We won’t lie. This blog falls neatly into the category of “craps fanatic,” and we make no apologies. So, when we first heard about something called “Rapid Craps,” we were titillated, intrigued and leery. Especially titillated, because that tends to bring more visitors to this blog from search engines, but let’s stay focused.
Rapid Craps is new to the Strip (and the world), and Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon on the Las Vegas Strip is the only casino in the universe that has it.
You had us at "craps," Bill's.
We just had to play! (First, a CYA moment. All opinions expressed here are those of this blog, and not Harrah’s Entertainment, the owners of Bill’s.)
Our first thought about a game that combines craps and computers? Blasphemy! But once at the table, we settled right in.
Pro: At a Rapid Craps table, you get to sit down. We love that.
Sit a spell! Which, we think is a phrase last used in 1956.
Rapid Craps is played at a traditional-looking craps table, but with the twist of having a touch-screen computer terminal for each player. Players drop their cash on the table, as with any craps game, the “boxman-slash-stickman” pushes a few buttons and one’s balance shows up magically on one’s terminal.
Pro and Con: There are no chips! All transactions at Rapid Craps happen in the computers. If you like the grit of fondling chips, tossing chips and “coloring up” with chips, it’s a con. If you dislike all that, it’s a pro. So long, grimy fingers!
Con: When you first sit at a Rapid Craps table, there’s a learning curve. We learned this quickly when we accidentally bet our entire balance on the Pass Line. Oops. It takes a few minutes to get used to the Rapid Craps computer interface, but once you get it, there are quite a few pros.
The dealers at Bill’s are exceedingly helpful in answering questions, by the way, so don’t be shy.
Relax. Technology can be our friend.
The pace of Rapid Craps can also take some getting used to. It’s, well, it’s rapid. The stickman watches players for his or her cue to start a countdown to “no more bets.” None of those last-second “call” bets like the typical game. Again, a pro for some, because those late bets can cause chaos for dealers and players.
Off you go! A real person at the table throws the dice.
That is a real human arm throwing real dice.
Pro: No chips means no chips in your dice “landing zone.” Lots of players think hitting chips is bad luck, so having no chips is a good thing. Along the same lines, gone is the chance of hitting someone’s hands. (No hands go onto the table to place bets.)
One of the biggest pros of Rapid Craps is once the dice are rolled, and entered in to the computer system by the stickman, payouts are done instantly and accurately. This removes the possibility of dealer error, but also gives the player fractions of a dollar on certain bets (fractions casinos typically round down because it’s a pain to deal with half dollars or quarters).
For example, if you have a $3 “place” bet on a typical craps table, it pays $3. In Rapid Craps, you could receive $3.50 or $4.20. This can really add up over time!
Pro: Table minimums are pretty meaningless, since you could theoretically not bet at all on a given roll (nobody really sees your computer terminal), or you could bet, say, $1 on a “hard six,” even if the stated minimum is $3. By the way, the stated minimums at Bill’s are $3 most “off-peak” hours, with a $5 minimum for busier times (weekends).
Once you get used to it, the touch-screen gives player a lot of control. (Translation: You are the boss of you.)
OK, time for a slew of pros!
Pro: You don’t have to bet on every shooter as players tend to do at other traditional craps tables. This can get expensive when the table is cold.
Pro: You can bet the “Don’t” side without guilt or peer pressure!
Pro: You can pull your bets down at any time with the push of a button! This is huge. Many players just let their bets ride until someone sevens out. But that means all your bets are then wiped out. There’s a certain pressure from one’s fellow players to not pull down bets in the middle of a roll (bad mojo again), but with Rapid Craps, your game is your business.
Pro: If you tend to make the same bets over and over, Rapid Craps is a dream. The computer makes it simple to repeat bets.
Pro: You don’t have to figure out betting increments. This is great for newer players, because it’s often hard to keep track of which place bets need even amounts or odd. (The 6 and 8 need a $6 bet, while the 4, 5, 9 and 10 need just $5.) Rapid Craps also makes it easy to “press” (increase bets using one’s winnings).
OK, to keep it real, a couple of cons!
Con: Rapid Craps at Bill’s isn’t a 24-hour game. It opens about 10:00 a.m.
Con: Tipping your dealers or cocktail waitress isn’t easy with Rapid Craps! The wheels of Vegas are greased with gratuities, and they usually fly fast and furious at a craps table. The Rapid Craps terminals do allow for bets for dealers, but it might not be top-of-mind in the throes of a fast-paced session. And having no dollar chips makes cocktail waitress tipping a bear.
We almost never see waitresses stiffed at a typical table, but at a Rapid Craps table, it seems to happen regularly. Come prepared!
Use the touch-screen button thingy to tip the dealers!
Oh, and that reminds us of another pro, kind of. Our first thought when we heard about computerized craps was that it would translate as fewer opportunities for dealers and stickpersons. Nope. Rapid Craps is available in addition to existing games, it’s not meant to replace them.
So, what’s the deal with Rapid Craps?
If you love craps, you have to give Rapid Craps a try. If you don’t know a thing about Rapid Craps, it’s a great way to learn the game.
The only thing missing is a connection to the Interwebs!
Neither in the pro or con column, exactly, is that there’s a different kind of energy at a Rapid Craps table, as compared to the tables players are used to. It’s hard to describe, but the contagious, boisterous energy that often happens during a hot roll feels a little different at Rapid Craps. You’ll have to test that one for yourself. Let us know how it goes!
Will this Las Vegas blog be playing Rapid Craps at Bill’s Vegas again soon? That, friends, is as close to a sure thing as you can get in Vegas.