Yesterday was the Fourth of July, and I was enjoying beers and grilled food with friends and family.  For some reason, beer out of a keg is so much better than bottled or canned. I don’t know why; it just is better.

As Blackcat firecrackers and bottle rockets were going off all around us, my friend Vanessa and her roommate said they were heading out to Vegas in the morning. They had played craps with at a charity bar game and now they wanted to play the real thing in Las Vegas.

They asked me for some advice, and I gave the usual spiel. I could tell by the glazed stares and the scrunched eyebrows that it all flew right over their heads. It could have been the beers that was the root of the confusion, or it could have been their unfamiliarity with actual casino craps; whatever the case, it was too much for a newbie to remember.

So I told Vanessa that if she agreed to do a review of the Sterling Buffet with pictures, I would stay up late and write a helpful article before I left for Biloxi to play some craps.

Suddenly, in a moment of miraculous sobriety and cognizance, she reminded me that she had watched my dog the last time I went to Vegas, and now it was my turn to watch her dog. They had already bought their plane tickets and needed a doggy sitter.Her regular doggy sitter was out of town for the holiday.

I always find it interesting when sloppy drunk people all of a sudden become selectively sober at just the right time. Anyways…

I hadn’t planned on staying at home this weekend, but a debt is a debt.

My weekend companion…

So, here is a list of 3 simple and easy to remember rules for craps newbies.

If you follow these 3 major etiquette rules, you will increase your chances of having a good time at the craps table, while avoiding arguments with your fellow players.


When it comes to etiquette rules, they’re merely suggestive rules. They’re not hard rules that are legally enforced. These rules, if violated, make people huff and puff and give the violator a mean look.

Some of these etiquette rules are violated all the time, without so much as a peep from the players. You’ve even seen the RoadGambler violate some of these rules.

For those who are unfamiliar with the culture of craps, these casino rules are best understood by thinking of the socially understood rules regarding waiting in line. When a line of people form, there’s a socially agreed and understood order to keep it orderly. It’s generally understood that the next person, who wishes to join the line, begins their wait at the end of the line. There’s technically no hard law or enforceable rule that says a person can’t cut in line, but cutting in line usually will sometimes result in some sort of informal justice from the other people in line.

Just think of these craps etiquette rules in the same spirit.

These are well known rules to craps veterans, but you would be surprised by how many people violate these three rules. Watch any of my videos and you’ll see these rules violated all the time; and then read the nasty YouTube comments pointing out the violations. So while this article is meant for the newbies, it’s also a reminder to the vets who need a refresher.


Rule 1. The Grand Rule: Keep Your Hands Out of the Table Playing Area When the Dice are Out

First, notice that the shooter has the dice and is about to shoot.
Second, notice the two players indicated by the green arrows. They are keeping their hands out of the table area. Be like those guys and keep your hands back when the shooter has the dice.
Third, notice the player indicated by the red arrow. That player has her hands in the layout area when the shooter has the dice. Do not be like that player.

Violation of this rule is the main reason why players are yelled at and given mean looks by other players.

Right now, I can feel the collective eye roll from quite a few readers who are shouting out in unison, ‘IT’S ALL RANDOM!’

That’s true.

If the dice hit another player’s hands, that hit could have hurt the shooter just as much as it helped the shooter. I’ve seen many times when the dice hit a players hand and the result was a winner. Players tend to only remember times when dice 7 out after hitting a players hand.

My answer, however, is that it doesn’t matter. This is not a rule based on science; rather, it’s a courtesy rule.

At the end of the day, keeping your hands out of the center of the playing area is the most important etiquette rule because that’s what players want. As craps players, we are here to enjoy the game and this rule helps enhance the experience at the table.

When a loss happens after the dice hit an inconsiderate player’s hand, it’s human nature to think that the roll may have turned out differently, if not the inconsiderate player. For many people, that lingering thought takes away from the enjoyment of the game. That reason alone is good enough to follow this rule.

Rule 2. Make All Bets While Dice are in the Center 

This rule is probably the second most important rule because violation of this rule will result in nasty thoughts from other players. Shooters like to have the playing area unimpeded by people’s hands when they’re about to shoot.

See how the dice are in the middle of the layout in the picture below? This is when you should be making all your bets.

Dice are in the center of the table. Make all your bets now!

Once the stickman has sent the dice to the shooter, stop making any further bets. It’s just rude.

The dice are no longer in the center of the table. The stick is sending the dice to the shooter. NO MORE BETS!

If this rule is violated consistently, the other players around the table may eventually get nasty on the offender. Usually though, the players will complain the to the stickman, who will usually issue a warning to the offender.

Rule 3. Do not Buy in During the Middle of a Roll

I will be the first to admit that I have violated this rule quite a few times; although, I try very hard to follow this rule.

The reasoning behind this etiquette rule is that if a shooter is having a good roll, buying in will slow down his roll and thus ‘kill’ his momentum or disrupt his rhythm. Hey, I’m just telling you what they majority of players are thinking. Don’t shoot the messenger, all you scientific and logical types.

When you stop up to a table and the shooter is in the middle of a roll, you generally should not buy in. How do you know if the shooter is in the middle of a roll? Simple, look at the puck.

See the white disc in the picture below? If the disc is white, the shooter is in the middle of his roll. You should wait.

The red arrows are pointing to the puck, which is now white. This means the shooter is in the middle of his roll. The general courtesy is to wait until the roll is over.

But if the puck is black, like this…you should buy in.

See how the puck is now black and says ‘OFF’? Buy in now.


These are the rules I told Vanessa and her roommate to follow. I’m sure that if they follows these rules, they’ll will have a good time. Violation of these rules will sometimes result in being yelled at, which for a newbie, is a mood killer.

These rules aren’t just for newbies. Experienced craps players violate these rules often enough that we should sometimes refresh our memories.

There are some circumstance were I think it’s okay to violate the above rules, but that’s another article for the future.

Do you ladies and gentlemen have any other rules that Vanessa should follow? She’s in Vegas right now, and I told her to check in here for any other advice.

It’s her first time playing craps in a real casino, so try and use terms they can understand.

Hope you’re doing well and winning, my friends. Oh, and don’t forget the pics and a report of the Sterling Buffet!


Posted in: Craps, Gambling

0 thoughts on “3 Simple Etiquette Rules for the Craps Table

  • RG,
    Are you still feeling the effects of yesterday? I have never seen typos in one of your posts. LOL.
    For your friends, tell them to slide up next to an older guy with a lot black and purple in his rack and they will be all set.

    • RoadGambler says:

      Friday was rough.

      She read your comment and asked me, ‘where’?

      My response was, ‘are you sure you’re in Vegas?’

    • Richard A Pico says:

      yeah, hands up is a biggy.

      buying in when puck is black is a major etiquette standard. but what does one do when shooter is tossing point after point? stopping the action for a buy in is awkward at best.

      dice in the center while making foolish stick or prop bets is a given.

  • This is not a etiquette rule but watch your bets. Know what bets are yours and make sure you get paid when they hit. I wouldn’t make to many bets at first until you get a good understanding of the game. Good luck and have fun! Cute dogs.
    tip the dealers and be nice they will take care of you

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