Learn Casino Craps – What Are the Pieces of a Craps Table?

If you’ve ever walked through a casino, you’ve probably seen a craps table, but have you ever wondered what a craps table actually is?  What does it comprise, what are its components?

The biggest and most obvious part of the table is the bed.  Casino craps tables are generally available in 8-foot, 10-foot, or 12-foot lengths.  Along the top edge of the bed is a continuous Padded Rail on which the players can lean.  Standing at a craps table for long periods of time can become tiresome for the player, so the padded rail allows the players to rest or change body positions to ease the stress.  After all, the casino doesn’t want players to walk away simply because their feet and knees hurt.  Obviously, the casino wants players at the table as long as possible.

Adjacent to the padded rail is the wooden Chip Rack, which is usually two-racks deep with dividers about every 12-to-16 inches.  The dividers separate the chip rack into individual sections for the players.

Along the outer perimeter is a little shelf called a Drink Rail.  As the name implies, this is where players place their drinks.  Drink glasses and bottles are not allowed on the Padded Rail because of the risk of spillage onto the layout.  Not only do spills make a big mess on the layout (which the casino has to pay to get cleaned), spills delay the game which digs into the casino’s profits.  Cigarette ashtrays are also placed on the Drink Rail.

Inside the bed is the Table Layout with all the numbers and boxes onto which the players’ chips are placed.  The felt can be any color depending on the casino’s specifications.  Common colors are green, blue, and sometimes red.  Special designs and patterns can be incorporated into the layout to match the casino’s theme.  The area on the outer edge of the layout is called the Apron.

Rubber material lines the inside wall of the bed and is called Rail Rubber.  Below the rail rubber on each inside end of the table is a 6-to-8-inch wide piece of Pyramid Rubber.  This is the part of the table with all the little pyramids or spikes that are specially designed to randomly deflect the dice.  Casinos have a rule that a player must “hit the back wall” when tossing the dice.  This rule ensures the dice hit the pyramid rubber, thereby, preventing anyone from controlling the outcome of a dice roll.  Regardless of what you hear, read, or see at a live craps table, no one (NO ONE!) can consistently control the outcome of a craps roll when the dice hit the pyramid rubber.  They just can’t.  (Please read my other articles about the silly notion of “dice control” or “dice setting.”)

On the inner side of the bed across from the dealers and boxman is a mirror about 8 inches wide that runs the length of the table.  The mirror allows the dealers and boxman to see the palm side of the player’s tossing hand.  The boxman can easily see if a player is cheating by “palming” the dice, trying to introduce a crooked pair into the game.

Cut into the table layout in front of the boxman is a Money Slot for the Money Drop Box.  The money slot is about 3/8-inch wide and about 3 inches long, which is just the right size for pushing bills down into the drop box.  The boxman uses a Paddle to push the money through the slot into the money box that’s attached to the underside of the bed.  (That’s where the term “boxman” came from.)

The stickman controls a small bowl that rests on the tabletop against the wall directly in front of the stickman.  This Dice Bowl (or Dice Boat) simply holds the extra dice that are not in play.  When a new game starts, the stickman dumps the unused dice onto the table and uses his stick (or whip) to push them all (usually 6 or 8) to the next shooter.  The shooter then selects two that she thinks are lucky, and then the stickman pulls the remaining dice back and puts them in bowl.  The bowl is usually made of clear acrylic or wood.

Also considered part of a craps table are the Puck and Buttons.  The ON/OFF puck (white for the ON side, black for the OFF side) is used simply to indicate whether a new game is in progress.  If a new game is about to start, the puck is turned to the OFF side.  If a game is in progress, the puck is turned on its ON side and placed in the appropriate number box on the layout to indicate the “point” for the current game.  Small buttons about the size of a quarter are used to indicate whether a player’s bets are off or on, or whether a certain type of bet is a “buy” or “lay.”  Each button has one word engraved in it, either OFF, ON, BUY, or LAY.  Buttons help the dealer, boxman, and the eye-in-the-sky keep track of players’ bets.

Now you know all the components of a craps table!  The more you know, the more confident you’ll be when you walk up to a table.  The more confident you are, the less likely the dealers will steer you down the wrong path by enticing you to make bets with high house advantages.

Let It Ride – A Poker Table Game Where You Can Take Your Bet(s) Back If You Don’t Like the Cards

Let it Ride is a popular poker variant table game that’s been around for more than 20 years. The game is still available at most major casinos.

What’s unique about it is that players are allowed to take back 2 of the 3 required bets if the dealt cards aren’t favorable to the player.

How to Play Let it Ride

There are six or seven seating areas. Each betting zone has three circles where three bets of equal amounts must be placed. Also included are additional betting areas where two optional bonus bets can be positioned. Note that a five-dollar minimum table would actually require a total wager of fifteen dollars per hand plus the bonus bets. The dealer will then pitch three cards, face down, to each player and also place two community cards face down in the center of the table.

To complete the five-card poker hand, players use the community cards. The objective of the game is to acquire a good poker hand by combining your three cards with the two community cards. The dealer does not play.

The player first reviews his or her three cards and must decide either to let the bets ride or ask for one back. A decision to let it ride will require the player to place the three cards face down under the first betting circle. When retrieving a bet, the player must gently scrape the cards on the felt inboard. The dealer will return one unit to the player.

The dealer then turns over the first community card. Players again have the option of taking back the second bet or letting it ride. After that round is completed the dealer reveals the last community card. All players must let the third wager ride.

All winning five card hands require at least a pair of ten’s or better. Payment is made according to a predetermined pay table. Winning amounts paid vary between casinos depending on jurisdiction.

Common Pay Table

Pair of 10’s or Better – 1 to 1

Two Pair – 2 to 1

Three of a Kind – 3 to 1

Straight – 5 to 1

Flush – 8 to 1

Full House – 11 to 1

Four of a Kind – 50 to 1

Straight Flush – 200 to 1

Royal Flush – 1,000 to 1

The house edge is about 3.5%.

Optional Bonus Bets

For $1 you can wager that the outcome of the final five card hand will range from three of a kind which pays $5 up to the Royal Flush that nets $25,000. This sounds inviting but gaming experts put the house edge for the following pay table over 13%:

Three of a Kind – $5.00

Straight – $25.00

Flush – $50.00

Full House – $200.00

Four of a Kind – $400.00

Straight Flush – $2,500.00

Royal Flush – $25,000.00

The 3 Card Bonus option is based on the value of a player’s initial three cards. The maximum amount players are allowed to wager varies between casinos. Here are the payouts:

Any Pair – 1 to 1

Flush – 3 to 1

Straight – 6 to 1

3 of a Kind – 30 – 1

Straight Flush – 40 to 1

Mini Royal (Suited Q, K, A) – 50 to 1

Some jurisdictions do not offer the Mini Royal.

The house edge is about 6% for this bet. Although this option can be tempting keep in mind that the chances of being dealt at least a pair on your first three cards are about one in four.

Correct Strategy for the First Bet

  • If you have any winning hand with a pair of 10’s or higher in your three cards, you should let it ride.
  • If you have three cards to a straight flush and one is a 10 or higher, let it ride.
  • Otherwise, pull back your bet.

Correct Strategy for the Second Bet

  • If you have any kind of winning hand with a pair of 10’s or higher, let it ride.
  • If you have four cards to a straight flush, let it ride.
  • If you have four cards to a flush, let it ride.
  • If you have four cards to an outside straight, and at least one of those cards is a 10 or higher, let it ride.
  • Otherwise, pull back your bet.

Good Luck with the game!

Caribbean Stud Poker: Walk Into Any Casino Worldwide or Online, and You’re at a Table

Caribbean Stud Poker is a very popular table game that has been seeing a lot of casino action for more than 30 years. It is found in nearly every casino that offers table play, and also online. If you know poker hand rankings, it is easy to learn and play.

How to Play

The game is played on a blackjack like table with six or seven seating areas. Each betting area contains three positions to make bets:

  1. A slot for the optional Progressive Jackpot bet
  2. An Ante bet box
  3. A bet (call) box

The objective is for the player to have a higher ranking hand than the dealer.

A standard 52 card deck is used. Before the cards are dealt, all players must make the ante bet. An optional progressive jackpot bet may also be made by inserting a one dollar chip or coin into the appropriate slot. The dealer will then deal five cards face down to each player, and four cards face down and one face up to his or herself.

After players review their hands, they must then make a decision to either call (make an additional wager), or fold, (forfeit the ante and optional jackpot bet). If the player calls, s/he must place an additional wager in the bet box, which must be twice the ante. After collecting the chips from the players that folded, the dealer will then turn over all the cards.

Dealer Qualifier

The dealer must have at least an Ace/King or higher to qualify for play. If the dealer does not qualify, All hands that called will win the ante bet at even money. The call bet becomes a push and will be returned to you.

If the dealer qualifies, the hand is compared to each player’s hand. If dealer beats player, the ante and call bets are lost to the house. If player beats dealer, He or she is paid even money for the ante wager.The call bet is paid according to a pay table depending on the strength of the poker hand as follows:

  • One Pair – pays even money
  • Two Pair – 2 to 1
  • Three of a Kind – 3 to 1
  • Straight – 4 to 1
  • Flush – 5 to 1
  • Full House – 7 to 1
  • Four of a Kind – 20 to 1
  • Straight Flush – 50 to 1
  • Royal Flush – 100 to 1

Payouts may vary between jurisdictions. Most casinos have a maximum table payout. Many are set at $5,000.

The Downside

A drawback for Caribbean Stud Poker is the dealer qualifying requirement. A player may have a very high paying poker hand but if the dealer does not qualify, the player will only win the ante bet at even money.

Progressive Jackpot

Provided the player placed $1.00 in the jackpot slot, the bonus pays to all qualified players that called. The dealer’s hand does not matter. Most progressive jackpots are at least $10,000. Here is one pay table

  • Flush – $50
  • Full House – $100
  • 4 of a Kind – $500
  • Straight Flush – 10% of jackpot amount
  • Royal Flush – 100% of Jackpot

If two or more players qualify for all or part of the jackpot in the same hand, they will share the jackpot.

Strategy

The following strategy when playing is recommended

  • Always call on a pair or higher
  • Always fold with less than Ace/King
  • Call with an Ace/King if you have a Queen and your fourth highest card is equal to or higher than the dealer’s up card

The house edge is about 5.3% when proper strategy is used.

The house edge for playing the progressive jackpot option is a whopping 26.5%!

Good Luck!