A live casino craps table is typically manned by a crew of four people. The “boxman” sits at the center of the table by the casino’s chip stack. Her job is to control the game, ensure the dealers don’t make mistakes, and to protect the casino and players from cheats and thieves. Two dealers stand to the sides of the boxman. They collect bets when the casino wins and pay bets when the players win. They also position players’ chips for bets that are not self-service (i.e., players are not allowed to position their chips on the layout for certain bets, so the dealers do it for them). The “stickman” stands at the center of the table across from the boxman and calls the game. The stickman also retrieves and controls the dice after each throw.
A good stickman can add tons of fun to the game. If he’s good, he’ll use a big vocabulary of craps jargon to add humor and make the game more interesting. For example, if a die bounces off the table and lands in a player’s chip rack (i.e., the wooden shelf around the table perimeter where players hold their chips), the stickman is obligated to say, “No roll,” and then he retrieves the die for the boxman to inspect it. The stickman then pushes the dice with his stick to the shooter to roll again.
A good stickman adds lively banter to the game to make it more fun for the players. After all, the more fun the players have, the better mood they’ll be in, which increases the likelihood that the players will make more bets (good for the casino) and give the dealers more tips (good for the crew). To liven up the game, instead of boringly saying, “No roll,” a good stickman might say in a loud, rhythmic voice, “Die in the wood, roll no good,” or “I can’t read her, she’s in the cedar.” The game is much more fun when the stickman spouts all kinds of craps jargon and rhymes.
Over the years, dealers have dreamed up lots of cute slang for the results of a dice roll. The following are the ones I commonly hear when playing. I suspect that there are just as many that I haven’t heard. Listen for them the next time you play. The number 2 (i.e., a 1 on one die and a 1 on the other) is called “aces.” Aces are more commonly known as “snake eyes.” They are also called “eyeballs.”
The number 11 (i.e., a 6 on one die and a 5 on the other) is called a “yo,” which is short for “yo-leven” (with emphasis on the “yo”). The stickman says “yo-leven” to distinguish “eleven” from “seven” so the players don’t misunderstand the call.
The number 3 is an “Australian yo.” When a 3 shows (i.e., a 1 on one die and a 2 on the other), the opposite number (i.e., the number on the bottom of the dice) is 11, which is “down under.” On dice, 1 is opposite the 6, 2 is opposite the 5, and 3 is opposite the 4. So, when a 1-2 combination shows, the opposite side “down under” (i.e., the bottom of the dice) is 6-5.
The number 12 is called “boxcars” or “midnight.”
The combination 3-3 (i.e., a Hard 6) is sometimes called “Brooklyn Forest.”
The numbers 2, 3, and 12 are all called “craps.” Note that when a shooter establishes a point and then subsequently throws a 7, it’s called a “seven-out.” A seven-out is not a craps. Remember, a craps is the number 2, 3, or 12, so when the shooter rolls a 7, don’t show your inexperience by yelling in disappointment, “Oh, man, he crapped out.” The correct whine is, “Oh, man, he sevened-out.”
The number 8 is sometimes referred to as “Eighter from Decatur.”
The number 9 is sometimes referred to as “Jesse James” (he was shot with a.45, and the 4-5 dice combination is a 9). The number 9 is also called “Studio 54” when the dice combination 5-4 shows (the combination 5-4 is a 9).
The combination 4-4 (i.e., a Hard 4) is sometimes called “Little Joe.”
The combination 3-2 is sometimes called “OJ” (OJ’s jersey number was 32).
The combination 5-5 (i.e., a Hard 10) is called “lady’s delight.”
The combination 1-4 is occasionally called “One-eyed chicken in the weeds.” I don’t have a clue what that means, and neither did the dealer when I asked him. He said he learned it years earlier from another dealer and has since repeated it.
Hearing the stickman bark funny craps jargon makes the game more fun. It also gets the players to interact more, which usually adds to their enjoyment. Imagine the shooter rolling the dice and they show a 1-4 combination. Imagine the stickman blandly saying, “Five.” Now, instead, imagine the stickman shouting, “One-eyed chicken in the weeds!” The players laugh and begin asking each other, “What did he say?” Their questions then lead to more talking and interaction, which adds to everyone’s fun. The casino values a good stickman because happier customers are more likely to be repeat customers.