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Las Vegas Strip
Las Vegas Strip

Craps in Las Vegas

Las Vegas is the last great craps playgrounds in the world. In the 1940’s and 1950’s, as newly-taught craps players came back from wars across the world, they longed for the game they had just learned and filled the legal casinos of Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada, and the illegal casinos of places like Steubenville, Ohio; Cicero, Illinois; and Hot Springs, Arkansas.

By the mid-1950’s, most states had outlawed casino-style games, but Nevada held out as the last place to make a safe and secure wager at craps. It stayed that way until the late 1970’s when Atlantic City legalized gaming and many other states have since brought casinos to the masses, but Las Vegas is still special. While Reno was the big cheese in the early days, today, the Las Vegas strip brings in ten-times the revenue of its sister city, and there are more craps tables in the city of Las Vegas (320) than are found in any other single state!

The Choice is All Yours

Fortunately, with so many craps games to choose from, every player can find a game they like in Las Vegas. It doesn’t matter whether you want to make a $10,000 pass-line bet, or just bet a buck on eleven, there’s something for everyone. You can also find beginner’s games, where the dealers are happy to teach you how to play, and experienced games where the dealers are so sharp they’ll know what you want almost before you do!

The prevailing rate of lower limit games in Las Vegas is $5 to $500. Most of those games are found off the Strip or Downtown. Major Strip casinos are more likely to have limits starting at $15 during slow periods and $25 when the crowds increase. Minimum $5 hardway wagers and horn bets may still be found on some games, but even those wagers are likely to require a minimum matching the table limit.

Downtown Casinos

The casinos of Downtown Las Vegas were the first to open in the city 75-years ago and had expansive limits, from 10-cents to as high as the player wanted. In the 1980’s, several casinos like the El Cortez, Pioneer, and Las Vegas Club still offered 25-cent craps, and Binion’s Horseshoe offered a $1 game, but the club became famous for allowing a player to bet $777,777 on a single don’t-pass line bet, which he won. Two months later he returned to make a $1 million bet. He wasn’t as lucky that time!

Today, Binion’s and several other Downtown casinos offer $3 minimum wager craps, and if you want a different game, ten other casinos are within walking distance. Many of the dealers in the Downtown corridor are new to the industry, taking the first job they could get, but others grew into fine dealers and stayed-on at their casino. Players run the gamut of college-age gamers more interested in drinking and partying than anything else, to down-on-their luck players looking for the cheapest games in town.

In addition, many hardcore system players and small-bankroll craps players who insist they are professional gamblers can be found at the tables. This makes for the proverbial “crap shoots,” where the dealers work long, hard hours taking care of drunk, inexperienced players and grumpy grinders.

Outlying Casinos

Las Vegas has grown substantially over the years. Twenty-five years ago the only casinos off the strip were local joints like Boulder Station and the Bingo Palace. Now, Station Casinos (Sunset Station, Palace Station etc.) and Boyd Casinos have more than a dozen outlying casinos that do cater to locals, but also have large hotels that bring-in plenty of tourists.

For the most part, craps games are relaxed affairs with $5 or $10 minimum wagers and the occasional $3 game. Dealers are more likely to have been employed at the same casino for years, know the game, and can handle pretty good action when the crowd heats up. They’ll know what you mean when you ask for $52 across, and will have the bets up and the dice in action before you even know what happened.

The players are more likely to be friendly in the outlying casinos for two reasons: proximity to other casinos, and the large hotels. Since the hotels are of good size (200 rooms is small), they accommodate plenty of visitors. And, you can’t walk to another casino; you’ll have to drive, which keeps players in line because they don’t want to leave, get in their car, and find another property to play at.

A few of the resorts like the Palms and the Rio are quite large (the Rio has 2,500 rooms) and have slightly higher-table limits. Strangely enough they may not have as much action at the games as some of the other clubs, but you can expect $10 minimum games with an upper limit of $5,000, $10,000 on the weekend.

Las Vegas Strip Casinos

Arguably the most famous casino of all, Caesars Palace, has more than a dozen craps games, but you’ll find different limits in different areas of the casino which is 166,000 square feet. Minimum wager on some games is $15, but there are also $25 and even $100 minimum games. No matter how busy the games gets, or how jammed the place bets and buy bets become, the dealers can handle the action. Most have worked as several other properties before making the “big time,” at a club like Caesars or the Bellagio.

Games in these clubs always have a boxman working, watching the prop bets and issuing markers for players. Some craps tables have a dual-box, so players using chips as high as $25,000 for their wagers can be catered to. The games aren’t for the faint-hearted or the faint-bankrolled. And you won’t want to talk to a shooter who has $250,000 in action on the layout!

For the less-moneyed crowd, many of the smaller casinos on the Strip like the Flamingo, Bally’s etc. still have moderate limit games like $5 to $3,000, and you can make a $5 bet on eleven, or a $5 pass line wager and take odds.

Taking Odds

For years casinos in Las Vegas competed with each other and tried to get an edge in player support by offering sensational odds on pass and don’t pass wagers. Some clubs went as high as 100x odds, and a few still offer 10x odds, but as corporate ownership expanded and casinos fell into larger groups, the odds became more standard. You can expect to find 3x-4x-5x odds on most games in town now, which means you always win 7x your pass-line or come-bet wager! How does that work? With a $10 line or come wager, you take these odds:

Point of 4 and 10 – take 3x odds of $30 which pays 2 to 1 or $60, so your total payout including the $10 line bet is $70 or 7x your line bet

Point of 5 and 9 – take 4x odds of $40 which pays 3 to 2 or $60, so your total payout including the $10 line bet is $70 or 7x your line bet

Point of 6 and 8 – take 5x odds of $50 which pays 6 to 5 or $60, so your total payout including the $10 line bet is $70 or 7x your line bet

The simplified odds make the game easier for both the dealer and the player, which speeds up the game, which makes the casino bosses happy.

Comps

Unlike casinos in most countries, the games in Las Vegas all offer freebies in the way of complementary rebates on player action. Large Strip properties may offer as much as a 10% comp on wagers lost, but the standard return is closer to 10% per hourly average wager. That means if you play craps and have $100 in action most of the time (say a $10 line wager, $40 odds, $30 in place bets, $20 in hard-ways) you’ll accumulate up to $10 per hour in comps.

Those comps can be used to pay for your room, meals, or other amenities. While your hourly payback may be smaller at some casinos, remember that the overall cost at outlying and Downtown casinos is also smaller. That means if you accumulate $100 in comps, that’ll pay for only a portion of your room or perhaps a single meal at the Bellagio, but at a club Downtown like the Four Queens, it might pay for your entire nightly room cost and part of a meal too!

Las Vegas offers more choices for craps players than any place in the world! Take advantage when you are in town.

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