Setting Craps Dice

For novice players, craps can seem rather overwhelming and chock full of information that needs to be memorized in order to achieve any success. Often the portion of craps that appears to be the easiest is rolling the dice. However, it turns out, as any experienced craps table will tell you, that setting and rolling the dice is one of the hardest parts of the game and may in fact be one of the hardest variables in any casino table game to master. The rules and table layout of a craps game can ultimately be understood but achieving proper control of the dice takes concentration, time and practice.

Concept Behind Controlled Dice

To most, being able to control the thrown dice may seem rather unusual. A professional craps table uses a back board and a felt surface that are designed to help produce random rolls. While these factors cannot be eliminated, a player can manipulate the way that the dice are thrown in order to compensate for other random factors and ultimately produce a more consistent controlled roll. This is accomplished by controlling the grip on the dice when holding them, the set of the dice and the axis. Manipulating these factors can allow a player to reduce the chances of the two dice landing with the seven or increase the chances, depending on the circumstance. Creating a solid throwing pattern may even result in successful hot streaks.

Craps Dice Grips

The first and foremost part of setting craps dice is using an appropriate grip. The reasoning behind this is to control the pressure placed on the dice by the fingers and to manipulate the spin. Go to several running craps games and you will find multiple grip techniques.

The most common are the 2 and 3 finger pincer grips. This involves using the thumb, forefinger and or the middle finger to grip the set of dice only on its ends. The pressure placed on the dice ends by your finger and thumb should be relatively equal, providing you with a reasonable opportunity to put both die into a flight pattern that is equal to each other.

Other grip techniques are also common such as the 3 finger front grip, the 2 finger front grip holding the edges of the dice, the 5 finger grip and even the stacked grip where one dice is resting on top of the other. Experienced players and instructors also note that regardless of what grip you use, the pressure placed on the dice should be equal and minimal. This allows the throw to be more of a lightweight toss where it feels as if only a block of dice is being thrown, not two separate dice.

Setting Craps Dice

Setting is the method of arranging the dice beforehand so that a specific number is facing you for when you perform the throw. This allows a player to stack a number combination to help achieve a certain outcome. Combinations are usually distinguished by the numbers that are on top of the dice and the numbers on the side that is facing you.

An example of this is the 5, 2 and 4, 3 combination. This means that one dice has a 5 on top and a 4 facing you, while the other die has a 2 on top and a 3 facing you. Adding the top sides of both dice gets you 7, and adding the facing sides on both dice gets you 7 as well.

One of the most popular sets used is the V set. This involves placing the 3s on the top side of both dice. The aesthetic result is a easy to remember V shape. This set is popular as it has no combinations of 7 on any of its surfaces. The top surface gives you a hard six and the facing surface gives you a standard six. Using these kinds of sets successfully at the appropriate time while understanding dice odds allows players to minimize the house advantage. The house advantage of any table craps game is 1.41%, which allows a player to overturn this advantage by simply throwing one or two controlled throws out of nearly 100 opportunities.

Craps Dice – Axis

The axis refers to the orientation of the dice relative to the craps table and the player. This takes into account the vertical axis, the back rail axis of the table and the side rail axis of the table. The true important of the axis is in creating dice spin. Experienced craps players will manipulate the dice to rotate only on their left to right axis. This is to create an equal backspin on both die. The goal of this is to force the dice to hit the back board at the same in and in the same orientation which helps increase the chance of the final numbers being a certain desired combination that was set before throwing.

Other Considerations for Setting Craps Dice

For novice players, it’s important to remember that handling the dice can only be done by one hand and that casinos look down upon players who deliberately take extra time to align a certain desirable set.

While anyone can more or less get lucky on the occasional throw, it takes a lot of practice to be able to produce a controlled throw and even more practice to create a reproducible successful pattern. Other factors that come into play include throwing mechanics relate to what body part is being used to create the force, throwing stance, speed of the throw, height of the throw and various psychological factors. These all come into play when practicing and must be accounted for, while others such as certain psychological factors can only be replicated and managed by practicing in a real casino setting.

However, taking the time to not only learn how to play craps and understanding the odds but also practicing controlled dice techniques and tracking them can result in a thrilling and addicting hobby. As aforementioned, with the player disadvantage only at 1.41%, even a controlled throw that only happens to work once out of 43 times will still noticeably level the playing field.