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It's More Fun When You Win!



Volume VII : Issue #5

Date May 2007

In This Edition:


A Word From Soft Touch

From the Editor

Introductory Craps Part 2

Today's Wisdom...

A Labor of Love...

Newsletter Archive Links


 Soft Touch Say's


This is the time when everyone is busy planning their summer vacations.  Players are looking for vacation bargains and value for their time and money. And, our web traffic indicates an interest in all things craps.  


I thought I would have my editor publish one of the questions we received this past month.  This request for information is representative of what we receive regularly when it comes to learning how to start out with an advantage as we play.


The question is from a novice wishing to get up to speed with the game quickly. Mr. Jones has kindly responded to our reader’s question.  You will notice that part of my editor’s response is to take a class from the Dice Coach in Las Vegas. I have to completely agree with him.  


At a time when players are looking for value for their dollar, I thought this would be a great time to mention that Beau Parker, the Dice Coach, is a valuable resource to consider.


Whether it is to get your game up to speed or tweak whatever is “off” with your strategy or toss, he offers a one-on-one, hands-on personal and private experience in his virtual craps pit for a mere $295.  And, if I happen to be in town, most students will get to have a chance to receive my opinion on how to help them with their game just as an added bonus.


And here’s an even bigger plus for couples. For three dollars more your spouse or significant other can share in the learning experience with you.  Now, that’s value.  And, he’s got a money back guarantee.  Where else in Vegas can you find that for your craps playing dollar? So, do connect with him should you have the chance at


More questions received here at Dice Setter specifically ask about general rules on how the game operates.  And, we also have a few having to do with technical advice on how to correct or resolve issues with a shooter’s toss and betting systems/strategies to money management.


We make every effort to answer as many questions as best we can. While we will never represent that we have all the answers for whatever ails the player with their game, we do endeavor to provide honest and accurate answers. We also direct players to others in the community that may have a greater grasp on a specific subject within the game.


So, in light of the continued interest in the basics, this May’s newsletter continues with Mike in Hawaii’s craps lessons for beginners.  If you missed the first lesson, feel free to link up with the archives found in this newsletter.  Lesson three of his series will be published next month. All my beginning players are really enjoying the information on how to get started before they fly off to Vegas for their summer vacation.  Thank you, Mike.


Have a great summer everyone.


Soft Touch



PS If you have any suggestions for the new Dice Setter website or newsletter please send them to me at and I'll have a look and see how we can incorporate them into our future plans.


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From the Editor

Dear Ed,

My name is Tim I'm getting married in Vegas on 7-7-07 I'm staying at the Mirage. I want to go through a fast course on craps and do well in Vegas . Do you have any Ideas? I have about two months to go before we get there. I'm a complete novice and I want to impress my soon to be wife and have more money to take her to do stuff. I know there is no guarantees but I want to improve my chances. Please write me back with any suggestions.\ Tim

Congratulation Tim!

I am no more of a marriage counselor than a gaming counselor.... but since you took the time to write, here goes.

1. There is no short cut for you. Craps is a complicated game and if you want to speed the process, I feel you left yourself little time. You could study a book and it is not the same as having personal instruction. The one book to read, Casino Craps for the Winner, by Avery Cordoza. Read only the first 63 pages....over and over until you understand the terms, plays, odds and how the game progresses. I normally would say forget the rest of the book as there are better ways of playing, however Avery's approach is fairly conservative. You probably would not win much and at the same time, your losses would be palatable. I used it for a short time with moderate success years ago.

2. Playing craps is not about impressing anyone. This attitude will only separate you from your money faster. If you really want to impress your wife, show her a great time in Las Vegas spending time with her. Instead of trying to show off with how much you don't know about gambling, show her how exciting gaming can be and that you want to pursue the knowledge of becoming a "player" not "gambler". This is the most important element of gambling... Discipline and be honest with yourself! Probably good advice for a successful marriage too.

3. The only programs and instructors endorsed by are found on the web site. Beau Parker is most available and lives in Las Vegas. I would recommend that you contact him for a one-on-one lesson while you are in Las Vegas. Ask him if you can bring your wife along and make a private lesson part of your wedding plans. Better to invest in a positive experience than to create a negative memory. You will not regret meeting the Dice Coach.

4. I can't leave out the Professor's updated craps playbook, The Do's and Don'ts of Dice.

Ed Jones

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Introductory Craps - Part 2

By Mike in Hawaii

Copyright © 2007


Now that you have some understanding of who's who at a Craps table and following the flow of the game, we can move on to betting. There is a vast array of bets on the Craps table. Fortunately you can ignore most of them. Some are quite bad. Others take a bit of study to understand. So we will construct a very simple, but legitimate, betting strategy for having lots of fun at a Craps table. We will also introduce many of the key concepts in Craps betting strategies. 

Passing Money in a Casino Correctly

You never hand money to a Casino employee directly. It has to do with the cameras and security, people always watching etc. For instance, when you buy into a Craps game, you do not hand the $100 or whatever to the dealer. You place it on the felt and say something like "Change please". The dealer will then pick it up off the felt where you left it. He will place the chips you just bought back on the felt in about the same place. Then you will pick up your new chips. 

Same thing with making bets that require dealer interaction. You put the chips down when it is your turn to bet, and you have your dealer's attention, telling him what kind of bet you want to make. The dealer then picks them up and puts them in the right place for you. If you win, the dealer puts the chips on the felt in front of you. You then are free to pick them up. Never hand-to-hand. This is not unique to Craps. It is how it is done throughout the Casino.


 Beginners should probably be playing at a table with a $5 minimum pass line Bet requirement or less. A Franklin, or a $100 bill, is plenty of money to buy into a Craps game to get chips for a conservative betting strategy. Chips have nicknames. $5 chips are called Reds because they usually are red, and also Nickels. The $25 chips are typically Green and the $100 chips are typically Black, sometimes called Blackbirds. The $1 chips have quite a bit of color variation but tend to be mostly white or blue. So when you lay your $100 cash on the felt and ask for "Change", the dealer will probably replace it with a stack of 20 red chips for you to pick up.Puck Off



When the puck is showing "OFF" is the correct time to buy into a Craps game by placing your cash on the felt and asking for "Change". When you ask for "Change" the dealer will immediately know you are not placing a bet but just getting chips. If you have a player's club card for that Casino, you can put it on top of your Cash so you will be logged into that table and your play will be rated for comps. You can get comps and points for playing table games just like playing slot machines, usually with the same player's club card. Your player's club card will temporarily disappear behind the table into the realm of the Pit Boss, but do not worry, it will be returned to you in a few minutes. 

The top edge of the tub, the depressed area of the Craps table, is called the rail. It is very much like the rail on a banister. The rail is typically broad and has two rounded bottom troughs cut into it where you can place your chips on their edge. You want to keep an eye on your chips and keep them together right in front of you in the rail, or in your hand. 

Keep your Hands to Yourself

Keep your hands out of the tub except when placing a bet, picking up chips or getting change. Do not lean on the rail and let your hands hang over into the playing area where they might be hit by thrown dice. One thing that always upsets Craps players is having the dice hit another player's hands (it is considered very unlucky), so keep your hands out of the tub. It will save you a potential embarrassment.

 So how and what to bet? There are two types of Craps betters called "Right" betters and "Wrong" betters. There is nothing really wrong with the "Wrong" better and he is doing nothing actually wrong, it is just one of those strange Craps terms for the types of bets he likes to make. 

Most betters are "Right" betters, and you should start out betting right. I have never tried to count the number of possible bets at a Craps table, but there are lots of them. When you get down to the "good" bets, those with low house advantage, you end up with a very short list. These good "Right" bets are called pass line, Odds on pass line, Place 6, Place 8 and Come. After those few bets, the house advantage starts to go up painfully fast, until we get to some bets that qualify as the worst sucker bets the Casino has to offer. 

Pass Line Betting

One of the best bets on the Craps table is called the "pass line". It is an actual strip on the felt that runs all the way around each end of the table. To make a pass line Bet, you just put a chip in this strip which is marked "pass line". Put your bet into the strip directly in front of where you are standing. pass line Bets are one of those Craps bets you can make yourself, without help from a dealer. 

The pass line Bet is only made before a Come Out Roll. Remember the two "phases" of Craps? When a shooter is about to "come out", and the puck is showing its "OFF" side, is the time to drop your Nickel ($5 Chip) on the pass line. This particular bet is what is called a "Contract bet". Once it is made, it is stuck there. For better or for worse, until the shooter either wins this hand or loses this hand. The pass line Bet has a great low house advantage and is one of the best bets in the house. Either a pass line bet or a don't pass bet is is required of each shooter before he or she can throw the dice. But it is optionally available to everyone else at the Craps table before a Come Out Roll.

Passline $5 BetIf the shooter wins, you win. How do you know if you won or not? Simple, the dealer gives you money! Or more correctly (remember no hand-to-hand?) the dealer will place a second $5 chip next to your original chip which you can then pick up and place in your rail. How do you know if you lose? Equally simple. The dealer reaches over and takes your $5 chip off the pass line and puts it onto his stack.




Remember the rules for the Come Out Roll? If the shooter rolls a 7 or 11 that is a Natural Win and your pass line Bet wins immediately. If the shooter rolls Craps, a 2, 3 or 12, then you lose and your pass line Bet loses immediately. 

If the shooter sets a point, if he rolls anything else (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10), then your pass line Bet just sits there waiting. Like everyone else it is waiting to see if the shooter will throw that same "point number" again before he Sevens Out (rolls a 7). If he makes his point, your pass line Bet wins and you will be getting another Red from the dealer. If the shooter Sevens Out, the dealer quietly scoops up your chip and puts it on his stack. Very simple. The dealer does all the heavy lifting. 

Once you properly make the pass line Bet by putting the chip in the right place directly in front of you, it becomes as self working as a slot machine. Either your chip will eventually go away, or the dealer will give you a second one to go with it. When the stickman says something like "Take the Line" he is saying the pass line Bets have lost and the dealers should collect them for the house. When he says something like "Take the Don't, Pay the Line" he is saying the pass line Bets have won and the dealers should pay them. 

You will quickly start to wonder how in the world the dealers keep track of all those chips on the felt! Which chips belong to which players? Well dealers have a special geometry. They arrange the chips inside each betting area into little maps of the table.

Placing your pass line bet into the pass line strip directly in front of where you are standing, is one example of this geometry.

The dealer will know that is YOUR bet based on where exactly it is on the felt. Right in front of you. Other bets that are made by dealers or the stickman in other places on the felt are done similarly. The exact placement of each chip is far from random. If you watch carefully, you will soon start to see these patterns and be able to know, like the dealers know, which chips belong to which players.

 The payoff on a pass line Bet is known as "one to one" or 1:1 because if you win, you get back exactly as much as you wagered. You also get to keep your original chip as well. So if your pass line Bet wins, you get to keep your original $5 chip and you get a new $5 chip to go with it. If you lose the dealer will be around to collect your $5 original chip off the pass line and he won't be leaving anything. 

Not Losing Your Money Faster

[AKA How to Politely Ignore Free Advice at a Craps Table] 

You won't be making your pass line Bets very long before a helpful person tells you all about "Taking Odds". A friendly dealer will often ask you "don't you want to take odds with that?" Kind of like at the local fast food joint mantra "Wouldn't you like fries with that?" or "Do you want to Super Size that?" Helpful advice at the Craps table is probably inevitable. 

Bottom line, especially in terms of money, is you should probably listen to advice at the Craps table politely, thank the nice person, and then quietly keep right on doing what you fully understand. How you are going to be betting, your betting pattern, is one of those things which should be learned and completely sorted out in advance. Betting strategy should not made up as you go along, pulled this way and that by helpful advice, while at the Craps table. 

Odds on the pass line Bet are a generally good idea, but you will be making LARGER bets! That means your money can disappear a LOT faster! However, odds, sometimes called "free odds" on the pass line Bet is something you should know about. 

Passline Bet plus Passline Odds BetAfter the Come Out Roll, when the shooter is getting ready to start Chasing His Point, you can increase your existing pass line Bet in a special way. You can put out some extra chips right behind your pass line Bet. It is called "taking odds". This bet is not paid off simply at one to one, but at the true odds. It has zero house advantage. That is kind of a big whoop. A totally fair bet in a Casino! Almost unheard of.






So here is how you can start to experiment with taking odds on the pass line. IF and only IF the shooter sets a point of either Six or Eight. Only if after his Come Out Roll he ends up with a point of Six or Eight (the Puck will flip over to read "ON" and be placed either behind the Six box or the Eight box) you can put a second $5 Red chip next to your original Red chip. Do not put it on top of the original chip, or beside it in the pass line strip, but just outside the pass line strip, a bit closer to where you are standing. In other words, "Behind the Line".

If the point is 4, 5, 9 or 10, just stick with just the simple pass line Bet you have already made. No additional odds. The Six and Eight will be the point often enough, and when they are you will be doubling the size of your bet. Settle for the occasional "regular fries" and do not immediately rush to "Super Size" everything.

If your pass line Bet loses, your odds bet also loses and the dealer will be around to collect BOTH of them. But if your pass line Bet wins, the dealer will leave you not only the $5 for your pass line Nickel, but also $6 (a Red and a White) for your $5 odds bet.  

Remember I said that pass line odds bets pay off at completely fair odds? The odds pass line bet on a point of Six or Eight pays off at Six to Five, 6:5. So if you win, you get $6 to go with your original $5 in odds. You win a total of $11; $5 for your pass line Nickel and $6 for your odds Nickel. 


This second bet, the additional odds bet, is an example of increasing your money at risk in order to have a chance at a bigger win. One of the most important things to learn about Craps is TRENDS. A table can be "Hot" or "Cold" or "Choppy". When we say a table is "Hot" we mean it is favoring the Right better. The shooters are making their points and hitting Natural Wins more often than statistics say they should. Life is good, at least for the players. 

When a table is "Cold" we mean the House is winning, ergo, the shooters are Crapping, and Sevening Out, more often than statistics say they should. Either of these is a trend. The dreaded "Choppy Table" is when results are random, flopping back and forth between favoring the House and favoring the Shooter, with no pattern at all. No trend at all. 

It is impossible to emphasize this enough! All the Math types will go on and on about how each roll of the dice is independent. But if you pay attention you will quickly see that trends certainly appear to be real. Action at a given table will turn Hot or Cold or Choppy and then seem to get stuck there. Why is this important? Well you need to adapt your betting pattern to match any perceived trend. This is the entire purpose of having more than one bet in your personal strategy which you have researched, learned and are prepared to make intelligently. So you can adapt your betting pattern from moment to moment as trends develop and conditions change. 

If a table starts to look Hot, that is the time to start adding the $5 pass line Odds Bet each time the point is Six or Eight. If the shooter is getting taken to the cleaners, if the table is Cold, and the House is scooping in chips as fast as the dealers can move, then you should skip putting out the Odds bet even if the point is Six or Eight. 

When the table is Hot and it is like they are having a sale on Casino Chips, you want to get deeper into the action by increasing your bets a bit. When things are not looking good, you want to keep your chips in the rail and pull back, hoping that things will heat up. 

When a table is Choppy without any pattern, you want to bet very conservatively. Everyone is getting beaten up out there, and no strategy is working, right or wrong. It is time to hide and watch, hoping for a new trend to develop. Of course a right better is hoping for a new Hot trend! 

So why do we single out just the Six and the Eight? What is wrong with the other points? The 4, 5, 9, and 10?

It has to do with how difficult a given point is to make. Mathematically, points come in pairs, at least statistically. The Six and Eight have a lot in common. The Five and Nine have a lot in common. And the Four and 10 have a lot in common. Each pair is paid off at different odds and need different sized bets, yada yada yada, lots of great stuff you can have fun learning further down the road. 

The nice thing about the Six and the Eight is that you can take single odds (as it is called) by putting down a second $5 odds bet behind the line when the point is Six and Eight. No fancy math required. Six and Eight are the most likely point numbers for a shooter to be chasing, so you will get lots of opportunities for making the odds bet on the Six and the Eight. Finally, you stick with just an extra $5 bet now and again. You do not get in over your head. 

You get a chance to become used to taking odds the simplest way possible plus learning the concept of making different bets based on what point number is established, what point is "working". Finally, odds behind the line, odds on a pass line Bet, is another one of those bets which the player can make for themselves, without help from the dealer. 

Review so Far

  1. There are many bets on the Craps table, but only a very few are good bets.
  2. pass line is a great bet and the most basic bet for the "Right" better.
  3. Odds on the pass line is a good bet, but it increases your average bet, your average risk.
  4. Not all point numbers are created equal. They should be regarded as pairs, 6&8, 5&9, 4&10.
  5. Betting strategy often adapts based on which point number is "working".
  6. You believe in TRENDS. You only increase your bets when a table appears Hot. (since you are betting right)




Our Betting Strategy So Far 

n       On each Come Out Roll, make a $5 pass line Bet, unless the table is hopelessly Cold. 

n       If the Point is 6 or 8 and the table is Hot, add a $5 pass line Odds bet after the point is set. 



Today's Wisdom:

Developing Subtle Feelings

"There is a subtle metaphysical definition of feeling that is slightly different from the one you might be used to. If you tap the back of your hand with your knuckles, the impulse of that touch goes to the brain--and we call that "feeling". However, the impulse of that tap is really a sensation, not a feeling.

When tackling a problem, the intellect might say, "I feel we should do this or that" But the mind doesn't mean: "I feel." What is means is: "I think." Most of what the mind says it feels is not really feeling at all - it is opinion."

Stuart Wilde - Silent Power - page 68

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PLEASE: If you have any comments or ideas for future issues, feel free to email me at  and as always, I'm looking for contributors with a fresh perspective.


Good Luck!



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