Craps Shooting

There is more to Craps shooting than simply throwing a pair of dice to the far end of the Craps table. Watch any game of Craps in any casino and it will become immediately clear that there are many styles of shooting, some of which seem to get better results than others.

Following are some of the ways in which players attempt to make the bones roll their way. Most of them require lots of practice. Some are considered cheating (duly noted) and may result in a player being banned from the tables, or at least instructed to change his/her throwing style. But they all have the same objective—making the dice land in the shooter’s favor to eliminate the ever-present House edge.

Dice Control – This refers to the overall approach to throwing dice, which allows the shooter to determine what total will come up or avoid getting a 7 after the Point has been established. It involves three aspects of shooting: the alignment of the dice, the grip used to hold them, and the method of delivery.

Rhythm Rolling – Experienced Craps players develop a certain way of holding and throwing the dice. Those who do so consistently are said to have a “rhythm,” and those who are experts can use this rhythm to get the same rolls and bounces on almost every throw. The easy part is learning to control the cart-wheeling spin of the dice; the harder part is to hit the back wall the same way each time, so that a consistent bounce is achieved.

Dice Setting – This refers to the practice of turning the faces of the dice so that a certain combination of pips appears as the starting position before the throw. Most inexperienced dice setters concentrate only on which faces are showing uppermost. Veteran dice setters position every face in a certain way before throwing, such as a total of 7 on each surface when the dice are pressed together. Note, however, that many casinos insist that the shooter shake the dice in one hand so that they make a sound (the “cackle”) before the throw, which is supposed to inhibit dice setting.

Flying V – The dice are set so that the 3-pips are facing up and forming a “V” shape. This supposedly reduces the possibility of throwing a 7.

Dice Sliding – Absolutely banned in casinos (but some players still try it anyway), the shooter pushes the dice down the table so that they do not roll. Whatever faces are up at the start are still showing when the dice come to rest.

Lock Grip – This is a special way of holding the dice, cradled in the nook of the middle and ring finger with the thumb cocked behind them. The grip allows the dice to be shaken and make a sound (the “cackle”), as if being randomized, when the faces actually remain in place as they have been set (see “dice setting” above). This method of holding the dice is not allowed in some casinos.

Blanket Roll – The dice rest on the tips of the middle and ring finger, held in position by the thumb. The release is “underhand,” with the palm facing up, so that the dice spin in the air, not on the surface, and come to rest after a practiced number of revolutions. This rolling method was popular in World War II, when craps was played on blankets.

Whip Shot – A way of flicking the wrist when throwing the dice so that they spin like tops instead of rolling end over end. A shooter skilled at this technique can throw just about any number he/she wants, which is why most casinos will not allow throws where the dice do not actually roll.

Greek Shot – Similar to the Whip Shot, but the shooter makes the dice ride one on top of the other all the way to the wall so that they hit simultaneously. The top die locks the bottom one in place so that whatever face has been placed up will show.