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Craps - an Introduction

Craps has been described as, "the world's fastest gambling game." With crap table action capable of producing around 200 rolls per hour and with thousands of dollars oftentimes changing hands on each decision.

It's popularity is due to the fact that the 'shooters' (punters) take an active part in the action by rolling the dice themselves. And good feature about the game is that for the intelligent player the banker's edge enjoyed by the casino falls to 0.8% and can fall to as low as 0.6% when a certain concession is allowed.

The game is played round a large table marked with a betting layout and around the perimeter there is a rubber padded wall against which the players shoot the dice. Tables can usually accommodate a stickman (in control of the dice), three crap dealers who handle the chips, one opposite the stickman and the other two at either end of the table, and up to about 12 aleators (the classical word for keen dice players). The right of the aleators to do the shooting passes clockwise round the table. The stickman offers the shooter choice of any two from five dice made of transparent material to avoid any suggestion that they are crooked, but before the shooter rolls, all players at the table may make any one or more of a variety of bets with the casino as to the outcome

It is an inequitable game with the odds very slightly against the thrower, who has for the purpose of the game two dice. Before casting the dice he makes a stake (either with an opponent, or with a banker, or with all the remaining players). If he throws a natural (7), or a point of 11, he wins his stake. If, on the other hand, he throws a 2, 3, or 12, it is known as a 'crap' and he loses. The third possibility is that he will throw a 4,5,6,8,9, or 10, and if this happens he goes on casting the dice until he makes a similar point (in which case he wins) or throws a natural (in which case he loses).

Despite the fact that most people who have played the game say they prefer to hold the dice rather than that their adversary should, odds are very slightly against this being profitable. In 495 coups the probability is that the thrower will win 244 times and lose 251 times, so the banker's advantage is 7 in 495, or 1.414 per cent. This is an extremely small percentage, and it is little wonder the game is so popular.


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