stack in front of you. This is signaling the dealer
non-verbally and at the same time you will ask to color in a loud voice
and with eye contact with the boxman. The box man usually will nod to
bring it in. You know you have permission at the top and the dealer does
not have to ask, thus speeding up the process. You will still pass the
stack to the dealer and wait until the next pause in the game to get your
These are just a
few suggestions for table manners. It goes beyond being an expression of
your energy, as it helps to demonstrate to others table protocol. Please
excuse my metaphor; “monkey see, monkey do”. If more players played this
way it would be a much better game for us all.
The game would
move along at a faster and a smoother pace and develop a rhythm. I look
for rhythm in a game. Rhythm helps a game develop consistency. It is what
I call a table’s personality or table support. It helps me to predict what
to expect from the game.
The dealers are working for you. Tipping
the dealers is good table manners. It goes a long way towards encouraging
a positive dealer attitude and creates favorable energy for the table in
In closing, think
of the mystery and the chivalrous nature that distinguished “gamblers” in
the movies. Class was the virtue that set them apart from the everyday
losers. Was it their class and charm supporting their wins or was it their
skill playing the game? When it comes to energy, what you put out, you get
back in return. You can win them all!