The shooter is selected from all of the players in either of two ways. He is the first in line at the table when it opens for business, or he has advanced in the queue or lineup formed by those players wishing to throw the dice. He simply has to wait his turn.
Depending on his experience at the Craps table, the shooter will eventually adopt a Craps system or strategy he believes will affect the overall outcome of a throw of the dice. Many players study the game and practice various styles, including the best ways to pick up the dice, to set their numbers, to grip them in hand, to take up a stance and to roll them so they bounce just right. The serious shooter concentrates on his throwing technique and on the speed, arc and accuracy of the dice themselves. All of these actions become second nature to the shooter who is determined to improve his chances of a favorable outcome.
Some Craps players assume a relaxed personable manner, some appear earnest or animated, while still others seem almost mechanical. It is not difficult, however, to pick out the player who is following one or another of the more common betting systems. These include Sure Fire, Three Point Molly, Can’t Lose, Anything But Seven, Right Betting, Wrong Betting, 68 Play and many more. Many confirmed Craps experts swear by these playing systems. The newer Craps player, naturally, will want to pick up one of the many books on the subject.
Although capitalizing on the many betting options can involve a certain degree of mastery, Craps in its simplest form is a game where players bet either of two ways. They may bet that the shooter will make his Point, or not make his Point.
Whenever a player bets that the shooter will make his Point, he is said to be betting right, i.e., he is with the shooter. Whenever a player bets that the shooter will not make his Point, he is said to be betting wrong, i.e., he is, against the shooter. The other players also may bet among themselves as to whether the shooter will win or lose in the next series of throws, or whether certain numbers or combinations will appear.
The shooter, or any player who wishes to bet that the shooter will win, places a bet on the line, i.e., in the area marked Pass, Line, or Win, depending on the layout. Anyone betting against the shooter places his bet in the area marked Don’t Pass. Anyone wishing to bet on a special option, such as that Craps, i.e., two, three, or twelve, will or will not be thrown, places his bet on the appropriate area of the layout. Such bets are called proposition bets.
It is important to keep in mind that the house maintains a mathematical advantage on most bets of about 1.4 percent, and even higher on certain layouts and other kinds of bets.
The Come Out Roll
Once all betting has ceased, the shooter begins each new game in Craps with his Come Out roll. If the shooter throws a seven or eleven (a natural) on his first roll he wins; if he throws a two, three, or twelve (craps) on the first roll, he loses.
The Point and the Puck
If the shooter’s first roll is either of a four, five, six, eight, nine, or ten, that number becomes his Point. At that time, the dealer will place a disk, called a Puck on the Shooter’s Point number that is marked on the table layout. The Puck is a disk, much like a hockey puck, that is white on one side and black on the other. It is used by the dealers to clearly identify the shooter’s Point.
Once a shooter establishes his Point, the dealer will move the Puck to the Point number on the layout, and turn it white side up. White side up over a Point indicates the game is in progress and that the box number is the Point. Black side up means a new Come Out roll is about to take place.
The Puck stays on the Point until the shooter either, makes it or sevens out. If the player fails to make his Point, the dealer will slide the Puck into the Don’t Come bar 12 area and turn it black side up. Few experienced players ever take note of the Puck as it is used only in tracking the game.
Making the Point
Once he has made his Point, the player will continue to shoot the dice until he rolls the same number again, i.e., makes his Point and wins, or throws a seven (seven out), or craps out (rolls a two, three, or twelve), in which case he will lose both the dice and his bet. Side bets may be laid with, or against the shooter, either before he has a Point, i.e., when he is coming out, or after he has made his Point and decides to continue betting and rolling.
After each roll of the dice, bets are settled. If the shooter has won, he may keep the dice and put up his next bet. If he declines to shoot again, he must pass the dice to the player on his immediate left, who becomes the new shooter. The new shooter places his bet, tosses the dice in his Come Out roll, and the game continues in the same manner.
If any new shooter makes his Point, the dice are returned to him, and he will then have another Come Out roll. Although the new Come Out roll is the continuation of the shooter’s turn at throwing; it also signifies the beginning of a fresh game.
Let’s review briefly. Before the shooter rolls the dice on his Come Out roll, there are a variety of bets that can be made. The Pass Line and Don’t Pass bets are the most common. To bet with the shooter, a player must place his chips in the area on the layout marked Pass Line. Betting the Don’t Pass Line is the exact opposite of betting the Pass Line. To make this bet against the shooter, the player must place his chips in the area on the layout marked Don’t Pass.
If the shooter rolls a seven or eleven on his Come Out roll, he wins his bet, the Pass Line bet wins, and the Don’t Pass bet loses. If he rolls two, three, or twelve, i.e., Craps the Pass Line bet loses, and the Don’t Pass bet wins. This is also referred to as, rolling Craps.
If the shooter rolls a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10, he is said to have established his Point. In order for the shooter to win, he must roll his established Point before he rolls a seven.
Once the shooter establishes a Point, the players can then place additional bets behind their Pass Line bets. This is called, taking odds. In most casinos, players can bet up to three times the amount of their Pass Line bets. This is called taking full odds. Some casinos offer up to 100 times the odds. This simply means that players may bet up to 100 times the amount of a Pass Line bet once the Point has been established.
Players may also bet with the shooter even while the game is in progress. This is done by placing a Pass Line bet without odds. To do so a player simply places his chips halfway over either of the two lines framing the Pass Line area. Any Pass Line bet with odds (full odds, or taking odds) may only be made on the Come Out roll.