Recently we got back
from a trip to Las Vegas which I must say was a profitable trip. We did
most our shooting at Bally’s and Paris. The dealers were great but table
manners from players and those getting into game left the (good players)
shaking their heads. In the middle of good rolls we had the shooter, on
more than one occasion, on his cell phone, talking to buddies, and
flirting with the waitress. On the other side, again during a good roll,
guys were throwing money in for chips only and delaying the game. In
fairness the boxman tried to instruct them on what to do. However, it
seemed that the other players thought it was up to them to know how to
play and act. If you or Soft Touch could address table manners in a future
news letter I believe many dice people would appreciate the topic.
Thank you, Andy
You bet Andy. Here
you go, your request and with permission to reprint, “Table Manners” from
By The Professor
To a casual observer, the scene at a
craps game may appear chaotic. In truth, sometimes it’s not less than a
mad scramble of a dog fight with chips thrown to dealers along with barked
orders of “give me this and press up that”. Believe it or not, there is a
tight order to the game of craps and those who do not follow correct
protocol are jamming a spanner into the spokes of the game.
The prevailing energy at a craps table
is the combined complexion made up of the players, the casino personnel
and the events that occur during a game. Seemingly meaningless, little
things can occur during a game, and believe it or not, a subtle shift can
affect the outcome of a game. Sometimes the effect is good, sometimes it
is not so good, and sometimes it does not make much of a difference. One
common example of a shift in energy occurs as a result of a player’s
inconsiderate actions due to a lack of knowledge or sometimes it is caused
by brazen arrogance which can inevitably kill a good game.
When you think about it, what activity
is enhanced when the participants perform with careless abandon? The
winning edge is a delicate balance of “positive” energy when meticulously
maintained. Ignorance or lack of respect shreds the energy. In the blink
of an eye the energy implodes and the game comes crashing down.
Table manners in a craps game is more
than your basic social etiquette. It certainly includes "yes sir", "no
ma’am", "thank you", "yes please". Good table manners are an outward
expression of your energy. The way that you present yourself should
project a winner’s persona communicating that you expect to be treated
like a winner. Winners are always respected, and they are treated in an
Before entering a game, first become
aware of the game’s status. Identify what is going on before you act. Is
it a come out roll or the middle of a hand? Identify the shooter. If
standing next to the shooter is where you wish to play, be patient and
wait until the shooter has finished the hand. Crowding the shooter is an
invasion of their space. Doing so could take them out of the “zone” by
breaking their energy. So, never interrupt the shooter, the shooter is
sacred. A player tossing their money in front of the shooter crosses the
shooter’s energy. Besides wrecking the game’s energy, it is inconsiderate
and it is rude. I have a personal rule; never buy-in during a hand that is
already in progress.
Once you have selected your position
and you are ready to buy in, do so during the come out roll. (Best to wait
for a new shooter) Do not toss in your money and rating card “showy” with
a "look at me, I am joining this game". Get the dealers attention by
calling them by their name. Politely put your money down in the Come
Field, with the rating card, and state how much you are buying in for and
if you want action or no action. [“500, cheques only, no action.” “500,
cheques, 25 on the line.” “500, cheques, 25 they don’t.”]
If you must buy-in during the middle of
a hand, please do so when you know that your buy-in is not going to hold
up the game. The dice should be in front of the boxman, and request
cheques only. Don’t make bastard bets that befuddle the dealers and
require repeated explanation. Don’t call for a marker. Markers cause the
game to come to a stand still. You owe it to the other players to get in
with a low profile, allowing for the game to continue without incident.
Your buy-in, if not handled properly, can be more than an interruption. It
can cause the game to break down. There is always plenty of time for you
to get into a game. You will not miss anything by being polite and waiting
for the next shooter.
Once you are in the game, you need to
cooperate with the dealers serving you. There are three dealers at the
craps table. The stickman runs the game. He controls the dice and moves
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, identify who is to be paid, and when they
are paid. The stickman first instructs payment of any winning proposition
bets from the side of the table opposite the shooter. He begins with the
player closest to the paying dealer. Once that side is paid, the stickman
will settle any bets on the other side of the table.
There is one dealer for each side of
the craps table. The dealers are the money handlers. The dealer exchanges
cash for chips, settles winning bets, and picks up losing bets. They have
a set routine which dictates how they pay and pick up bets. Watch
the game, and you will quickly see that the order is right to left or left
to right, depending on which side 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 of good table manners.
Be patient, be alert, and be
ready to make your wager when it is 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. Respect commands respect.
Wait your turn to be paid
and before giving the dealer new betting instructions. If you have a
winning place bet, wait for the dealer to come to your bet before giving
instructions like; "same bet, press up, take down".
Proposition bets are made
with the stickman. Get his attention first before throwing the chips to
him. (not at him) Nothing slows the game more than making the stickman
chase cheques, followed by him having to ask who made the bet and what do
you want. It is rude treatment to the stickman and the other players.
Never mind the attitude it can evoke. (Unwanted heat)
Make your wagers when the
dice are in the middle of the table, in front of the box man. There is
plenty of time and all you have to do is be ready when it is your turn to
bet. You will not be left out. It’s their business to collect every
Don’t try to make late bets
after the dice are out. It slows the game.
Don’t toss your money or
chips out in front of the shooter after he has the dice. It “crosses the
energy”. If you must make a late bet, get the dealers attention by name
and make a call bet with the chips in you hand. After the roll, politely
put your action down in the Come Field for the dealer.
Keep your hands up and out
of the table at all times, except when making a bet at the appropriate
Too often a zealous player,
pointing out their bets to a friend, “crosses” the shooter’s throwing
lane. This blocks their line of sight, or worse, the dice hit the hand.
This may sound as a hooky superstition, but it usually results as a seven
out. The pointing crosses the energy of the shooting zone.
Keep your movements to a
minimum when the shooter has the dice.
Limit your conversation.
Focus on the game. 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 celebrating is
appropriate. We want the shooter in the “zone”.
Never ever get into an
argument with other players or the crew. If a referee is required, then
that becomes the boxman’s job. You keep your lip buttoned down. Mind your
You may politely point out a
mistake, but it is important to remember that craps is the casinos’ game
and played by their rules. Your emotional control is crucial. Emotional
out bursts kill a game quicker then anything I know. It is pointless to
argue your interpretation of the rules with the crew or boxman.
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 causing the dealer unnecessary work, for example.
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 of respect to those remaining in the game.
After you color-up, always
thank the dealer for the game. “Thanks for the game mate.”
Just because it is called a
craps game does not mean you get to talk crap. Profanity really is not
acceptable language in the game.
A separate issue 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 caution. When it comes to
money, the emotional charge is great, and I feel the responsibility of
knowing how to play the game rests upon the player. On occasion, if I am
next to a novice that is really struggling, I may politely offer some
encouragement. 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 kills the
game. A particular example is a disagreement with a player’s opinion about
a bet. Everyone is entitled to his or her own approach to the game. Craps
is not a team sport where everyone benefits 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 I mean, 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 manner similar to the way that
you entered the game, politely. Put you chips in order and count them.
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 will just have to be
counted and then given back. The idea is for you to know how much you are
coloring-up and confirm the total with the box man. Being prepared makes
the count up easy and quick for the box man. All of this is designed with
the intention of not holding up the game.
When you have your chips sorted, wait
for the seven out, and wait for the dealer to clear the table and get his
business complete. Get the dealer’s attention, and ask for the color-up.
“Max, color coming in?” Max will check with the box man and will either
tell you yes, set it down or wait. The box man can only color-up one
player at a time so you may have to wait your turn.
If you have to color-up in the middle
of a hand, not recommended, do so in this way. Check that the box man is
not busy. Have your chips in the most reduced stack to make the
transaction as quick as possible. Best if stacked in multiples of 100.
Color-up when the dice are in front of the box man and not while the
dealer is trying to settle bets. It is not a good time to color-up if a
hard-way bet rolled with the point. There will be too much action and
movement of chips at this time. Also, the table could be heating up. Don’t
break the energy with your need to leave, wait for the right time. When
you do ask for the color-up, hold the stack in front of you. This will
signal the dealer, non-verbally, and at the same time you will ask to
color-up in a loud voice and with eye contact with the boxman. The boxman
usually will nod “okay” to bring it in. Now, you know that you have
permission to color-up from the “boss” and the dealer also has
confirmation. This move speeds up the process. You will still pass the
stack of chips to the dealer and wait until the next pause in the game to
get your color.
These are just a few suggestions for
table manners. It goes beyond being an expression of your energy. Using
good table manners demonstrates to others the correct protocol for play.
If enough dice player used consistent table manners, perhaps it could be
like Ken Keys’ “Hundredth Monkey”.
If more players played this way it
would be a better game for us all. The game would move along faster and at
smoother pace, plus it would develop rhythm. Rhythm in a game is very
important. Rhythm helps with the momentum. Momentum is necessary for an
airplane to take off. Momentum has to do with what I refer to as a table’s
personality or table support. Rhythm helps to support predictability and
what you may expect from the game.
In closing, think of the "gambler" that we
see in the movies. Recall their mystique and chivalrous nature, well
dressed and distinguished by their presents and command of the situation.
A class act is the virtue that sets the winner apart from the everyday
losers. When it comes to energy, what you express is exponentially
returned. Leave your guns at home boy, take you table manners to the game
P4K, you can win them all!
Copyright © 2003 Michael Vernon