Craps is one of the most upbeat, high-octane entertainments you can get in a casino. This is in part because it is a community activity, and in part, because it essentially a lightweight miniature sports betting ring. Most people chipping in on it will be friends hanging out. But if you want to win money out of it, that is a whole different ballpark. How do you win in craps? Just have good odds. But you cannot improve your odds by passive betting. The best shot you get is not by being a cheerleader, but by taking charge. So opt to throw the dice, know how to control it, and you have good chances of winning. Here are a few tips to help you get better at it.
Let us first address the biggest question about controlled dice rolling for a newcomer: is it legal? The short answer is yes. The long answer is that most casinos will allow it. Theoretically, you are not cheating by any means. That said, if you were to have luck on your side and went on a winning streak, it is always better to disguise your dice control. Now for the technique of dice control:
- Keep your palms dry. Like most adrenaline-inducing things, gambling is often a tense affair. It is only human to get anxious when your stakes get higher. If you perspire as a result, though, it will be detrimental to your dice grip and control. Clammy fingers stick to the die. To begin with, it is advisable not to let your anxiety take over. If you sweat, keep a handkerchief, or simply wipe your fingers on your shirt before you throw the dice. The casino will not mind.
- Experiment with what spot works for you. Most guides recommend an area close to the back wall. But different people have different preferences, and the top priority is finding what you are comfortable with. If you want a longer throw arc, choose your spot accordingly.
- Set the die in accordance with your throw. Most experts suggest keeping them with 4s on top. In fact, dice-setting itself is a vast subject. But without going into too many details, 4s on top generally works good from the inner hub area, but with longer throws (i.e. from the head of the table) you may find better luck with 6s on top. Again, experiment with what works best for you, since you will have your own preferred position on the table.
- Try out different techniques. They will have different recommended dice-setting and grips. Different grips work better for different circumstances, so good dice control means being flexible. For example, a very popular grip technique for the come-out roll is the blanket roll. This grip is beginner-friendly because it is easier to learn compared to most. In this, you grip the dice in a V-shaped form, with all 3s facing up.
- Mastering different grips are only half the battle. The rest is, of course, the release. There are entire books dedicated to the do’s and dont’s of the actual ‘throwing the dice’ part. But in general, the core idea is a soft release. When playing casually, you may not have worried about this nitty-gritty. Casual players may embrace the chaos and throw the die willy-nilly, but you want the opposite. Optimally, you want the dice to stay together as much as possible. So the two rules of thumb are as follows. Firstly, throw the dice as delicately as possible, as even a moderate force will increase the randomness of rolls. Secondly, do not send your dice on an upward swing. Keep the trajectory as straightforward and linear as possible.
Craps, in the spirit of casino games, is a game of luck. Dice control is all about fastening the luck to a less random range. But the way you execute it is more hands-on than complex mathematics. Dice control is a purely physical skill. And therefore, like all physical skills, repetition, and practice makes perfect. So pick a table position that is convenient for you, consistently play from there, and master your grips.
Ultimately, you must note this: dice control itself is a controversial topic in craps. Many pro gamblers vouch for their dice controlling ability, but many pundits also have their doubts. One can even say that the minor upper hand gained by dice control still cannot upset the house advantage. But on the other hand, a small positive factor is still a positive factor. Every little extra goodie helps in a game of odds. On that note, good luck!