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This page is specifically about the rules of playing the game of craps or casino dice and the variations of the game.  Specifically, we will address the rules about playing the game, shooting the dice, and rules about dice setting and attempts at dice influencing and dice control.


Update September 25, 2013  Make no mistake about it: casinos have strict rules about the game of craps and they enforce those rules.  And if they didn't enforce those rules the game would not be fair to the players and the house could lose a lot of money.

But sometimes the rules get bent or overlooked because of customer service.  It's customer service because the casinos want to take care of their "good players" and good customers.  You can't go looking for these changes or modifications or bending of the rules -- but they do happen.  They don't happen often, but they seem to happen at the right time for the players who deserve a break.

Let me give you a few examples of some of the rules that get bent:

1.  One or both dice fail to hit the back wall.  The rule is both dice must hit the back wall, but this rule is not stringently enforced.  At many casinos if at least one die hits the back wall and the second die comes close to the back wall it's good enough.  And at many casinos if the dice thrower or shooter misses the back wall with both dice one time in fifteen or twenty rolls no one will care.  And at many casinos if the shooter repeatedly misses the back wall -- even just a couple of throws in a row -- the shooter will be warned to hit the back wall with both dice or they will lose the opportunity to keep shooting.

2.  Betting late.  One of the basic rules at craps is that all bets must be made before the dice are given to the shooter.  But sometimes a late bet is made.  If it doesn't happen too often, a stickman will call out "bet" to signal that the late bet is being accepted.  But if late bets are made too often the stickman might also call out "no bet."

3.  Forgotten bets can be paid.  Sometimes a player forgets to make a bet or is distracted and cannot make a bet in time.  For example, on a come-out roll, a player might always make a craps bet or a horn bet to insure his passline bet.  On a rare occasion that player misses the insurance bet and a craps is thrown.  If the player is known to always make that bet the crew might tell the player to make the bet late and the pay is made.  You won't see this happen often, but sometimes it happens with the approval of the floorman or boxman supervising the game.

4.  Incorrect odds can be paid.  Sometimes a player might place more odds behind the passline than is allowed.  The rule might be for the crew not pay the extra bet, but is some cases the extra bet might be paid as if the number were placed.  If the passline bet is lost the proper procedure is for the excess odds bet to be returned.

In many cases these are examples of customer service at the craps table.  But trying to take advantage of customer service could make a player unwanted.

And then there are times when a dealer at the craps table might make a mistake.  For example, a hardway bet or a horn bet loses and the dealer forgets to take it down.  When that happens I would advise the players to bring it to the attention of the dealers because that could earn the player some "customer service" when they make an error.

There are also times when a dealer might make a mistake in a pay.  It's happened to me when a black chip ($100) got mixed up with red chips ($5) and instead of being paid $25 in reds I was paid $120 (one black and four reds).  I would always bring that to the attention of the dealers as well, not only because it's the right thing to do and because it could earn you some "customer service" in the future but because the table crew keeps track of its "black chips" and if you're not a black chip player they'll be suspicious how you got one.


Update October 27, 2011  I just found this-- New Jersey's published regulations about throwing dice and what is considered a valid throw and what isn't considered to be a valid throw.  And, it's a bit different from what many craps players think-- and it actually differs slightly from what regulators in Nevada told me.  And I also just found out that you won't find the Nevada regulations printed anywhere.  More about that later.

But first, the New Jersey rules.  Here are the regulations as published by New Jersey regulators:

19:47-1.8 Throw of the dice

Upon selection of the dice, the shooter shall make a Pass or Don't Pass Bet after which he shall throw the two selected dice so that they leave his hand simultaneously and in a manner calculated to cause them to strike the end of the table farthest from him.

19:47-1.9 Invalid roll of the dice

(a) A roll of the dice shall be invalid whenever either or both of the dice go off the table or whenever one die comes to rest on top of the other.

(b) The persons listed in (e) below shall have the authority to invalidate a roll of the dice by calling "No Roll" for any of the following reasons:

1. The dice do not leave the shooter's hand simultaneously;

2. Either or both of the dice fail to strike an end of the table;

3. Either or both of the dice come to rest on the chips constituting the craps bank of chips located in front of the boxperson.

4. Either or both of the dice come to rest in the dice cup in front of the craps stickperson, or in front of the the mini-craps dealer or stickperson, or on one of the rails surrounding the table;

5. The use of a cheating, crooked or fixed device or technique in the roll of the dice; and,

6. For any other reason the craps boxperson or stickperson, or the mini-craps dealer or stickperson considers the throw to be improper.

(c) The call of "No Roll" under either paragraphs 1, 2 or 6 of subsection (b) of this section shall, whenever possible, be made before both dice come to rest.

(d) A throw of the dice which results in the dice coming into contact with any match play coupons or chips on the table, other than the craps bank of chips located in front of the Boxman, shall not be a cause for a call of "No Roll".

(e) "No Roll" may be called:

1. In craps, by a boxperson or stickperson, as designated by the casino licensee; and

2. In mini-craps, by the dealer, stickperson or floorperson, as designated by the casino licensee.

As amended, effective: 06/20/94

As amended, effective: 08/05/96

As amended, effective: 03/17/97

Okay, the first thing that I read that struck me as strange is the rule that a throw is invalid if "one die comes to rest on top of the other."  Really?  I'm not sure I've ever seen that happen, but it's easy to remove the top die to see what the bottom die is showing.

The other regulation that strikes me as strange is this one:

6. For any other reason the craps boxperson or stickperson, or the mini-craps dealer or stickperson considers the throw to be improper.

Whoa, Nellie!  How about some consumer protection here, guys.  This gives the dealers and table crew a lot of leeway for calling a no roll.  Does this mean the casinos in New Jersey can require the dice to bounce off the back wall a minimum of two inches?  Or four inches?  Or, how about two feet?

What is curious is that the New Jersey regulations do not include the definition of a valid throw that was given to me by Nevada regulators which says the dice must fly in the air, bounce off the table surface and hit the back wall.  Also, the New Jersey regulations make no mention of dice sliding.  And there is no mention of setting, controlled shooting, or dice hitting the back wall but failing to bounce off the back wall.

Now, of course, you want to know what the Nevada regulations are and you'd like to see them on the website of the Nevada gaming regulators.  Well, so do I.  But when I phoned the Enforcement Division of the Nevada Gaming Commission, Theresa Zellhoefer of the Encorcement Division told me that "Nevada operates differently" than New Jersey and Nevada does not publish specific rules or regulations for the game of craps.  "We established minimum controls," she told me, and the casinos have to meet those minimums and they can exceed them, "and then we say okay."

Well, while this is surprising it still does not change what the NGC has said before about what is a valid roll and what isn't.  But if you are expecting to find it in black and white or on a web page -- you won't.


Update October 7, 2011  When I first heard about this case, I said to Tim O'Reiley of the Las Vegas Review Journal that it is up to the table crew to "protect the game" by identifying an illegal dice slide and calling a "no roll."

Now we find out that there were seven slides cited in the lawsuit. And on several other message boards and forums there have been posts that somewhere between 8 and 12 employees at Wynn were fired over this dice sliding case. This begs the question: were they fired because they were inept at identifying the illegal slides or for failing to protect the game, or were they involved with the players in allowing the dice slides?

That is still the #1 question to decide this, I think. Because if these "sliders" were regular patrons of the Wynn, these alleged 7 slides might represent only a tiny fraction of the number of dice throws/rolls that these players made at Wynn over a period of days or weeks. And as we all know, a bad throw or two or even seven, can fall in between the cracks of "game protection."

Consider these numbers: The average craps shooter throws the dice 5 times per "hand" or turn with the dice. Each throw of the dice (turn) takes 20 seconds, or three per minute. That's 180 throws of the dice per hour at a table, on average.

If these alleged dice sliders played at a table with five other players (six total players) for a total of four hours per day, each of these "alleged sliders" could have thrown the dice about 120 times per day. (180 throws per hour X 4 hours = 720 throws / 6 players = 120)

If these sliders played at the Wynn for 20 days, (and they were regulars there), they each threw the dice 20 X 120 = 2,400 times. If 7 rolls were deemed to be "slides," that's less than one-third of one percent of their throws of the dice.

Could one-third of one-percent be deemed an attempt to break the game? Can the dealers honestly "miss" one-third of one percent of the rolls for being slides?

These are just several issues that I think might come up in the lawsuit.


Update October 5, 2011  There has been a lot of interest in the Wynn alleged dice sliding lawsuit and there is a lot of discussion about what is dice sliding and why is it illegal.

It's easy to explain why it's illegal because the Nevada Gaming Commission says it is.  It is illegal because dice sliding, by definition, eliminates any chance for a random throw.  It's almost like picking up the dice, setting the top faces for a particular combination, then walking to the far end of the table and placng the dice to show your winning combination.  Dice sliding is close to doing that.

In dice sliding, the dice or a die are slid down the table so that the faces or face set on top does not move.

A legal dice throw can also have the dice set by the shooter to show any combination.  But to make the throw a random event, the dice must fly in the air, hit the table surface at least once and hit the back wall.  Some who are skilled in the art of dice influencing claim that they can influence the dice to limit the number of faces that might show when the dice come to rest.  But in dice sliding all of the radomness can be removed.

Below is a video I shot of what a dice slide might look like.  For this video I used a pair of dice from a Las Vegas casino and slid them on a home mini craps table.  Please note that dice sliding works best when worn dice are used, without sharp edges that can catch on the table surface.  I've never slid the dice myself at a real craps table, but I was pretty good doing it at home on my mini table.  Look at my demonstration video and then read more of the articles below about dice sliding, dice influencing and dice control, and the legality of these techniques.


Update October 1, 2011  A few days ago I got a phone call from a business reporter at the Las Vegas Review Journal who asked me what I knew about dice sliding.  Actually, I know a lot about it because over the years I've reported on gaming as a news reporter and because I've played craps I have come to know about the various ideas, theories and techniques for influencing the dice.

Dice sliding is illegal, and further down on this page in my article about the theory of dice control there is more information about this.  But basically sliding is illegal because the dice in a legal throw must be tossed in the air, hit the table surface at least once and hit the back wall.  With a slide, the dice or a die will show the same face while they literally slide down the length of the table and never leave the table surface or bounce.

Wynn Las Vegas is now reportedly suing at least two people involved in winning a lot of money from the casino by using a slide a minimum of seven times.  When the reporter from the Las Vegas Review Journal told me about the alleged seven slides I immediately became skeptical of the chances that the Wynn would be successful in its lawsuit to recover the money that was won using what is well know as an illegal throw.

And the reason I am skeptical is that the table crew -- the dealers, floorman, boxman, pit boss -- should immediately identify the illegal slide the first time it is used.  And then when it is used they should warn the shooter it is illegal and disallow any future "rolls" that were in fact a slide.  So how did the shooter get away with an illegal delivery of the dice seven times?

And that is the big issue: how could seven of these slides been made under the watchful eyes of the table crew?  In fact, one of the first rules of casino game protection in craps is that the dealers must keep their eyes on the dice at all times.  So, I asked, if this shooter allegedly got away with seven slides, how could he do it without the table crew allowing it?  In other words, was the table crew in on the crime?

Shortly after my conversation with the reporter, I found some information that some craps personnel at the Wynn were fired.  However, I do not know if they had any connection to the dice sliding case.

But the basic point is this: the table crew is there to make sure the game is played fairly and they are there to especially watch the dice, control the use of the dice, to see that the dice are not switched, and to make sure there is a legal throw of the dice and that the dice slide is not used.

Perhaps the dealers and crew at that table were not in on the crime and just did not know what a legal throw is?  In which case the Wynn has some retraining to do.  Can the Wynn go after the players weeks later after the throws were allowed?  I will let that issue be decided in court, but it would seem to me that if it was determined that the dealers were not part of the scam, and the crew did not rule against the throws, then the Wynn would have no claim on the money.

But if the Wynn Casino had evidence that the dealers and crew members were cooperating with the shooter who was sliding the dice, then this will blow up into a big inside theft job.

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