Right or Wrong Betting – Etiquette at the Craps Table

Question: Not too long ago I was playing craps at an almost full table and most of us were betting the pass line along with the shooter. But there was this one guy who was betting wrong and hoping that the shooter would lose.

The worst part of it was he was really loud and annoying about it. On every roll he yelled, “Come on seven!” and when seven hit, he screamed, celebrated, and even taunted the rest of us who had just lost our bets. I wanted to hit him! What can be done about guys like this?

The short answer is – not much.

For many people, the appeal of craps is the social aspect of the game. Nearly everyone plays together on the pass line/come line, so when the shooter hit a taxpoint and wins, everyone at the table wins and celebrates together. In craps parlance, this is called betting “right”.

However, not everyone is there for the fun and it's hard to blame someone when they choose to bet against the shooter and play the don't pass/don't come; after all, it does have a slightly lower casino edge. While these people may not exactly be the most fun in the world, betting “wrong” like this is perfectly legal and he has the same right as you do to get excited when he wins.

That being said, your wrong bettor could have been more polite. Most wrong bettors just want to win, not spoil the other players' good time, so they quietly play their game and give a little silent cheer when they win, but nothing more. Your guy could learn from them.

Question: I thought I understood the tax reporting rules at casinos, but after what happened last week I'm completely lost. I was playing blackjack while my friend was on the Caribbean Stud table. We both had great nights, I finished almost $1,500 up, while my buddy hit a straight flush and won about $1,000. What confused me is that my friend had to sign a tax reporting form for his win, while I cashed out without anyone saying anything? Why?

The IRS requires casinos to report wins for taxation purposes only in the event of one-time jackpot wins, not on all winning players in the casino. Of course, it is important to remember that the IRS requires you to pay taxes on all net casino winnings, no matter whether the casino reports the win or not.

For table games that carry high-odds payouts or jackpots like Caribbean Stud, casinos are required to report any win where the odds are higher than 300-1 and the winning amount is more than $600, which is why your friend had to sign the tax form. But since blackjack is generally an even-money game, you could win as much as possible and it wouldn't be reported.

Slot machines carry a slighter higher minimum threshold for reporting, $1,200. And remember, that is only if you win that amount on a single spin; if you win more than that through a series of small wins then you can walk away without having to sign everything. The only exception is if you are playing a slot tournament, then any win over $600 is reported.

About The Author

Journalist and author John Grochowski is one of the foremost experts on casinos in America. He writes a syndicated weekly gambling newspaper column and he is a frequent contributor to gambling magazines, websites, and radio programs. His books include the best-sellers The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Casino Answer Book.

  • "If you want to join a craps game, wait for a break when the dice are in the centre of the table. Then place your money down on the table and wait for your chips."

  • "Playing baccarat is one of the best things you can do in the casino. The house edge is incredibly low but unlike blackjack, you don't have to make any decisions which affect the game."

  • "When a blackjack hand, either yours or the dealer's, goes over twenty-one it's referred to as a bust or break. You can hear either of these words used at blackjack tables.'

  • "Slot machines have been around since 1887 when San Francisco inventor Charles Fey built a machine featuring three wheels decorated with symbols like diamonds, hearts, and bells, which triggered the jackpot."

  • "While mechanical reels remain limited to 22 physical stops, today's video slot machines use virtual reels which can carry dozens of video symbols and hundreds of stops, allowing casinos to offer enormous jackpots."

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