Anatomy of a roll

Jul 29, 2003 2:55 AM

We dealers are taught that certain criteria must be met for a roll of the dice to be considered "legal and binding." Generally speaking, if the correct player throws the dice, the shooter has a pass line or don’t pass bet, both dice leave the shooter’s hand simultaneously and the dice make a forward motion towards the end opposite the shooter, it is considered a roll.

The correct player throws the dice. If, after a seven-out, the stickman accidentally skips the next shooter and offers the dice to another player and that player throws the dice, it is considered a roll. After that shooter sevens-out, the boxman will generally instruct the stickman to back up the dice to the player that was skipped. Once a player has thrown the dice, he is the legal shooter and if another player accidentally throws the dice, it is considered a no-roll.

The shooter has a pass line or don’t pass bet. Shooters must have a bet on the pass line or don’t pass in order to shoot the dice. This is based on the belief that other players want the shooter to have a vested interest in the outcome of the roll. The boxman will generally allow someone to shoot if his or her friend, spouse or companion has a pass line or don’t pass bet. The bettor should position the bet so it is in front of the shooter.

Both dice leave the shooter’s hand simultaneously. The most common infraction of this rule occurs when the shooter accidentally throws only one die and in their panic decides to then throw the other die.

The dice make a forward motion towards the end opposite the shooter. The shooter must throw the dice in the direction of the table that is opposite of the one they are standing on. Occasionally a neophyte will throw to the wall on the end they are standing on. While the more veteran players find this very amusing, the stickman will merely call "no roll" and instruct the shooter to throw the dice to the other end "past the judge" (referring to the boxman). Even if the shooter drops one die and throws the other, the stickman will call the dice, unless he or the boxman has a doubt that both dice left the shooter’s hand simultaneously.

All casinos insist that the shooter try to hit the end wall with both the dice. This is because some cross-roaders are talented enough to throw controlled shots. Casino rules can’t discriminate on who looks like a cross-roader and who does not. Since some players can throw a controlled shot, all shooters must try to hit the end wall with both of the dice. If the shooter does not hit the end wall it is still considered a roll, unless the stickman or boxman call "no roll" and/or the stickman "gates" the dice (hits one or both dice with his stick, before they stop moving). Occasionally the boxman may decide that if a shooter is elderly or infirmed and is making his best effort to hit the end wall, he may waive the requirement.

A cocked die is considered a roll. The side that would be facing skyward if the object supporting the die were removed is considered the "high side" and will be called. This is true even if the object supporting the die couldn’t possibly be removed (such as the wall of the table).

If the object supporting the die (the odds) were removed, the six would be skyward. The correct call is "yo-leven."

When the die is supported by two objects the boxman will determine which side of the die is closest to skyward. This is why, when taking odds on a pass line bet, you should position the odds two inches from the flat bet, so you don’t create a "dice trap."

Will the stickman call nine or seven-out? This is why you shouldn’t position your odds that close to your flat bet.



The most common situations that cause a "no roll" are:

One or both dice go off of the table. The stickman will call no roll and dump the dice bowl unless the shooter says the words: "Same dice!" Other players are not allowed to call for same dice. While they may encourage the shooter to ask for the same dice, they should use some tact, since it is strictly the shooter’s decision. If you are playing or even just walking by the table, hand the die that went down to the dealer or suit. If you throw the die back on the table it might result in more than two dice being on the layout at the same time.

One or both die "tall." If one or both die are in the player’s rack or in the rail in front of the dealers and boxman it is considered a no-roll. The shooter need not ask for the same dice since they did not leave the stickman’s sight and will be returned to the shooter.

One or both die land in the bankroll. It is considered no-roll if one or both of the dice land in the bankroll that is in front of the boxman. This doesn’t include bets or the dealer’s working stacks.

More than two dice are on the layout. This usually occurs when a passerby throws a lost die on the table.

A die lands in or on top of the dice bowl. Not only is this a no-roll, but if the boxman suspects one of the die hit the dice in the bowl and caused one of them to be knocked out the other side, he will call no-roll.

A player takes an action that interferes with the natural flight of the dice. If a player or dealer gets hit with the dice it is considered a roll unless they take an action that "interferes" with the natural flight of the dice. A classic case of interference occurs when a player gets hit in the chest with a die and then tries to catch the die but fumbles it and it lands on the table. Even if someone puts their hand to their face to protect themselves and the die hits their hand, it is considered a roll unless they flinch and "bat" the die back on the table.

One of the rare occurrences that happen is when one die will land on top of the other. Yes, it is rare but I have seen it happen two rolls in a row! In the old days every casino I knew called it a roll. The base dealer would merely pick up the top die and set it on the layout so the stickman could make the call. The modern trend is to call it a no-roll, but not all casinos do.

Sometimes the stickman will make an incorrect call and the boxman will overrule him. Remember that the stickman’s call is not binding and the final decision rest with the highest-ranking member of management present.

(Dale S. Yeazel is the author of "Precision Crap Dealing" and "Dealing Mini-Baccarat." They are E-books on CD-Rom available for only $20 each (plus tax) at Gamblers Book Shop and Gamblers General Store in Las Vegas.