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Private Craps

Private Craps

[source: Richard L. Frey, According To Hoyle]

PLAYERS. Any number may play.

EQUIPMENT. Two dice, of the same size, color, and markings.
Each die should be a cube in the strictest sense, except that
the corners may be uniformly rounded; each side should be
approximately 5/8 inch, and no smaller than 1/2 inch. Each face
of the die is marked with one to six dots, opposite faces
representing reciprocal numbers adding to seven; if the ver-
tical face toward you is 5, and the horizontal face on top of
the die is 6, the 3 should be on the vertical face to your right.

THE PLAY. The players form a ring around the playing
surface (floor, table, bed, etc.), which is known as the center.

In a small game, each player may roll the dice once and
the one rolling the highest total shoots first. In a larger game,
the first shooter is usually the one who picks up the dice and
offers a bet.

The shooter places some sum of money in front of him, and
announces the amount. This is his center bet and other play-
ers are invited to fade it. The shooter is betting he will win;
the players who fade him are betting he will lose.

The shooter takes the dice in his hand and rolls them out,
preferably so that they hit a wall and bounce back, if the
playing area affords the means to enforce this rule. The faces
that are upmost when the two dice come to rest determine
the number thrown.

Any one of five numbers thrown on the first roll settles the
bets immediately:

Seven or eleven is a natural and the shooter wins.
Two, three or twelve is craps and the shooter loses.

When any one of these numbers is thrown, bets are settled,
the shooter announces the amount he is next betting, and the
game continues as previously described.

Points. If the shooter's number is four, five, six, eight, nine
or ten, the bets are not settled. The number thrown becomes
his point He picks up the dice, shakes them and rolls them
out again, and continues to do so until either (a) he shoots
the same number again, in which case he makes his point
(wins), collects his bets, and announces his next bet; (b) he
rolls a seven, in which case he sevens out (or craps out) and
loses the dice: he loses his bets in the center and the next
player in turn to his left becomes the shooter.

So long as the shooter wins, he remains the shooter. But
he may voluntarily pass the dice to the man at his left when
the current bets are settled.

When the shooter wins it is known as a pass; when he
loses, it is known as a miss.

BETTING. Players place bets with one another. (In a gam-
bling-house game, all bets must be placed with the house;
that method of betting will be described later.) There are
many bets in addition to the bets in the center between the
shooter and the players who fade him. Some of these bets are
as follows:

Come Bets. On any roll, one player may bet with -any other
player that the shooter "comes"-that is, that he will win in
a series of rolls beginning with the next, as though the next
roll were the first. The player who takes this bet is betting
that the shooter "don't come." The former, who is betting
that the shooter will win, is said to bet right; the other player
is betting wrong.

Side Bets. Once the shooter has thrown a point, he and
other players may bet that he will (or will not) make his
point. If his point is six or eight, the odds are 6-to-5 that he
will not make it; if his point is five or nine, the odds are 3-
to-2 that he will not make it; if his point is four or ten, the
odds are 2-to-I that he will not make it. Bets on five, nine,
four and ten are usually placed at the correct adds, but bets
on six or eight are usually placed at even money, so that
anyone betting that the shooter will not make his point has
a considerable advantage.

Hard-way Bets. If the shooter's point is four or ten the odds
are 8-to-1 that he will not make it by throwing 2-2 or 5-5
respectively. If his point is six or eight the odds are 10-to-I
that he will not make it with 3-3 or 4-4 respectively. If he
sevens or makes his point any other way, he loses his hard-
way (or gag) bet.

Proposition Bets. There are innumerable other methods of
betting on what number or combination of numbers will or
will not appear on the next roll or in the next two or three
rolls; many if not most of these are "hustler's bets," offered
by someone who knows he has the best of it mathematically
if his bet is accepted.

IRREGULARITIES. If either die is resting against any object
which causes any uncertainty as to which face is upward, it
is "cocked dice" and the throw is void.

If either die rolls outside the playing surface in such a way
that it cannot clearly be seen, the throw is void.

If a player picks up one of the dice while it is rolling and
before either die has stopped rolling, the throw is void.

In case there is disagreement as to which player has faded
all or any portion of the shooter's bet, precedence is given to
(a) the player who has faded the last entire bet; (b) if it is the
shooter's first roll, to the player who last lost the dice; (c) ff
it is not the shooter's first roll, to the player who faded the
largest portion of the shooter's previous bet.

The shooter may withdraw any unfaded portion of his bet
at any time, but may not withdraw any portion of his bet
after it has been faded unless, before his first roll of the
series, he withdraws his entire bet and passes the dice.

STRATEGY. Skillful play at Craps consists solely of knowing
the proper odds and not making or accepting any bets which
are mathematically unsound. A table of the proper odds in
the most common cases is given later.


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