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Street vs. Casino Craps

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When you hear about the game of Craps your mind usually jumps to the Craps tables at casinos where well-dressed players throw the dice on a table after a sexy girl blows on them for luck. While the casino version of this game is very glamorous, it does have some surprising origins.

A game that played a major role in shaping the version of casino Craps that we all know and love today is the street version of the game often called street craps or street dice.

This is probably a game that you've seen played on TV or in movies or even on a sidewalk or alley in a few neighborhoods. While the basics of this game are similar to the casino version where there's a single shooter and players make bets on his/her rolls. Casino Craps is a house banked game which means there are notable differences in the rules. Before discussing this however, let's recap on basic craps rules:

  1. The shooters first roll of the dice is known as the "come out" roll and if a 2, 3 or 12 are rolled the shooter is said to "Craps out" and anyone who bet on the pass line bet loses and those betting on the "Don't Pass Line" win. If a 7 or 11 is rolled every bet placed on the pass line automatically wins while the don't pass line bets lose. Twelve is treated as a push.
  2. When numbers other than those mentioned above are rolled a "point" number is established and the shooter aims to roll this number again before he/she rolls a seven. If the shooter does roll the point again everybody who wagered on them wins with the "come" bet and if the shooter rolls a seven before the point number then everyone wagering against the shooter wins with the "don't come" bet.

Street Craps generally follows the same basic rules but you'll notice some significant variations which we'll take a look at below.

There are no tables, bankers or dealers

In the casino version of Craps the game is played on a distinctly marked table and the house banks the game. In the casino pit you will find four casino employees working at the table – the base dealers, boxman and stickman.

Street craps doesn't have tables or dealers and players are required to cover each other's bets to ensure that equal action can continue on both sides. This means that one person will cover the shooter by wagering against them and other players will bet on the shooter. The game can also take place in a variety of locations from the pavement to someone's kitchen or garage floor.

Basic Rules may be altered

In Casino Craps the house always has a small edge because they don't pay players if a twelve is rolled on the come out but instead refund "don't pass line" bettors their original wagers. In street dice, payers are often paid for wagers made on the don't pass line for a twelve.

For the sake of fairness, in some variations of the game the "come out" roll is made when the shooter wins with 7 or 11 while their opponents win with 2, 3 or 12. The shooter receives payouts of 1:2 on their bet while those who bet on the "don't pass" line get paid 2:1 to compensate for the lesser odds. If any number other than a 2, 3, 7, 11 or 12 are rolled a push is the result rather than a point.

Ultimately players make and enforce the rules as there are no dealers, stickmen or boxmen to ensure that the game runs smoothly and fairly, so the onus is on the players. This can lead to some pretty heated debates before a game but ultimately everyone needs to agree as to the rules if the dice get stuck somewhere or something bizarre happens during the roll which is very possible given the number of places that this game is played.

When it comes to Proposition Bets anything goes

In the game of craps offered by casinos, a variety of proposition bet options are offered to players. Due to the fact that there is no table to keep track of these types of bets in street craps, players often invent their own prop bets as they go. The general rule is that as long as another player accepts the bet and the payout stated along with it, it is played as a legitimate bet. Because street players are not always considering the statistics and fairness of these type of bets these can be dangerous to their bankrolls, but then again, casinos have a 16.67% house advantage on the proposition bets they offer making them the worst craps bets of all so there may really not be much difference after all.

As you can see, street and casino craps have some significant differences and both can be very exciting. If however you are of more of a refined nature but are too shy to play at real craps tables, try playing craps online instead. It really is a great game!