Craps – a Glossary of Terms

Like every other casino game, craps has its own slang that can sound gibberish to the untrained ear. Terms like ‘snake eyes’ can sound familiar, but others, like ‘ballerina special’ are strange to the uninitiated. Let’s see some of the strangest terms used in craps and their translation to everyday English.

Let’s start with ‘snake eyes’, probably the most well-known craps term. It means a roll of 2 points, consisting of a double one. It is also called ‘Aces’, though this term is also used for a bet placed on a double 1 being rolled next by the shooter. The above-mentioned ‘ballerina special’ means a roll of two 2s.

Saying ‘seven’ at the craps table means bad manners and is believed to bring bad luck. Instead, seven is called ‘Big Red’, or simply ‘Red’, as it’s written in big red type on the craps table. The same term is used for bets placed on 7.

The person that supervises the game of craps is called the ‘boxman’. He is some kind of a referee – he is the one to announce bets, inspect the dice and be aware of everything happening around the table. ‘Boxcars’ in turn does not refer to the vehicle driven by the boxman, but rather to a pair of sixes. By the way, the pair of sixes is also called ‘cornrows’ or ‘midnight’.

In craps, the dice are kept in a container called the ‘stick’. This is held by a person called the ‘stickman’, who offers the dice to roll with the shooter. Dice are sometimes called ‘bones’. After a few rounds of shooting, the dice become ‘crapped’ or ‘crooked’ – worn out, chipped, unsuitable for further play. After each round, the dice have to be inspected by the stickman, who can decide to replace them.

Rolling the dice is called ‘shooting’ in online craps, and the person rolling is the ‘shooter’. The shooter can roll several combinations of dice, both the ‘hard way’ – referring to a double, such as 3-3 or a ‘cornrows’, or the ‘easy way’, meaning combinations of two different point values on the dice.

Speaking of ways, there are ‘two-way’ bets in craps, meaning that a part of the bet is for the player and another part (usually smaller) for the dealer. The ‘three-way’, though, represents a bet placed on three numbers, namely 2, 3, or 12.

Craps – it’s not only the name of the game but also the name of a ‘come-out roll’ – the first roll of the round – with a value of 2, 3, or 12. Each of these numbers is called a ‘crap’.

Craps tables can be ‘dead’ – without players, or ‘hot’, with lots of action and winnings. Hot or dead, craps tables will always be located in the ‘pit’ – an area in the casino dedicated to craps. Players can stand around the table, ‘charting’ it – noting down the outcomes of the rolls on a piece of paper – and see if a table is hot or ‘cold’ – when the shooters don’t make their points.

There are several special terms used around the craps table, but the above are the basics – the rest you can pick up during play Good luck.

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