The Craps Table-The Puzzle Maze

Have you ever wondered looking at a Craps table to know the hidden secrets and the staff that runs and manages the game show. In a casino, players make bets with chips on a specially made craps table with a “layout” – a table cloth made of felt that displays the various betting possibilities. Known as bed a standard casino craps table shaped like a bath tub are typically 8, 10, or 12 feet long.   Most casinos use the long 12-foot tables to accommodate the maximum number of players.  Each end of a 12-foot table can hold up to eight players; therefore, the casino can have as many as 16 people playing at a time.

crap table

The “padded railing” or “rail” runs along the top edge of the bed.  It’s padded so you can rest on it after standing for long periods of time.  The padding is usually thick and comfortable to lean on.

The “chip rack” is next to the railing and is typically made of wood with two racks per player ie front and rear racks.  The racks are separated into sections by dividers so each player has his own rack.

The “Drink Rail” is a convenient shelf that goes around the perimeter below the padded rail.  Place your drink and cigarette on this shelf so they don’t spill or drop onto the bed.  The casino does not permit bottles, glasses, ash trays, and cigarettes on the railing at any time.  It is advisable to keep the bed clean. Avoid the potential for making a mess by never holding your drink or cigarette over the bed.

The Table Layout

The layout is divided into two sections, a center section and an end section that’s identical at both ends of the table.  Players at both ends share the center-section layout.  Because the two end-section layouts are identical, you only care about the end-section at your end of the table. The “apron” is the blank area along the perimeter of each end-section of the layout. Each side section is manned by a dealer.  The center section is manned by the stickman.  Each side section has two areas: the self-service or player’s area; and the dealer’s area.

“Rail rubber” is built into the wall at each end of the table.  The top two or more inches of the rail rubber is flat, and the remaining eight inches have little rubber spikes, called “pyramids.”  All those little spikes are designed to make the dice bounce completely randomly.  One of the casino’s strictest rules for tossing the dice is that the dice must make contact with the wall at the opposite end of the table.  This ensures at least one of dice hits the little rubber spikes to prevent anyone from influencing how the dice land also known as “dice control” or “dice setting”

Crap tableLayout

A mirror about 8 inches wide usually lines the table bed on the opposite side of the boxman and dealers.  It runs the entire distance of the table bed.  It lets the table crew and pit boss see the player’s palm when tossing the dice.  The crew can see if the shooter is trying to cheat by “palming” dice, which is a technique used to bring illegal dice onto the table.

A “money slot” is cut all the way through the bed and is usually located just to the right of where the boxman sits.  The slot leads to a cash “drop box” or “cash box” that’s affixed to the underside of the bed.  The money slot is approximately a half inch by 3 inches, which is the ideal dimension for the boxman to shove dollar bills into the cash box with the plastic “paddle.”  The boxman is the one crew member who pushes the cash down into the cash box, and that’s why his title is “boxman.”

The stickman uses a little dish, called a “dice bowl” or “dice boat,” that sits on the bed against the side wall where the stickman stands.  The dice bowl is simply a utensil to hold the unused dice that aren’t in play.  At the start of a craps game, the stickman empties the dice bowl so all the dice  are in a pile on the tabletop, and then with a stick, which is sometimes also called a “whip” or a “mop” to push all the dice to the new shooter.  The new shooter then chooses two, at which time the stickman uses his whip to pull back the unused dice and places them in the bowl.

The table crew uses little quarter-sized buttons with the word “OFF” on one side and “ON” on the other side to identify to the cameras and crew whether a player’s bets are working for subsequent rolls (i.e., “on” of “off”).  Some buttons have the word “BUY” on one side and “LAY” on the other side to identify a player’s bet as a “Lay” bet or a “Buy” bet.  The puck is white with black letters for the ON side, and black with white letters for the OFF side.  If a new game has not yet started or a point has not yet been established, the dealer sets the puck on the bed with the “OFF” side facing up.  After a point has been established, the dealer turns the puck over so the “ON” side faces up and then places it in the proper position on the layout to identify the point number for that game.

The Craps Table Crew

The crew for a standard-size casino craps table comprises five people: one boxman and four dealers.  The boxman is more senior than the dealers in terms of experience and status with the casino, and is in charge of the game.  The dealers take turns being the stickman.  Three dealers i.e., two dealers and the stickman at a time work the table, while the 4th is on break.  The dealers rotate positions every 20 minutes so each dealer gets a 20-minute break each hour.

The BoxMan

The boxman is the table manager.  He sits in the middle of the table in front of all the casino’s chips and observes everything ensuring the game runs properly.  He watches the dealers to ensure they give the proper payouts and don’t cheat the players or casino and also watches the players to ensure they don’t cheat the casino or other players.  He serves as the judge for disputes between a dealer and a player.

The Stickman

The stickman stands at the center of the table on the opposite side of the box man and dealers.  He controls the pace of the game, but if he’s too slow, the box man will encourage him to speed it up.  The stickman manages the bets made in the center section of the layout.  He uses a long L-shaped, wooden stick called a “mop” or a “whip” to gather the dice after each roll and give them to the shooter for the next roll.  The stickman calls each roll of the dice, usually adding banter that makes the game more fun.

The Betting and the Best Bet in the Game of Craps