If you’ve ever walked through a casino, you’ve probably seen craps tables, but have you ever wondered what a craps table really is? What does it consist of, what are the components? Let’s find out.
If you’ve ever walked through a casino, you’ve probably seen craps tables, but have you ever wondered what a craps table really is? What does it consist of, what are the components?
Guide to Playing Craps
The largest and most obvious part of the table is the bed. Casino craps tables are generally available in 8 feet, 10 feet, or 12 feet lengths. Along the top edge of the bed is a continuous Padded Rail on which the players can lean back. Standing at the craps table for long periods of time can be tiring for players, so the soft rails allow players to rest or change body positions to reduce stress. After all, casinos don’t want players to just walk away because their feet and knees hurt. Obviously, casinos want players at the table as long as possible.
Adjacent to the padded rails are wood chip racks, which typically consist of two shelves with bulkheads about every 12 to 16 inches. The divider separates the chip rack into sections for the players.
Along the outer perimeter are small racks called Drink Rails. As the name implies, this is where the players place their drinks. Drinking glasses and bottles are not allowed on Soft Rails due to the risk of spilling onto the layout. Not only does a spill create a big mess on the layout (which casinos have to pay to clean up), it delays games that dig into casino profits. Cigarette ashtrays are also placed on the Drink Rail.
Inside the bed is a Table Layout with all the numbers and squares where the player’s chips are placed. Felt can be any color depending on the casino specifications. Common colors are green, blue, and sometimes red. Custom designs and patterns can be incorporated into the layout to match the casino theme. The area on the outer edge of the layout is called the Apron.
Rubber material covers the inner walls of the bed and is called Rail Rubber. Under the rubber rails on each inner end of the table is a piece of Pyramid Rubber 6 to 8 inches wide. It is a section of the table with all the little pyramids or nails specially designed for randomly bending the dice. The casino has a rule that a player must “hit the back wall” while rolling the dice. This rule ensures that the die hits the rubber of the pyramid, thereby preventing anyone from controlling the outcome of the dice roll. Regardless of what you hear, read, or see on the live craps table, no one (NO!) Can consistently control the outcome of the dice when the dice hit the rubber pyramid. They can’t just do that. (Please read my other articles on the ridiculous idea of ”dice control”
On the inside side of the bed opposite the dealer and boxman is a mirror about 8 inches wide that runs the length of the table. The mirror allows the dealer and boxer to see the palm side of the throwing player. Boxers can easily see if a player is cheating by “rolling” the dice, trying to get the crooked partner into play.
Different Types of Bets on Craps
Cut into the table layout in front of the boxers are the Money Slots for the Drop Money Box. The cash slots are about 3/8 inches wide and about 3 inches long, which is the right size for placing bills in a drop box. Boxers use the Paddle to push cash through the slots into the cash box attached to the bottom of the bed. (That’s where the term “boxer” comes from.)
The stickman controls a small bowl that is placed on the table against the wall directly in front of the stickman. This Dice Bowl (or Dice Boat) holds only those extra dice that are not played. As a new game begins, the stickman throws unused dice on the table and uses his stick (or whip) to push all of them (usually 6 or 8) to the next shooter. The shooter then selects the two dice he thinks are lucky, and then the stickman pulls back the remaining dice and places them in the bowl. Bowls are usually made of clear acrylic or wood.
Also considered part of the craps table are Pucks and Buttons. The ON / OFF chip (white for the ON side, black for the OFF side) is used only to indicate whether a new game is in progress. If a new game is about to start, the chip is turned to the OFF side. When a game is in progress, the chips are lit and placed in the appropriate numbered grids on the layout to indicate the “dots” for the current game. A small quarter-sized button is used to indicate whether a player’s bet is dead or live, or whether a particular bet type is a “buy” or a “lay.” Each button has one word engraved on it, whether it’s OFF, ON, BUY, or LAY. Buttons help the dealer, boxman, and eye-in-the-sky keep track of player bets.
Now you know all the components of the dice table! The more you know, the more confident you will be when you walk to the table. The more confident you are, the less likely the dealer will steer you down the wrong path by coaxing you into making high house profit bets.