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!

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  • D-J Draper

    “First, the table minimum at Shoot to Win Craps is always $5.” I’ve seen it as low as $2 at Casino Royale and have seen $3 at Flamingo, Quad, Palms and elsewhere. Also, another good thing is that it pays true odds on every bet down to the penny. No need to bet a multiple of $6 for a 6 or 8 place bet, or an even numbered bet for odds on 5 or 9.

    • vitalvegas

      Good to know! Thanks for the additional information!

    • Adam Wishne

      The $3 machine at the Quad may seem like a good deal, but you have to bet $3 on every bet placed. The best machine I have come across is the $2 machine at New York, New York. You have to put $2 on the Pass but you can put $1 bets on everything else. It makes for some super cheap play (and some super small wins) but free drinks nonetheless

    • James Baker

      I found the same to be true… we played machines that allows $2, $3 and $5 minimums on the pass line this weekend in Vegas. Casino Royale is still the cheapest for this game as well as “real craps”.

      • Scott Roeben

        Agreed. Best gambling bargain on The Strip.

  • Scott Maryland

    Fun game. I like how the color of the machine will change from blue to red when someone gets on a red hot roll.

    • vitalvegas

      Didn’t notice that, thanks!

  • Brian Alletto

    I’ve tried hard to like this game, for all the reasons stated above, but I can’t get past the “it’s kind of boring” aspect of it. Maybe I need to drink more while playing. I’ve enjoyed the electronic roulette systems a bit more actually.

    I did enjoy Rapid Craps when Bill’s had it, but I couldn’t find it at the Quad last week.

    Minimums on some of the machines are a bit deceptive, eg) TI has a stated $1 minimum, but pass/don’t pass bets are actually $5. The machines @ NYNY, Red Rock, and Orleans true $1/$2 limits.

    • vitalvegas

      Agreed. A different experience each time based upon drunkenness and who else is playing at the time.

  • Matin Manijeh Bazargany

    I love the machines. Have won as much as. $4000 from $150 investment. But most casinos don’t give slot point credit that is bad. Played 6 hours at Plaza no points.

    • vitalvegas

      Good to hear a differing opinion, thanks.

    • Tim Seals

      caesars properties give tier credits albeit 1 for each $200 in, except at some smaller properties like cherokee where it is a fantastic 1 for $20..

  • Scott Goins

    Loved my one experience with it at Flamingo. I’m a novice craps player and would love play more. But the people around craps tables irritate the daylights out of me. This give me a bit of buffer from the irrational idiosyncrasies that seem prevalent around a lot of table games.

    • vitalvegas

      Finding the right mix of players at a table is key to enjoying playing. The same sore of applies to the people around Shoot to Win Craps, but you’re right, there’s a buffer.

      • Scott Goins

        The other thing is that as the shooter, I don’t feel like the eyes are on me since I’m not the one making the roll. The *machine* handles that, so it feels less like I’m on the spot.

        By the way, excellent work on this blog and thanks for doing it. πŸ™‚

        • vitalvegas

          They’re still on the person on the button! Thanks for the kind words about the site.

  • Sheryda Taylor

    M Taylor,

    Each terminal connected to the central unit is considered a slot machine for reporting purposes.

    Nevada requires that:
    β€œFor gaming devices that are representative of live gambling games, the mathematical
    probability of a symbol or other element appearing in a game outcome must be equal to the
    mathematical probability of that symbol or element occurring in the live gambling game.” NGC Reg 14.040

    The probabilities of the die outcome on the Shoot To Win Craps are the same as in a regular game of craps.

    Regards,

    Technology Division
    State Gaming Control Board
    750 Pilot Road, Suite I
    Las Vegas, Nevada 89119

    • Mike Smith

      Here in AZ there is a $35- max bet per roll, is it like that in LV? Also, the machine does not let me bet the pass line and the don’t pass at the same time here in AZ? Is that also in LV too?

  • Sheryda Taylor

    Now that we have laid to rest whether or not it is a fixed game, the two best aspects of the mechanical craps game vs. conventional craps, IMHO, is 1) you don’t have to worry about incorrect payoffs by the Dealer or the Dealer accidentally (or not) banking your bet when you’re not looking or giving it to someone else, and 2) the biggest advantage is not having to worry about the gangs of rail thieves steeling hundreds of $$$ if you’re a big money player like I am. Yes, a dirty little secret that Vegas casinos would rather sweep under the rug, but they are in every strip casino (mainly 4 or 5 star because they are looking for big players) and they are so good that they can steal from you without the cameras catching it (typically under the arm when you are reaching for a bet or throwing the dice) and you will never know you’ve been hit unless you track your money but then it’s too late. They are very patient and will sometimes wait for hours playing or standing next to you and they will look like your pastor or best friend.
    Also, I have logged thousands of hours on the “Shoot To Win” craps game and you might be interested in knowing it has a MAJOR flaw that might spell it’s demise and, in fact, already has in several casinos which have removed the game altogether. The vibrating table does not bounce the dice high enough thereby allowing the expert player to watch the top of the dice pushing the button at the opportune time which results in a predictive number showing more often than not which eliminates the casino edge. Yes, you heard me correctly, the dice CAN be manipulated on this game once one gets good enough unlike conventional craps. I have seen the professional big money players, who typically play in the morning as they want to be the shooter all the time, call out the number when they hit the button and it shows 6 or 7 times out of 10 times which all they need to make a lot of money. One of their favorite places to play is Cosmo because of the $5,000 limit.

    Interesting game and I hope Aruze eventually fixes it where the dice can’t be manipulated by the expert players because I want it to stay around for awhile because it is so much better than conventional craps. Until then, I like others, will continue to exploit the opportunities the game offers;)
    Thanks for your blog!

  • James Baker

    I was in Vegas this past weekend and must say I love this machine. I really like having a comfortable seat instead of being crammed onto a craps table. It’s also great having a low table limit which allows you to place a small pass line bet but a much larger odds bet. I believe the machines we played were 10x.

    I have to disagree with the author on a couple points. I didn’t find the “social aspect” to be less than a real craps table at all. We had plenty of cheering and giving props to a “hot shooter” at all the machines we played. I also believe the author is incorrect when he states “in Shoot to Win Craps, the game decides who shoots”. This is was not the case on any of the machines we played on. It rotates through the players just like a real table and the same person rolls until they “crap out”. That being said, if you do not have a bet placed on the table when it’s your roll, it will be passed to the next person – so you need to watch out for that.

    My wife was a “slot machine person” until I introduced her to this machine. Now she is a craps junkie. LOL It’s great for new players to learn the game.

    • Scott Roeben

      Thanks for your thoughts.

  • John Mletzko

    Great blog. A buddy on mine that got me into real craps kept bragging about how fun these shoot to win craps games can be. I would consider myself a die hard crap enthusiast with the amount of books and dice control practicing I have done. I have studied various methods and tried most of them out on real craps tables. One day he wanted me to meet him at a casino resort he was staying at and told me to try his shoot to win craps game for myself. He had to twist my arm as far as putting in a $20 bill of his own just to wet my beak. Well needless to say after a few $3 place bets here and there I started to work on some crap strategies. In about an hours time I had over $1100 built up. I ended the session positive $800 and gladly gave my buddy his $20 back and even took him and his wife to lunch. The key to this game is to start small and press often. Most basic crap strategies work better on the machine I feel, because even a skilled shooter on a real table has to deal with uncontrollable variances like other shooters bets and dealers slowing down the action. Not having to deal with dealers trying to figure out how I want to press my bets was a major plus for me.

    • Great to hear, and agreed. It may not be a traditional craps game, but I like being able to control the speed of my game and not feel pressured to bet every roll. At the machine, we’re the boss of us.

  • Paul

    Should you want to put any casino site game playing strategy to test, however without threat, then this is the best way to get in lots of practice, for by playing for free you could get hours of experience under your belt in relation to the game you are playing, and when you are great and also all set you can then switch to playing casino games for genuine money.

  • steve franklin

    I was torn, but ended up loving the machine. The fact that no casino (I’ve come across, please correct me if I’m wrong) allows you to use your member ship card at these machines encourages me that its the best deal in Vegas. I’ve only have negative experiences as a novice player at the table, I learned from playing with family in Vegas where we controlled the table, but anytime I try to play on my own, I’m either discouraged by a high roller or the table is so hot it’s too crowded to ever get in. On the Shoot to win machines, you can play at your own pace and I’ve found every time even better camradierie as we always had a hot shooter, and you ended up talking to all the people around you. The only thing I DEFINITELY agree with is the voice on the machine. It’s grating after about 5 minutes, and at the very least you’d think they’d at least change the content of what she was saying… but when you can sit and enjoy free drinks for 5, 3, or 2 dollar mininums, make a lot of friends (and most of the time money!) I absoltely love this machine and tell all of my slot junkie friends that they need to get a new hobby.

  • Hope Pettinger

    Does the cosmopolitan hotel have gambling? And if so does anyone know if they have the electronic craps. I LOVE it!

    • Yes, plenty of gambling, and more group machines lately, so they’re likely to have electronic craps.

      • Hope Pettinger

        Thanks Scott

  • Chimbok

    I don’t much care for how the “Basic Rules” instructions start out:
    Start by betting on the pass line.
    That’s one bet I never do. I need to know that it’s more flexible than that.

  • Barry Ray

    This game has a glitch. It’s happened to me at Hooters, Caesar’s Palace and Green Valley Ranch. If you play the don’t pass and place bets then the don’t pass loses, when the new pass is established it will wipe away some or all of your place bets. Both Caesar’s and GVR opened the game, ran back the roll and bet history and agreed I was right and paid me. They need to fix this.

  • Jason Brockman

    Had some time to kill on last day, played at Mandalay Bay. I loved this game, and I only play craps at tables. I did better than I had all weekend. It was fun, other players were into it, nobody knows if you play dont pass, and you dont feel like a jerk if you dont place a few wagers for the dealers. $3 min on pass line, double odds. Free drinks were flowing and there is no pressure to keep betting. This game is fun! I still like a table that is empty so I can set the dice and throw from my preferred spot, but on a busy and crowded weekend night I think I would rather play this!

  • Mark

    Great article, the only issue I have is that you said it randomly picks people to roll. I play this game every single day after I get off work. If you don’t put any money down on the pass or don’t pass you loose your turn. It goes clockwise. So you could lose your turn if you weren’t putting more money down after you hit your number. It won’t just pass the dice to someone else for no reason. Sorry for ranting, but check your facts next time. I have won $100 every night after I get off work late for the past 5 months. I’ll have to claim my winnings on my tax return now. I love the “Bubble Craps” machine. That’s what we call it now.

  • Jeff Jones

    Don’t play its a rip off