Casino Craps Crew

The casino craps crew is composed of a four or five-man crew, consisting of a stickman, two dealers, and one or two boxmen, who operate the game for the amusement of the players, and the benefit of the house. The stickman, who conducts the game, controls the dice with a hooked stick, hence his name. From a bowl in front of him, he pushes five or six dice to a player. If the player does not care to shoot, he points to the next player, who is then presented with the dice. The shooter selects any two, but when he is holding the dice, they must always be kept in view of the stickman, if not, they will be called back and examined by the boxman, and the player will be offered new dice from the bowl. After the dice are thrown to the opposite end of the table, the result is announced by the stickman, usually accompanied by colorful banter. The stickman controls the pace of the game, and also acts as a barker, by calling out all the proposition bets that can be made with him. These are the worst bets for the player, the best bets for the house, and account for a substantial portion of the casino's winnings.

In addition to placing the "puck" on the shooter's number, making change, collecting losing bets, and paying off winning bets, the two dealers, who stand opposite the stickman at each end of the table, are expected to help beginning players. Expert dealers soon become familiar with each player's betting style, anticipating their play, and frequently correctly pointing out an overlooked bet. One or two boxmen, the ultimate authorities at the table, sit between the dealers, watching, at all times, the dice, the chips, the money, the dealers, and the players.

To eliminate any chance of the dice being controlled, the shooter is expected to toss the dice hard enough so they hit the backboard at the other end of the table. Thus control by the shooter becomes a near-impossibility when both dice bounce back from the embossed rubber-covered backboard. Although the throw is still considered legal if one or both dice fail to reach the end of the table, the boxman will strongly urge the shooter to throw harder. If a dice bounces off the table, or lands on a stack of chips or in the dice cup, the stickman announces "No roll!", and the mis-thrown dice are given to the boxman for scrutiny to prevent strange dice from being introduced into the game, while the remaining dice are offered to the shooter to select a replacement. No bets are won or lost, and players are free to change their wagers. If a dice is cocked, or not lying flat, the stickman calls it the way the dice would have come to rest, and the roll counts. Never let your hands get in the way of the thrown dice. If the dice hit your hand before coming to rest, it is considered an omen of bad luck. Many veteran craps shooters actually believe that this will cause a seven to be thrown and the shooter and the pass-line bettors to lose. Go along with this superstition - the dealers do. Listen for their admonition, "Watch your hands!" or "Hands up!"


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