At its most basic level, the game of craps is not the most difficult to understand.
The game is played in two different betting stages, with the first being called the ‘come out roll”. For this, the majority of players will bet on what is labelled as the ‘Pass Line’.
If the player, known as the shooter, rolls either a seven or an 11 with the two dice, all bets on the pass line are winners. If a two, three or 12 are rolled, all Pass Line bets are losers.
Should the shooter’s two dice add up to anything else (four, five, six, eight, nine or 10), then the game moves into the second stage.
At this point, the dice thrower is trying to repeat rolling the same number which resulted in the game moving to the second stage to begin with.
If they roll a total of seven from two dice before doing this, all initial Pass Line bets are losers. If they first throw a five on the come out roll and then do so again before getting a seven, all initial Pass Line bets are winners.
Obviously there are numerous other bets to place to attempt to turn a profit, but, for the beginner, this is all that technically needs to be known to be able to follow and participate in a game.
The importance of the seven
Put simply, if the game advances to the second (or point) stage, all bets on the Pass Line are hoping that a total of seven is not rolled from the two dice. This is the only outcome that will cause bets to be lost.
The significance of the number seven is that it is the most likely combination to roll from two dice. Six of the possible 36 arrangements of numbers from two dice add up to seven. Therefore, a player can expect to register a total of seven once in every six rolls.
However, the law of probability doesn’t always ring true.
Controlling a dice
Take one grandmother in Atlantic City in 2009, who reportedly rolled her pair of dice 154 times during a game of craps without them amounting to a total of seven. The streak went on for over four hours and apparently overcame odds of 1 in 1.56 trillion.
Not that there were any accusations of advantageous play cast, but theories do exist that advanced and well-practiced players are able to manipulate and control a dice by working on their rolling technique.
Golfers spend hours working on each individual component of their swing to provide the best chance of hitting a ball straight, darts players practice daily to make their throws as mechanical as possible and snooker players regularly set up break-building drills to develop their touch and finesse of the cue ball to control shot speed and spin.
Ultimately, the same can be said of dice throwing, where craps players prepared to be disciplined and put in the time enhancing the repetitiveness of their technique are able to avoid the results of a toss being quite so random.
For example, two dice thrown in a way which would see them stay on axis and rotate at the same speed, should theoretically land on the same number. Such a result would guarantee an even-numbered total and so avoid the dreaded seven.
Here are some dice-throwing factors to consider to potentially give players the opportunity to have their own edge over a casino during a game of craps.
Setting the dice
There are 84 ways in which two dice can be set side-by-side. Such differences could be two sixes being positioned face up, but one having all 12 dots continuing in the same direction, while a different set could be a more scrambled look where one dice theoretically points vertically and the other horizontally. It is all based on the direction and arrangement of the dots.
Once other elements of the throw become more repetitive and mechanical, it may become fact that certain dice settings lend themselves to consistently landing on a preferred number.
Gripping the dice
The consensus is that the proper way that a dice should be gripped is to have three fingers in front, with the thumb behind for best control, although there are numerous methods that a player may find most comfortable. Whether a person has long fingers or fat fingers may impact on what is most natural.
The main thing pointed out is to have as little skin as possible in contact with the dice, as the lightweight dice have a tendency to stick to fingers, causing unwanted friction.
Keeping shoulders straight and free from tension is one way to boost the prospects of a throw becoming reliable and repetitive.
Meanwhile, how far a player stands in relation to the back wall could be significant. If they stand slightly further away from the craps table, it may require a longer backswing to reach the wall, which in turn could add extra rotation on the dice.
A soft landing is also considered essential and throwing a dice harder may restrict the chances of this happening.