How to deal Craps?
So you want to deal craps? Like in the casinos? Good luck to you, because the math, screaming, and intimidation by players makes the job a real challenge! On the other hand, you get to work as part of a crew, you share jokes, watch your crew's backs, and the nights fly-by when its busy!
These days, most casino dealers are brought into a new property and trained, or arrive with a certificate from a dealing school. And, most of the time the one game they can actually deal is blackjack. Not because blackjack is the easiest game to deal (or it might just be), but because that's what gets you in the door. Roulette, baccarat, poker and craps come later, after you prove your chops.
Good Dealer Attributes
Number one, dealers need to be able to entertain the players while keeping their heads. That's tough because dealers take a lot of abuse in the way of smoke, noise, whining by players (and bosses), and uncertainty about take-home pay. Historically the job has included tips, and a bad day is when you just don't make much above your minimum wage paycheck.
A good day is when you keep dropping green ($25 chips) into your box and know you are making bank, regardless of whether you are working at a split joint (where all dealer tips are pooled and shared), or you are "going for your own."
If you can keep your head, keep track of your player's bets, keep the game moving, avoid mistakes, and enjoy yourself, you've found heaven in a job. Good math skills and people skills are a must, but both can be learned: just open up and talk to your guests, and do the math slowly so its right.
Craps Dealer Skills
Now the craps game at your local casino is considerably different than the blackjack tables because you are part of a team: four dealers and a Boxman or Pit Boss that watches over your game.
If you make mistakes you take down the entire team. No, they won't cut you loose to deal until you have some skills, but you've got a long road in front of you. The old way of looking at craps dealers was that 10-percent of all dealers could be craps dealers, but only 10-percent of those became stars!
A craps table is split into three dealing stations consisting of the Stickman and two inside dealers.
Occasionally the game will be inside-stick, with just two dealers, but let's forget about that for now because it's no fun for the players or the dealers! On a standard game the dealers rotate from spot to spot every half-hour and one dealer is on break all the time. The Boxman will handle makers (casino credit), chip fills, customer complaints, and any other non-dealing things that pop up.
The Stickman spot can be the best job in the world. You get new players to the game by keeping an even-patter of fun comments for the players and those passing by, you run the game by keeping track of the shooter, the dice, the prop bets, late bets (ever heard the Stickman say "early bets are lucky bets?"), oh, you can get swamped too!
Those bets come fast and furious on the horn, the hard-ways, hoppers, and you better not ever take your eyes off the dice! When they land, you make the call quickly, accurately, and you don't send them back out until your inside dealers are ready - and don't knock any bets over as you do it. And, you want to talk players into taking lots of chances on the props, because that's where the house has the biggest edge. Go to work!
Now that you have all those bets up, like seven-eleven, C and E (Craps and Eleven), or a $20 horn bet, what happens when something hits? That's where your excellent math kicks in. A C&E bet pays 3-to-1 on craps and 7-to-1 on an eleven (the bet stays up); a straight craps bet pays 7-to-1, but that horn bet, that's a toughie. For every $1 wagered, the horn pays either 3-to-1 on a 3 or 11, or $6.75 when a 2 or 12 rolls. A horn-high bet pays $57 for every $5 wagered on horn-high 2 or 12 when it rolls.
Fortunately, craps school teaches you to get to the correct answer three ways, so you'll be alright. And if you get stumped, well that's the time for your inside dealer to say "$285 to the gentleman right here?" when the player's horn-high 12 hits on a $25 bet (remember, $57 per $5). Your fellow dealers will be happy to help, since you don't run'em over, you know who tossed in all your prop bets, and you enticed the players to make two-way bets, including a wager or tip for the player and the dealer, right?
Inside dealers have to have good hands. If you want to deal craps you'll need to constantly cut chips in different amounts (called a drop cut), two, three, four, five, and make change repeatedly all night. You have to be accurate, you have to be fast, and you have to size-into wagers with your stack of chips and slide your index finger over both the original wager and your payoff to ensure the correct stack size. That's the easy part.
You also need to hear and distinguish different voices to get player wagers correct, place their come-bets and odds in the right place (as well as their place bets), so you will always pay the correct spot on the layout and leave a readable road-map for your fellow dealer who pushes you out. And, you'll let them know quietly and carefully who is the big George (the best tipper) so they can make sure your hard work continues to be noticed and paid for! It would be terrible if you paid the wrong person the wrong bet.
To be careful, dealers usually pay the pass-line wagers in order from the player next to them to the player next to the Stickman. For place bets, the wagers are arranged in two rows of four (five on a jammed table) and the top row, closest to the Boxman represents the player closest to the dealer, the bottom row closest to the Boxman represents the last player on the line, the one closest to the Stickman. That's the trick for keeping the wagers straight, and even the Stickman can look down and watch to see you make the right payoffs.
What else to you need to know? A lot. Always take, pay, and place, which means you take the losing bets, pay the winning bets, and then place the come-bets in their place on your layout and ask for odds. You'll have to learn some craps lingo, but that's easy, and you'll want to know all line odds and place bet payoffs per $5 bet, but you can do that, you're smart, right? Sure you can!
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