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Once you get your cash converted into chips, you're basically halfway there. You are a part of the game, and you may become a big part of it Craps Rules quicker than you thought, so you need to be ready for it.

A game of craps starts this way:

The stickman is going to offer five dice to one of the players at the table. This is the opportunity for that player to become the "shooter," who is the one who rolls the dice and therefore becomes the central figure in the game. As someone who is just stepping into the game, the dice could well come your way. Don't get an anxiety attack though; this offer carries no obligation on the part of the player, but if he or she chooses to assume the role, then he or she will choose two of the five dice to put into the game. The rules call for the shooter to place a bet on either the Pass Line or the Don't Pass before throwing the dice. These are both even money bets. It should be pointed out that though it isn't necessarily tradition, many of the players at the table are going to bet with the shooter, so if you decide to dive into that role cold, you'll at least have some people rooting for you.

This is nothing that has to be explained to veteran players, but the shooter needs to know that in order for the throw to be "legal" in the game, the dice must rebound off the far wall. Don't get caught coming up short. That's about as embarrassing as missing the rim on a free throw in basketball.

The first roll for the shooter is called the "come-out roll," and it is the pivotal event that shapes the rest of the shooter's tenure. If a 7 or 11 is rolled on the come-out, that is referred to as a "natural" and in that instance, the Pass Line bets win, while the Don't Pass bets lose. If the shooter throws a 2, 3 or 12, that is a "craps" and the reverse of the "natural" roll happens, which is to say that the Pass Line bets lose and the Don't Pass bets win. This is very important to remember.

When anything else is thrown on the come-out roll, it becomes the shooter's "point." A marker, or "puck" is placed with the "ON" side up on the spot on the layout that corresponds with the point. This designates the number that the shooter must "make" before "crapping out." In the interest of being clearer, the process will continue until one of two things happen: (1) the point is "made," which happens when it is rolled again by the shooter, or (2) a seven is rolled by the shooter. If the point is made, the Pass bets win, while the Don't Pass bets come up losers, and when the seven is rolled, the Don't Pass bets win, while the Pass bets lose.

The shooter will continue to roll the dice until he or she "sevens out," at which point the dice are offered to another player. And the cycle starts all over again.

As far as the many bets that are available and the payouts they offer, all of that is covered in our subsequent chapters.

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