The average craps table is manned by a crew of four casino employees—one stickman, who stands at the center of the table; two dealers, who stand on the opposite side of the stickman at either end of the table; and a boxman, who is seated between the two standing dealers and directly across from the stickman.
The stickman’s main responsibility is the handling of the dice, a task he performs with a flexible, hooked stick. When a new shooter is coming out, the stickman offers him a cache of dice to choose from. After the shooter has selected two of them, the stickman returns the remaining dice to his box.
After each roll of the dice, the stickman announces the number thrown and brings the dice back to the center of the table. He usually also supplies additional information about its consequences.
If a 7 is thrown on the come-out roll, he may announce, “7, winner on the pass line.” If a 2, 3 or 12 is rolled on the come-out, he may say, “Craps, line away.” When a shooter sevens-out, the stickman announces, “7 out, line away.”
A good stickman is a show all by himself. By the excitement he generates, he makes the game more lively and colorful for players and dealers alike. From the casino’s standpoint, happy players tend to bet heavier and wilder than they normally would. The stickman is also responsible for the proposition, or center bets, made in the middle of the layout. He places all proposition bets directed his way into their proper location on the layout. If these bets are winners, the stickman directs the dealers to pay off the winning players. If the bets are losers, he collects the lost bets and pushes them over to the boxman.
The dice are returned to the shooter after the dealers have finished making payoffs.
A dealer stands on either side of the boxman. A dealer’s main responsibility is to handle all the monetary transactions and betting on his end of the table. He pays off winning bets and collects losing ones, converts cash into chips, and changes chips into higher or lower denominations for the players.
Though a player can make many of the bets himself, wagers such as the place bets and certain free-odds bets must be given to the dealer to be placed.
Each standing dealer has a marker buck, a plastic disk used to indicate the established point. If a player is coming out, beginning his roll, the marker buck will be lying on its black side, labeled “off.” If a point is established, the dealer will flip the marker buck to the white side, marked “on,” and place it in the appropriately numbered box to indicate the point. It is with the dealers that you will have most of your contact and to whom you can address your questions.
The boxman sits between the two dealers and across from the stickman, and supervises the running of the craps table from this central position. His job is to watch over the casino’s bankroll, most of which sits right in front of him in huge stacks, and make sure that the dealers make the correct payoffs so that neither a player nor the house gets shorted.
He is responsible for settling any disputes that may arise between the players and the dealers. Generally, the benefit of the doubt will be given to the player on any disputed call. If the dice leave the table for any reason, the returned dice are brought directly to the boxman for inspection. He checks the logo and coded numbers on the dice to make sure that they haven’t been switched, and inspects the surfaces for imperfections that may influence the game. If the boxman is suspicious of the returned dice for any reason, he will remove them from play and have the stickman offer the shooter a new pair.
When one boxman is on duty, he supervises one end of the table while the stickman watches the other.
However, when the action is fast and stacks of chips are riding on each roll of the dice, a second boxman is often added to the crew to help watch the table. In these cases, the boxmen will sit next to each other behind the chips, each being responsible for one end of the table.
In addition to the boxmen, other supervisors, called floormen and pit bosses, watch over the action from behind the boxman.
The floormen spend their entire shift on their feet, and are responsible for supervising a particular table or group of tables in the pit. In addition to these supervisory capacities, they deal with players that have established credit lines. If you request credit, the floorman checks to see if your credit is good and if your credit is verified, he authorizes the dealer to give you the chips that you requested. At the same time, or soon after, he brings you an IOU to sign, acknowledging the credit transaction.
The pit boss, under whose authority the floormen work, is in the charge of the entire craps pit. He is rarely in contact with the players unless a high roller is playing, in which case he may introduce himself to the high roller or offer him some comps.
About the Writer
Avery Cardoza has written twenty-one books on beating the casino and is the world’s largest publisher of gaming and gambling titles (www.cardozabooks.com). Cardoza is also the owner of the legendary Gambler’s Book Club (www.gamblersbookclub.com), home to the world’s largest selection of gaming books. His novel, Lost in Las Vegas, is a critically acclaimed dark comedy about two hapless vacationers who find themselves hunted by the mob, FBI, six killers, and the Rat in a world where nothing is as it seems—and then things go downhill for them. “A fantastic read… The Vegas underbelly as if presented by the Coen brothers.”—Kevin Pollak.