A Good Stickman Makes Casino Craps More Fun

A live casino craps table is typically manned by a crew of four people. The “boxman” sits at the center of the table by the casino’s chip stack. Her job is to control the game, ensure the dealers don’t make mistakes, and to protect the casino and players from cheats and thieves. Two dealers stand to the sides of the boxman. They collect bets when the casino wins and pay bets when the players win. They also position players’ chips for bets that are not self-service (i.e., players are not allowed to position their chips on the layout for certain bets, so the dealers do it for them). The “stickman” stands at the center of the table across from the boxman and calls the game. The stickman also retrieves and controls the dice after each throw.

A good stickman can add tons of fun to the game. If he’s good, he’ll use a big vocabulary of craps jargon to add humor and make the game more interesting. For example, if a die bounces off the table and lands in a player’s chip rack (i.e., the wooden shelf around the table perimeter where players hold their chips), the stickman is obligated to say, “No roll,” and then he retrieves the die for the boxman to inspect it. The stickman then pushes the dice with his stick to the shooter to roll again.

A good stickman adds lively banter to the game to make it more fun for the players. After all, the more fun the players have, the better mood they’ll be in, which increases the likelihood that the players will make more bets (good for the casino) and give the dealers more tips (good for the crew). To liven up the game, instead of boringly saying, “No roll,” a good stickman might say in a loud, rhythmic voice, “Die in the wood, roll no good,” or “I can’t read her, she’s in the cedar.” The game is much more fun when the stickman spouts all kinds of craps jargon and rhymes.

Over the years, dealers have dreamed up lots of cute slang for the results of a dice roll. The following are the ones I commonly hear when playing. I suspect that there are just as many that I haven’t heard. Listen for them the next time you play. The number 2 (i.e., a 1 on one die and a 1 on the other) is called “aces.” Aces are more commonly known as “snake eyes.” They are also called “eyeballs.”

The number 11 (i.e., a 6 on one die and a 5 on the other) is called a “yo,” which is short for “yo-leven” (with emphasis on the “yo”). The stickman says “yo-leven” to distinguish “eleven” from “seven” so the players don’t misunderstand the call.

The number 3 is an “Australian yo.” When a 3 shows (i.e., a 1 on one die and a 2 on the other), the opposite number (i.e., the number on the bottom of the dice) is 11, which is “down under.” On dice, 1 is opposite the 6, 2 is opposite the 5, and 3 is opposite the 4. So, when a 1-2 combination shows, the opposite side “down under” (i.e., the bottom of the dice) is 6-5.

The number 12 is called “boxcars” or “midnight.”

The combination 3-3 (i.e., a Hard 6) is sometimes called “Brooklyn Forest.”

The numbers 2, 3, and 12 are all called “craps.” Note that when a shooter establishes a point and then subsequently throws a 7, it’s called a “seven-out.” A seven-out is not a craps. Remember, a craps is the number 2, 3, or 12, so when the shooter rolls a 7, don’t show your inexperience by yelling in disappointment, “Oh, man, he crapped out.” The correct whine is, “Oh, man, he sevened-out.”

The number 8 is sometimes referred to as “Eighter from Decatur.”

The number 9 is sometimes referred to as “Jesse James” (he was shot with a.45, and the 4-5 dice combination is a 9). The number 9 is also called “Studio 54” when the dice combination 5-4 shows (the combination 5-4 is a 9).

The combination 4-4 (i.e., a Hard 4) is sometimes called “Little Joe.”

The combination 3-2 is sometimes called “OJ” (OJ’s jersey number was 32).

The combination 5-5 (i.e., a Hard 10) is called “lady’s delight.”

The combination 1-4 is occasionally called “One-eyed chicken in the weeds.” I don’t have a clue what that means, and neither did the dealer when I asked him. He said he learned it years earlier from another dealer and has since repeated it.

Hearing the stickman bark funny craps jargon makes the game more fun. It also gets the players to interact more, which usually adds to their enjoyment. Imagine the shooter rolling the dice and they show a 1-4 combination. Imagine the stickman blandly saying, “Five.” Now, instead, imagine the stickman shouting, “One-eyed chicken in the weeds!” The players laugh and begin asking each other, “What did he say?” Their questions then lead to more talking and interaction, which adds to everyone’s fun. The casino values a good stickman because happier customers are more likely to be repeat customers.

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If You’re Gambling, Do It Right – When You’re Well Enough Ahead, Take the Money and Run

If you want to become a responsible gambler, try to exercise some discipline when you’re winning so you can leave a winner. It takes self control but believe me, you’ll feel a lot better when your cash out ticket(s) and/or chips tally up to a larger sum than what you walked in with.

The late Frank Lefty Rosenthal, a sports handicapper whose real life character was portrayed by Robert DeNiro in the movie Casino, once said during an interview, “When you’re gambling, it’s not hard to win, it’s hard to quit.”

If you have a circle of friends who visit casinos, you probably heard these responses time and time again when you asked, “how did you make out at the casino?” And with some hesitation it’s usually, “Well, we did OK.” Or,” We’re about even.” And then there’s, “I had a good run in blackjack but I lost it all on the slots”. Sometimes you’ll hear, “My husband won a little but I lost a lot.” Then there’s the best one all, “Hey, what the heck, we didn’t expect to win, we were just out for a good time.”

Just because your entertainment dollars are part of your disposable income doesn’t mean that you have to dispose of it so quickly at the casino. Sure you’re going to lose occasionally, but there are times when you’re going to win.

We’ve all seen casino advertisements that brag about their loose machines and generous odds. They boast about paying millions in winnings to players.That may be true but that does not mean that all those winnings ever left the casino.

Here are a few tips for you when it may be time to ponder, should I Take the Money and Run?

Before Playing

  • Keep your gambling dollars separate from your other money.
  • Set a win goal and a loss limit such as:
  1. Win Goal – When your session buy-in amount is doubled
  2. Loss Limit – When your session buy-in amount is lost

When Playing

When your in the casino and ready to play, think about trying the following with your budget:

YOUR MACHINE BUDGET – Consider dividing it into separate sessions. For example, if you’re playing three credit quarter slots with a $100 budget, break it up into five $20 deposits instead of putting the entire hundred into the machine. If you hit a payout or payouts that double deposit amount, ($40) Cash out the ticket right away. Take a little break before you continue gaming.You’ll feel good with that extra $20 in your pocket or purse when you’re not playing.

YOUR TABLE BUDGET – Consider buying in for at least 20 times the table minimum for each session. For example, buy-in for $200 at a $10 minimum blackjack table. The same applies when playing other card games, roulette, or craps. While playing, try separating the chips that you won from the buy-in chips. Only bet with the original units. If you’re having a decent run and the winning stack is at least double the buy-in, tip your friendly dealer and say goodnight. If you lose the $200, just say bye bye!

Remember, the house edge always belongs to the casino over the long term. When there’s an opportunity to pick up winnings in the short run, take advantage of it. Remember, responsible gambling money management is to Take the Money and Run! Good Luck!

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