Category Archives: Craps

Ten Movies Featuring Craps, In Honor of National Dice Day

December 4 is National Dice Day, and as a Las Vegas blog we would be embarrassingly remiss if we didn’t acknowledge this most auspicious of quasi-holidays. Happy National Dice Day!

Red dice

The spots on dice are called “pips.”

What, you thought that was the whole thing? Of course not. Here are 10 movies where dice were involved, specifically in the form of craps, one of the most boisterous, exciting games in any Las Vegas casino.

1. Indecent Proposal

Woody Harrelson never had a prayer.

2. Diamonds Are Forever

James Bond always had a fondness for the ladies and dice. But mostly that first thing.

3. Guys and Dolls

Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra star in this 1955 film, and inexplicably, it’s Brando that sings “Luck Be a Lady” during a craps session.

4. Harlem Nights

The f-bomb gets dropped a lot in this little gem. We forgive it because, you know, craps.

5. The Cooler

One of our favorite craps movies. We once played craps with the writer of “The Cooler” at Primm Valley Resort & Casino. Random factor: Infinite.

6. Hard Eight

More f-bombs. Don’t worry, you never hear them at a real craps table, ever. Ahem.

7. Walking Tall

Let’s just say Buford Pusser isn’t one to suffer dice cheats lightly.

8. Ocean’s 13

“Oceans 13” could totally happen. Especially the dice part. Because casino pit bosses never notice magnets or dice that have been tampered with and stuff.

9. The Big Town

A classic for lovers of craps, starring Matt Dillion as a kid from a small town who discovers he’s got a talent for shooting craps. What could possibly go wrong?

10. Casino

It’s the crème de la crème of casino movies, and not just because it’s named “Casino.” “Casino” has maybe the most famous of movie craps scenes, as Sharon Stone’s character stirs up some drama just to make Robert De Niro’s character fall in love with her. Or something.

Here’s a bonus National Dice Day trivia item: The man playing the high roller in that scene with Sharon Stone is Ali Pirouzkar (pictured below). He’s quite a character, and can often be seen roaming Caesars Palace and The Forum Shops. You can’t miss him, and he loves being asked for his autograph.

Ali Pirouzkar

Ali Pirouzkar is as Vegas as dice, baby.

Why Craps Players Love Downtown’s Fremont Casino

Craps is one of the most exciting games in any Las Vegas casino, and craps devotees have a special place in their heart for the Fremont Hotel & Casino, downtown.

That’s because the Fremont Casino has the only live craps games in Las Vegas that keep a running count of your dice rolls on a digital display. (We say live craps games for a reason.)

A woman named Patricia Demauro once rolled 154 times at the Borgata casino in Atlantic City. She rolled a record-setting four hours and 18 minutes.

A woman named Patricia Demauro once rolled 154 times at the Borgata casino in Atlantic City. She rolled a record-setting four hours and 18 minutes.

Read more about the longest craps roll in history.

This counter makes it easy to know how your roll is going, although a growing or diminishing number of chips is also a good way to keep track. Ahem.

The Fremont gives back some love to its craps players, too. The casino has a Sharpshooter Club for players who reach 25 rolls or more.

Craps is great because you don't have to be a great shooter yourself. You just have to be there with someone else who is.

Craps is great because you don’t have to be a great shooter yourself. You just have to be at the table with someone who is.

Players who qualify for the Sharpshooter Club at Fremont Casino get their photo framed and placed on the wall of the casino and win prizes like loyalty club points, merchandise and other goodies.

We love the craps roll counters at Fremont Casino, and while we haven’t made it into the Sharpshooter Club yet, we hope to change that soon.

Small, Tall, Nothing at All: New-To-Us Craps Side Bets

Craps has been around a long time, but casinos are still coming up with new ways to keep things interesting. (Translation: To get our clams. Cheddar. Cabbage. You know what we mean.)

In craps, those new things come in the form of side, or “proposition,” bets. The popular “Fire Bet” is a good example. During a recent craps session at Excalibur, we encountered three new bets to spice up the game.

From what we hear, these bets have only been in Vegas for about six months.

These side bets are new to us!

These side bets are new to us!

These craps side bets can be found in the middle of the table, in front of the pit boss. The pit boss is the floor manager in a suit who oversees the table and dealers, and who resolves disputes and tells the security guys when it’s time to whack a cheater. Just kidding. Player are rarely whacked. Putting heads in vices is more of a thing these days.

Anyway, the pit boss is the person who places and monitors these side bets. They’re called “All Small,” “All Tall” and “All or Nothing at All.”

These side bets can be made for as little as a dollar. The pit boss also keeps track of the numbers as they hit, placing little “buttons” on the relevant numbers.

First, “All Small.” To win this bet, the shooter must hit five small numbers (2,3,4,5,6) before a seven. The bet pays 35-for-1, so the house has an edge of 7.76%.

See, because it rhymes.

See, because it rhymes.

The house edge is the same for “All Tall.” Again, five numbers have to be hit before a seven (8,9,10,11,12). The order in which they’re rolled doesn’t matter, of course.

Spread the love around: A buck for the dealers, a dollar for the cocktail waitress, and a dollar for this sucker bet.

Spread the love around: A buck for the dealers, a buck for the cocktail waitress and a buck for this sucker bet.

“All or Nothing at All” pays 176-for-1, mainly because mathematicians are the real bosses of casinos, and they always know what to pay to ensure the house gets its cut. In this case, the house edge is 7.99%. A shooter has to hit a mere 10 numbers before a seven (2,3,4,5,6,8,9,10,11,12).

The Excalibur pit boss said a customer bet $50 here on Oct. 22, 2013, walking away with $8,800.

The Excalibur pit boss said a customer bet $50 here on Oct. 22, 2013, walking away with $8,800.

In the grand scheme of casinos, these craps side bets aren’t great for the player, but they aren’t horrible, either. By comparison, one of our favorite side bets, the hard six and eight, pay 9-1, with a house edge of 9.09%. The house edge for a hard four and 10 is 11.11%. They’re called “hard ways” because, hey, cocktail waitresses.

Betting the Big Red Seven has a hefty 16.67% house edge.

We’re all for trying a “sucker” side bet every once in awhile to change things up at the craps table. Because, ultimately, it’s only a sucker bet if it doesn’t pay off!

A Casino Game We’re Loving Right Now: Shoot to Win Craps

If you spend any amount of time in casinos, you’ve no doubt seen a Shoot to Win Craps machine. The over-sized, bouncing dice create quite the spectacle. The game is also known, informally, as “craps bubble” machines.

We love traditional craps, at a craps table, with the chips and the cussing and the dice you can fondle, so we spent months just walking right by the Shoot to Win Craps game. Until recently, when we sat down and played, and we loved it right from the start.

Typically, eight players are seated around the game. At least one of them is drunk, if we're playing.

Typically, eight players are seated around the game. At least one of them is drunk, if we’re playing.

Craps can be intimidating. While craps tables are often the most boisterous parts of a casino, the jargon and fast pace of the game can be a little off-putting. The table layout and bets can take some time to learn, so many just watch and move on to game they’re more comfortable with.

Shoot to Win Craps makes craps accessible to everyone, and even provides a lot of benefits more experienced players will appreciate.

Big dice means big wins. Actual results may vary.

Big dice means big wins. Actual results may vary. It’s gambling.

First, the table minimum at Shoot to Win Craps is $5, and possibly less. At a real craps table, minimums can be much more, especially on the Las Vegas Strip.

There’s still a learning curve with Shoot to Win Craps, but the game provides convenient information about both the basics of craps and how betting works on the Shoot to Win Craps game. You can read up on the game before you ever bet a penny.

Shoot to Win Craps makes it easy to learn craps basics.

Shoot to Win Craps makes it easy to learn craps basics. Yes, it involves reading. You’ll survive.

Once you’re ready to dive in, you’ll see a layout that has all the features of a real craps table.

Let’s talk upside and downside with Shoot to Win Craps.

Upside first: Your bets are always paid off flawlessly, no dealer error, ever. You can play your own game, so nobody’s giving you nasty looks if you bet against the shooter or the table (called “don’t” betting). You can call off, or cancel, all your bets at any time without screwing with the mojo of the table. (Some bets, like a Pass Line bet, can’t be cancelled, but most can be taken down in an instant if you “get a call from upstairs.”)

Other benefits of an electronic game include a roll history, much like that on displays at roulette tables. Some gamblers love that function, although dice have no memory, and past rolls have no effect on future rolls.

At a real craps table, it's tough to keep track of past rolls if you're not the "Rain Man."

At a real craps table, it’s tough to keep track of past rolls if you’re not the “Rain Man.”

The machine also keeps track of how many rolls a shooter has had in a row. There’s only one casino in Vegas that does that at a real table, the Fremont, downtown.

It’s a huge benefit to be able to play at your own pace. Lots of craps players are up at certain times, but continue to bet on every shooter, even if the table gets cold. Eventually, they give their winnings back to the house.

With Shoot to Win Craps, you can pull down all your bets and just sit there, sipping on your free strawberry daiquiri, until you feel like betting again. This simple part of the game has allowed us to walk away a winner every time we’ve played to-date.

The "all off" button means your bets aren't "working," the "All Cancel" pulls them down.

The “all off” button means your bets aren’t “working,” the “All Cancel” pulls them down.

Now, some negatives of the game.

There are no chips and you don’t get to touch the dice. Fanatical craps players will miss that aspect of the game.

The pace of Shoot to Win Craps is fairly quick, so you don’t have a ton of time to waffle about your bets. Each roll is timed, and that “No More Bets” message can sneak up on you.

No dirty fingers or surly dealers here.

Still, there are no dirty fingers, surly dealers or impatient players here.

In Shoot to Win Craps, each player around the game gets to “shoot.” Shooting involves pushing a big red button. In a real game, a shooter keeps the dice until they “seven out.” But in Shoot to Win Craps, the game decide who shoots, and when. During one of our sessions, a shooter was on a tear, and the game decided someone else was going to shoot. Seasoned players won’t like that too much. If a shooter is lucky, you want that shooter to keep shooting until your virtual chip tray is full!

A minor point, but in Shoot to Win Craps, a 12 on the field pays double. We hate that, although it’s pretty common in real games on The Strip.

Also, the woman’s voice that calls the numbers and prompts players to “Push the button!” can get a little repetitive and grating at times. Surmountable.

It should be mentioned such machines do replace actual human dealers, so depending upon your sensibilities in that realm, you might consider that a downside. We’re thinking this game appeals to players who might not otherwise play craps, so nobody’s losing their job because a Shoot to Win Craps machine has been installed.

One of the biggest potential downsides to Shoot to Win Craps is the social factor. Players don’t seem to bond like they do at a real craps table. That camaraderie is a big part of the appeal of craps for many people. Then again, if you make it a party, it can be a party no matter what game you’re playing.

There's a lot going on, but if you stick to your basic bets, it should be a breeze.

There’s a lot of fairly useless razzle-dazzle going on, but if you stick to your basic bets, it should be a breeze.

We love this game because it’s a good value, you decide if and when you’ll bet (no peer pressure), and because those big dice are real and not digital, there’s a feeling you can have a monster roll and whoop the house. We heard from several of our fellow players who claimed to have done just that.

Give it a try, already.

Give it a try, already.

During our play, we heard rumblings from players about the Shoot to Win Craps dice being “rigged,” possibly with magnets. They’re not rigged! The dice rolls are completely random. The casino, and the machine, don’t need to rig the dice, because the odds are stacked against you already. Even winning bets have a little house edge built into them.

Craps has some of the best odds in the casino, though! Just make sure to learn the game, because craps has some awful bets, too.

Have you tried Shoot to Win Craps, also called a “craps bubble” machine? We’d love to hear your thoughts, and good luck!