Craps with confidence

Dear Mark,
Well I am finally going to give the game of craps a try. I have been
petrified of the game in the past, but after reading your column over the
past three years, I feel I have more confidence to give it a go. Any last
minute playing and etiquette tips? Sally O.

Congratulations, Sally. Bellying up to a crap table and joining the euphoria
of this fast-paced game need not be intimidating. Armed with my past columns
and these additional pointers, you are going to step up to the table with
the self-assurance necessary to play this game. Granted, I am limited in
allotted space, but I more than happy to touch on some terrific craps tips.
In thirty seconds I can teach anyone how to play a simplified game of craps
with confidence. How? Check out the first tip.

o Just make these two outstanding craps wagers. Nothing more. Learn how to
make a Pass Line bet or how to Place the 6 or 8. Both of these wagers have
house advantage of less than 1.5 percent, making them one of the best bets
in the casino. 

o Stay away from all those proposition bets in the center of the layout. The
dealer who is barking their performance is doing nothing more than inducing
play on wagers that are all "house bets", carrying a casino advantage as
high as 16%.

o Once you learn how the Odds wager works (another column, another day),
never make a Line or Come bet that you are not willing to back up with full

o If the table minimum is way over your head, you shouldnąt be on that game.
Bet with your head, not over it.

o If you need help, ask a dealer. Most will be willing and able to help you.

o You are responsible to pick up your winnings. As they say, "they lay, they

o A Pass Line bet with two Come bets is plenty of action on this energetic
game. Donąt get so caught up in the game and start throwing money at the
dealer for his "requested (high house percentage) bets."

o Do not try to hand cash to the dealer to make change. The dealer is not
allowed to take any cash or chips directly from the customer. You need to
place your money on the layout, before the shooter gets the dice, and ask
the dealer for "change only."

o Some wagers like Pass/Don't Pass bets, Odds, Come wagers, the Big 6/8 or
Field bets can be made by you. On the other wagers, place you money on the
layout and ask the dealer to make those bets for you.

o Keep your hands off the table and out of the way of the dice being thrown.
You do not want to disrupt the game by altering the toss with your hands.

o Tables have rails all the way around for storing your gaming chips. Use
them. Also, underneath, there is shelving for your drinks.

o If you are the shooter, give the dice a good toss across the table. Never
try to slide dice across the layout thinking you can control the outcome.
The first time the boxman will call out, "No roll." The second time,
possibly some token punishment like a slapped wrist. The third=adios Sally.

o If you are a Don't Pass bettor, donąt scream out, "Come on, seven!"
Betting against the majority of players is bad enough, but rooting against
them and gloating after a win is awful form.

Gambling thought of the week: "I love Vegas. God knows that I know how to
find my way around the buffets in Las Vegas." ‹Rick Majerus, Utah Utes college
basketball coach