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Best of Walter Thomason

Gaming Guru

 

What's Wrong with Craps? The Terminology!

24 July 1999

I'd like to meet the public relations director or marketing executive who decided how the casino game of craps should be promoted. I'd then like to tell him what a lousy job he did!

This game, which is easy to learn, fun and exciting to play, and carries a very small house "edge" if bet properly, has been overlooked by most casino gamblers because of the terminology used to describe the game, the gamblers, and the betting options available. Most of the words used to describe the players and the betting options are negative, scary, suggestive, and occasionally disgusting, and leave us potential gamblers with a serious sense of dread!

For instance, let's look at the name of the game. It's called "dice" or "craps." The word "dice," in culinary terms, means "to chop into very small portions." "Die" is the word used to describe one of the two dice used in the game. Makes you want to play, doesn't it? "Crap," or "craps," is an anatomical term which refers to the "excretion of waste products from a living organism." Does this sound like a game that you would enjoy playing?

It gets worse. Let's look at some of the words used in this game -- Not the true definition of the words as applied to the game, but the common uses of the words as I (and most people) see them:


Boxcars
Trains that vagrants use to illegally transport themselves from one town to another.

Buy Bets
Why do you have to buy anything to make a bet?

Come Box
Don't like the sound of this.

Come-out Roll
Sounds like something I did when I was 17 years old, in the back seat of a '56 Ford, in order to protect the virtue of my date! (Sounds disgusting now, but was the appropriate move at the time.)

Crapping Out
Stomach disorder? Diarrhea?

Don't Come
Same as #4. Just as frustrating.

Odds
Nobody wants to be odd. Even if you are odd (like me.) Also, True Odds: Someone that is truly odd!

Point
Something sharp that might hurt you, like a knife.

Snake eyes
The two things that you see before the fangs enter your skin, like at summer camp when you were in your tent and....

Shooter
The guy that killed 14 people from the bell tower in the public park in 1986, or whenever.

Big Red
The pimples that I used to get on my face when I was a teenager.

Hard Six or Eight
Why bet it if it's hard!

Horn
Something that bulls use to gore matadors.

High Horn
The perfect horn -- between the knees and the abdomen!

C & E
Sounds like S & M, or some kind of sexual deviation.

"Rattle Them Bones"
What happens when you're robbing a grave and the casket accidentally tips over.

See what I mean? Most of the terms used in this game aren't encouraging or positive in nature!

I'd change the names if I was a casino manager. First, I'd call it "Roll'um!" The dice would be called "cubes," the Pass Line bet would stay the same, (nothing bad about a pass -- football quarterbacks do this and win games in the last few seconds) but the come bet would be called a "new pass," the "point" would be the "win number," taking "odds" would be called "taking advantage," ("Do you wish to take the "advantage bet, Sir?"). Any bets on the hard ways would be called "pair bets" (nothing negative about two of a kind)... You understand what I'm saying. Make every word used at the Roll'um Table be positive in nature! Let someone other than die-hard craps players stand at the table and feel good about the game!

Now, on to the casino game of blackjack -- my favorite game. Except that one of the definitions of the word "blackjack" is "a small leather-covered bludgeon with a short flexible shaft or strap, used as a hand weapon." In truth, I've never sat down at a blackjack table without having one of these weapons in my back pocket... Makes sense, doesn't it?

Good luck at the tables, whatever your game...

Walter Thomason
Walter Thomason is the best-selling author of Blackjack for the Clueless and the editor of The Experts’ Guide to Casino Games and The Ultimate Blackjack Book.

A long-time casino gaming enthusiast, he is a frequent contributor to
The New Chance and Circumstance, Midwest Gaming & Travel, and Heartland Casino News.

His new book is
21st Century Blackjack: A New Strategy for a New Millenium. He can be reached
at PO Box 550068, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33355.

Books by Walter Thomason:

> More Books By Walter Thomason

Walter Thomason
Walter Thomason is the best-selling author of Blackjack for the Clueless and the editor of The Experts’ Guide to Casino Games and The Ultimate Blackjack Book.

A long-time casino gaming enthusiast, he is a frequent contributor to
The New Chance and Circumstance, Midwest Gaming & Travel, and Heartland Casino News.

His new book is
21st Century Blackjack: A New Strategy for a New Millenium. He can be reached
at PO Box 550068, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33355.

Books by Walter Thomason:

> More Books By Walter Thomason