©2004 Martin Ouellet

If you saw my post about going to Tunica, you may have seen I was hoping to learn a bit about some of the table games.  I got lucky that the fun folks at Isle of Capri in Lula saw this and helped me out (BTW, it is an interesting story how this happened but I’m going to save that for another blog).

While I was at the Isle of Capri casino, I played a bit of Marco Polo via twitter with Baxter Lee and Oney Cross who work at the casino (this is a fun game if you don’t know what the other person looks like 😉 ).  Luckily we were playing at the rather visible Top Dollar slots so Baxter and Oney didn’t have too much trouble.

Now if you have been to a casino, you have likely seen the folks around the tables having a pretty good time.  However, if you have not played before it can be a bit intimidating. Baxter, having no sympathy for my fear whatsoever, had me jump right into craps 😦

You don’t have to learn all the rules of craps to get started. There is a good web page here that is a good starting point.

Or, if you like something a bit more interactive, here’s a couple videos.

For me, the bigger concern was not the rules but the etiquette and this is where the folks at IOC really helped out. First of all, Baxter got me some comp chips so my silly mistakes didn’t drain my pockets.  Then he took me to one of the tables and introduced me to the folks running the table.  This was early on a Monday so it was a good time for an amateur like me to ask a lot of silly questions.

First of all you have to get chips.  What you do is walk up to the table and check the marker (a big black and white hockey puck). If its white, you have to wait a bit until the next round. Once they flip it to black, you are ready to get your chips.

Now the casino folks can’t take your money directly so you just throw it down on the table and they lay your chips on the table.  It’s usably about $5 a chip so $40 or so is good place to start.

The game does not change if you are rolling the dice or not. However, if you are rolling, here are some good ideas. First they will give you a choice of 5 dice. Just pick two. When you role, keep the dice low and pitch them to the other side of the table. I did a few unfortunate lobs that caused them to fly off the table.  It this happens, it’s not a big deal.   One of the people from the casino will check the dice for any marks.  You can say “same dice” and they will give you the same dice back or you can pick new ones.

Speaking of dice here are two more important points.  First, keep them over the table. If you bring them out of the table area, they will have to look at them.  It’s not a big deal but everyone will know you are a noobie.

Second, don’t shake or roll the dice together in your hand (I have a bad habit of playing with them).  In theory, this could scratch the dice and offset the balance. Yeah, we all know it won’t make a big difference but the casino will need to get the dice from you to check them anyway.

What I didn’t tell you is that some of the folks running the craps table at Isle of Capri can be VERY entertaining.  These people are not just taking your money and pushing the dice to you.  There is a real talent to this job and having a good sense of humor makes them a real draw (at least to customers like me).  So definitely take the time to learn this game. It’s a lot more than simple gambling.

P.S.  And if you go to Isle of Capri, tell them I said thanks!

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