I will disclose right up front that this article is a beast. I tried to keep it simple, in the hopes of conveying that despite the complicated layout Craps is a simple game (which it is), but there is just a lot that requires explanation. Is has a vocabulary that you won't hear anywhere else, a couple of really great bets that are better than anything else you will play in the casino, but also a lot of sucker-bets to warn you about, but mostly I just really love the game, and I love to teach people how to play, so it was hard to keep from trying to convey everything all at once. So please don't let the length of this article scare you away. Hopefully it is entertaining and educational, but it is a beast nonetheless. Perhaps appropriately, as surely to the uninitiated Craps is the most intimidating game in the entire casino. Which is unfortunate, because it is a great way to spend an evening - getting drunk and yelling at dice and hopefully raking chips of exotic colors. There is nothing as much fun in the casino as a hot craps table (with the possible exception of an evenly divided sports book during a close game, or a hooker rubbing up on you at the poker bar). And at its heart, under all the weird lingo and complicated layout, it really is a simple game. If you give it a try, I promise you will love it.
As some of you may have been able to deduce from my prior posting on baccarat, I do not like to play games that have a large house advantage (I will define this in a moment, in case you are wondering what this means). Craps, if played correctly, has a very low house advantage, and features the only bet in the whole casino without any house advantage at all.
By the way, as
in previous posts, all odds and probability calculations come from discussion of Craps at Wizardofodds.com. I make no claim to the Wizard's
calculations, but I have always found his analysis to be spot-on. Also, craps is somewhat unique, in that the
wager may take several rolls of the dice to resolve a bet, and the player is
allowed to take down some bets at any time, whether the bet has been resolved
or not. Therefore, the Wizard makes his
analysis threefold – house advantage on a per roll basis, per bet resolved
basis, and the per bet made basis. Since
I intend to play each bet I make through completion, I look at it from a "bet resolved basis",
as I don't take my bets down during play. Therefore, when I discuss the house
advantage, I will be using the "per bet resolved" figures. These figures are the highest of the three, and are still pretty good, so you get some idea of why I
like love this game.
Craps is not quite as easy to play as baccarat, but once you know what you are seeing, it is easier to play than blackjack since you don't have to memorize a strategy table or count cards to be able to reduce the house advantage. Like baccarat, craps is statically a stable game, in that the numbers don't change based upon how you play or how anyone else at the table plays. In other words, there is nothing you or the house can do to change the odds of winning. I am going to steer you towards the bets that will give you the best chance of winning while giving the casino as little of your money as possible.
Craps is played on a huge table, which is often surrounded by lots of people, including 4 casino employees working the table. There are lots of boxes and words, and lines and places to put your chips. And understandably, it looks very confusing if you don't know what you're looking at. But take come comfort in knowing that it is really only half as big as it looks - the two ends of the table are identical. There are a LOT of different bets available on the craps table, but you don't have to play all the bets on the table, and in fact, you absolutely shouldn't. Different bets have different house advantages, and some of these are quite steep, and constitute sucker-bets. Also, you are actually going to be focused on a rather small part of the table, so you don't really need to worry about most of what you see in front of you.
Basically, despite the enormous table and all of the boxes and lines, the whole game comes down to a bet on a roll, or multiple rolls, of a set of dice. And despite the enormous table, there are really only two bets that you will want to play. That is because these two bets, when combined, have the absolute lowest house advantage of any game in the entire casino - that is it pays you the closest you will ever get to true odds on any wager on any game anywhere in the casino. Sound good? Then read on.
We might as well dispense with the 12 year-old humor right up front. Yes, the game is called craps.* The biggest word on the entire table is written in all caps, COME, right in the middle of the table. You will hear people yelling things like "gimme the hard 6". Go ahead and giggle like a little boy and get it out of your system. Done? Ok, let's move on like adults shall we?
First, a vocabulary lesson. Don't worry about all this yet, I will explain how it all fits together in a few minutes. I just need to establish some phrases that I can use in the explanation. Yes, some of these names are odd, even sexually suggestive – maybe that is one reason I like this game.
- The "House Advantage" is the statistical and mathematical advantage that is hard-wired into every bet in the casino (save one, which happens to be in Craps), and is what results in two phenomenon: 1) the fact that if the casino can keep you playing long enough, it will take all of your money, and 2) that Las Vegas is a sprawling city in the middle of the fucking desert with no other real explanation for its existence or success. It is invisible, and it our mortal enemy. Repeat after me "We will only play games with low house advantages. Oh, and roulette, slots, and keno – fuck you too."
- "Shooter" – is not a porn reference, it is the person rolling the dice. The roll passes clockwise around the players at the table, with each shooter rolling the dice until he/she craps out. A "virgin" shooter is someone that is playing for the first time, and has never rolled before. Female virgins are considered good luck and you will see people fall over themselves to get more money on the table. On my wife's virgin roll she rolled for 45 minutes, hit 5 points, and make a lot of people insane amount of money. 3 people tipped her and she made more off the tips than she did off her bets. So if you're a woman and it is your first roll, don't be bashful, everyone will love you. Male virgin rollers on the other hand are like an unwanted dick in your ear, so keep it quiet and just do your job. By the way, no one is required to roll, but if you do roll, you are required to bet the pass line. Also, it is kind of a chickenshit move to pass the roll, so just do it already. It's really no big deal, and you get to be the center of attention for a while.
- The "come out roll" is not a rudimentary form of hillbilly birth control, but refers to the shooter's first roll of the dice before a point has been established, or the first roll after a point has been made. The rules work a little bit differently on the come out roll, as I will explain below.
- A "point" refers to 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10. Look at the diagram. You see these numbers in a row? That is called the "board."
- Yes, the "pass line" is the place Carmelo Anthony goes in his nightmares, but when I use it I will be referring to the place on the table where you place your money to bet that the shooter will roll the established point before rolling a 7. It is the primary bet on a craps table, and one of the two bets that you want to know very well. Look on the diagram above - see the area labeled "Pass Line"? That's it.
- A "Come bet" is a ... you know what, this one is too easy and it is beneath me. Ok, not beneath me, but I'm going to leave it. A come bet is simply a pass line bet in disguise. It works the same exact way, but with different timing. It is the other bet that you will play. Look at the diagram - you cannot miss the COME bet area. Its almost like a target, right in the middle of the ... oops, sorry. Moving on.
- "Crapping out" usually means you ate some bad shrimp at the casino buffet, but when I use it in this article I mean the shooter rolled a 7 before the established point, and usually means that everyone at the table, except assholes, has lost. It also means something different on the come out roll, but I don't want to confuse anyone yet.
- "Odds" is a secondary bet made on either a pass line bet or a come bet, once a point has been established. It is unique in the world of casino gambling – this bet has no house advantage, paying the player true odds. Because of that, we will play this bet heavily. You should love this bet over all other bets in any game in the casino as it is the only time you are on equally footing with the house. Repeat after me: "I will play full odds whenever my bankroll allows."
- A "place" bet is when you tell the dealer that you want to place your money on a certain number on the board to be rolled before a 7. For example, "I want to place the 6." You are choosing your own point, and because of this, you pay a premium in the form of a higher house advantage. Not all place bets are good, not all are bad.
- There will be four casino employees at the table. One will be a large goon-looking man in a suit coat, who is seated behind the house's collection of chips. He is called the "boxman" and you usually will have no interaction with him directly unless you royally fuck something up, like firing your dice into the house's chips and knocking over a large stack of pre-counted chips (don't do this by the way, it's not a funny as you might believe, just trust me). On either side of him are two people standing – they are called "dealers" and are generally in charge of keeping track of everyone's bets, paying winning bets as the dice are rolled, and of course raking the table when the shooter craps out. This is one job I would never want to have in the casino. There is always a lot going on, and the dealers have to keep track of all the bets and make sure everyone gets their money, and the right amount. Directly across the table is the "stickman" (or you can call him by the French word croupier if you're a dandy, just be ready to get smacked in the back of the head with the stick). The stickman carries a stick (duh) and is in charge of marshaling the dice, calling out the roll, and getting the dice back to the shooter. Whenever possible, as a beginner, I recommend finding a spot at the table next to a dealer or the stickman, as it is easier to communicate with them when you are standing right next to them. Craps tables can be loud, and if you let them know you are new they will take time to help you.
Basic Flow of the Game
So, on to the play of the game. The stickman will slide about 5-6 dice to a new shooter. The shooter will pick out 2, and pick them up in his/her hand (I will use masculine pronouns from now on because – well, just because). The stickman will take the rest of the dice off the table. Since this is the come out roll, most everyone at the table will place a wager on the "pass line" area of the table. The shooter will now make the come out roll by throwing the dice to the opposite end of the table, striking the far wall and rebounding. When the dice stop, the stickman will call out the combined number. If on the come out roll the dice read 7 or 11, it is called a "natural" and the pass line wins immediately and is paid even money. If on the come out roll the number is a 2, 3, or 12, it is a "craps," and the pass line bet loses. In case you are wondering, the odds of the 7/11 combination is roughly the same as the 2/3/12 combo, but the 2/3/12 combo has a slight advantage.
If a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 is rolled on the come out roll, this establishes a point, and this is where the real action occurs.
On the table, the dealer will place a marker above the number on the board that corresponds with the point that was just rolled. The marker has two sides, one is black and says "on", and one is white and says "off". He will place the marker with the "on" side up above the appropriate number to signify that the number has been established as the point. At this time, the people around the table will start throwing chips everywhere, calling out bets (You do no need to do this, by the way, you bet will be right in front of you). Once all the bets are placed, the stickman will move the dice to the shooter, who will continue to roll the dice until he either 1) rolls the point, or 2) rolls a 7 and craps out. If the point is rolled first, the pass line wins. If a 7 is rolled first, the pass line loses. I know, it sounds complicated, but it just takes some practice for everything to slow down and make sense.
So, how will we play this game so we can avoid giving the casino any more of our money than absolutely possible, you ask? Good [girl/boy], you've been paying attention. I'm very proud of you.
Strategy and How to Play as a Beginner Without Looking Like an Idiot
You will most likely walk up to a table when a game is already in progress, so here is how to do your first time and not be an asshole. First, you are going to want identify an open position at the table. The table has chip trays around the top, and the chip trays are divided into positions by dividers (ingenious, I know). Each divided section will mark a position. If the table doesn't have many people, it will be easy to identify an open position. But if it is crowded, like on a Friday or Saturday night, it might be tough. The positions closest to the dealer or stickman are usually the last to fill for some reason, so if the table is crowded, and you don't see any chips in the tray at those positions, what I usually do is walk up to the spot, and ask the dealer or stick man "is this position open?" If not, they will ask you to wait, and once a position opens they will let you know. They can only accommodate so many players, and this is a polite way of making sure you don't overload the table.
Next, you need to get some chips. Take out your money, and be prepared to lay it on the table. The biggest noob mistake is trying to hand the money to the dealer, or worse yet the stickman (this will usually earn you a "thank you, I needed a few extra bucks" or something similar to point out that you just made a rookie mistake). The dealers are not allowed to take money out of your hand, or hand you chips directly. So, catch the attention of a dealer, or the stickman, and tell them you require chips, or "change". If the dealer is ready, he will point to the table – that is your cue to lay your money on the table. He will then count your money and change your money into chips. Next, look at the board to see if the marker is "on" above any of the numbers. If so, a point has been established, and the best thing to do at this point is to wait until the point is resolved before placing your money anywhere.** If you feel confident, go ahead and throw a Come bet out there. If you don't know what that is, just cool your heels - you aren't required to play every single roll, so just wait until a new come out roll. You will know because the dealer will turn the marker over to "off" and slide it over to the side, away from the board.
Once the marker is turned to the "off" side, and is not over one of the numbers of the board, now is the time to get your money in play. You will play one bet to start – the pass line. In the alternative you could bet the "don't pass line" if you're a shameless asshole and want to make money when the rest of the table loses. Don't get me wrong, the "don't pass" is a completely legit bet, in fact it has a statistical advantage over the pass line, but betting the don't pass is essentially betting with the casino, and means you will be cheering when the rest of the table is cursing about the shooter crapping out. Nothing wrong with this - just don't expect anyone at the table to be buying you any drinks. Also, you're an asshole.
The pass line bet, as mentioned above, has a low house advantage. According to the Wizard, the house advantage on the pass line bet is a slim 1.41% (the don't pass carries a slightly better 1.40%). This is a really good bet for the bettor – one of the better in the casino. However, we are not satisfied with 1.41% of our money going straight into the pockets of the casino, are we? No, we are not. So, we are going to use a combination of bets to reduce this advantage even lower.
As I mentioned earlier, the come out roll has three potential outcomes: 1. A natural (a 7 or 11); 2. Craps (2, 3, or 12); or 3. A point is established. If a natural is rolled, the dealers will pay you even money on your pass line bet, which is cool, and the game resets. You take your winnings, leave your original bet, and a new come out roll will immediately follow. If craps is rolled, the dealers will take your pass line bet, the game resets, and a new come out roll will follow. You will need to replace your bet because your first bet just made the casino a little richer.
The third scenario is where the magic happens. If a point is established, the dealers will mark the point, and then you will witness players placing all manner of bets. You do not need to be distracted. You will simply reach into your chip tray and select enough chips to total a multiple of your pass line bet, which you will then place behind your pass line bet. This is your "odds" bet. This spot is not marked on the table, but if you watch the other players, you will see where they are placing this bet. Or you can ask the dealer where to place your odds bet, and they will help. (Occasionally you will see a player that is not placing an odds bet behind their pass line bet. I highly recommend that you do not try to emulate anything that player is doing, because he/she is a complete jackass and is essentially handing the casino money). Notice I said that you will use a multiple of your pass line bet. I will explain.
The odds bets are the absolute best bets in the entire casino because while the payoff on the odds bet depends on the point established, the payoff is always in true odds. This means there is no house advantage on the odds bet. You will not find that anywhere else in the casino. When playing the pass line after a point has been established, you are betting that your point (which will be a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10) will be rolled again before a 7. When rolling two dice there are more combinations of 7 than any other number.
As you can see, there are 2 times as many combinations of 7 as there are 4 and 10, and thus if the point is a 4 or 10, the odds bet pays 2 to 1. The 5 and the 9 pay 3 to 2, and the 6 and the 8 pay 6 to 5. Casinos allow odds bets in multiples of the pass line bet, and you will usually see "3-4-5x odds". This means you may bet up to 3 times your pass line bet if the point is a 4 or a 10, 4 times your pass line bet if the point is a 5 or 9, and 5 times your pass line bet if the point is a 6 or 8.
Remember what you vowed earlier: "I will play full odds whenever my bankroll allows." Why, you ask? Well, the combination of the pass line bet (with its 1.41% house advantage) and the maximum odds bet (with no house advantage) produces an average combination house advantage of just 0.374%. That is really, really good, in case you are having a hard time grasping this. Don't act like you're not impressed.
So, in terms of beginner strategy, I recommend placing the minimum pass line bet allowed. Tables minimums usually run from $1 up to $25 (and on up), so I am going to speak in terms of units. One unit will be equal to the table minimum. You would place one unit on the pass line, and once a point is established, you would "back it up" with an odds bet of 3-4-5x units depending on the point. Viola, you're playing craps! And smartly at that. For illustration purposes, let's assume you are at a $1 table, so you have $1 on the pass line. The point is a 5, and your properly backed this up with an odds bet of 4x, or $4. The shooter rolls a 5 and hits the point. You are going to get paid $1 on your pass line bet, you would have a $4 odds bet backing up the pass line bet. You will be paid 3-2 on this bet, or $6. So for this roll, you just won $7. Add it to your stack and repeat. If you're playing at a $10 table, the figures are adjusted accordingly and you just won $70.
That is all you need to know to play craps. You could play that one bet all night long and have a blast doing it. What? That isn't enough action for you? What, do you have a gambling problem or something? Yeah, me too. So here is how to keep a little more action running Look in the middle of the table. See the biggest word on the whole table – COME. This is an invitation for you to place a COME bet. The Come bet works exactly like a pass line bet, except when you place your money in the COME box, the very next roll (no matter its relation to the already established pass line point) will be your own personal come out roll. No matter what point has been established for the pass line, and no matter what you have going on with that, your come bet is a brand new independent bet. So if the next roll is a 7 or 11, it is a natural for your come bet and you get paid. This is bittersweet when the roll is a 7 because it means you will lose your original pass line bet, but your come bet will get paid even money. So it softens the blow a bit – a bit of a hedge bet. But if a point is established for your come bet (not a natural and not a 2, 3 or 12) then the bet will act the same as a pass line bet. The dealer will move your chips from the COME area to a spot on the board to mark that it is your bet. At this point, you should get the dealers attention and tell them you want odds on your come bet – this works exactly the same as well - 3, 4, 5x odds. If the point for your come bet is hit, you win and get paid exactly the same as the pass line. Many people refer to playing "perfect craps" as playing the pass line with maximum odds while having two come bets working, each with maximum odds. This gives you 3 numbers out of the 6 on the board. You can have as many come bets as you want (up to six obviously), but I personally don't like having that much money on the table at once. One 7 and they wipe the board clean, and that means you can lose money in a hurry.
So, there you go. At its heart, in spite of the huge intimidating table, and the confusing layout on the table, there are really only two bets you are going to make – a pass line (or come) bet, and an odds bet. There are lots of other bets that can be made on the table, but none as good as the combination of pass/come bet with full odds. For that reason, I highly recommend that you stick to these. If you are willing to strictly follow this advice and promise to never deviate, you are done. You need read no further. But I know you will be tempted to veer off into the land of sucker-bets, and see you bankroll disappear rather quickly (or more quickly). So read on.
I told you that there are a lot of bets to make on a craps table. Some are excellent for the player, like the pass line and come bets (and associated odds bets), some are awful for the player. Regardless of how bad these bets are for the player, you will still see people playing. Sometimes they win what seems like a lot of money, and even smart players are tempted from time to time seeing other players winning money at some of these other bets, so allow me to explain why you should not play these bets, even when you are tempted. Also, I consider some things to be sucker bets that other may not. From my perspective, anything over a 2% house advantage is a sucker-bet in this game, simply because there are alternatives that are much better on the same table! Why play a bet that has a higher house advantage when there are perfectly legitimate bets available that don't carry that disadvantage? Some will argue with me on this – especially about the hard way bets, but to those people I will say simply say "Please continue to play, I love the beautiful casinos and hotels that you've helped to build."
- "Gimme the hard 6" - By far the most popular sucker-bets on the table are the "hard way" bets. People see the payoffs and get dollar signs in their eyes. If a number is rolled the "hard way", it means that both die read the same number (e.g. 3-3 would be "6 the hard way"). Conversely, the "easy 6" is any other combination that equals 6 (1-5 or 2-4). On this bet you are wagering that a given number (either 4, 6, 8, or 10) is going to be rolled the "hard way" not only before a 7, but also before it is rolled "easy". So the "hard 6" would win if the dice come up 3-3, and lose if the dice come up 2-4, 1-5, or any of the myriad combinations of 7. The reason these bets are sucker bets is that the payoff does not reflect the true odds of the hard way being rolled before easy, or a 7. The hard 6 and 8 pays 9 to 1, and has a house advantage of 9.09%. The hard 4 and 10 pay 7 to 1, and have a house advantage of 11.11%. Despite these stupidly high disadvantages, you will see all kinds of high rollers approach the table and start throwing out hard way bets. I assume this is because these players do not actually know how to play craps, or have more money than sense. There is one exception, and one exception only, to playing hard way bets – the dealers love to play along with other people's money, and so if you want to bet for the dealers, they will likely tell you they want a hard way bet. So throwing out some money and asking for a "hard 6 for the dealers" is acceptable, since you are giving the money away anyway, and win or lose it is found money for the dealers.
- Some of the Place bets are sucker-bets, some are not. This is because different numbers carry different payoffs, and in those payoffs are hidden house advantages. For example, if you place the 6 or the 8, the payoff is 7-6, which is close to true odds of 6-5, and thus is only a 1.52% house advantage. There is actually a strategy to playing nothing but place bets on the 6 and the 8, and it is legit. In fact, when my bankroll is down, this is my go-to bet. However, the remaining place bets fall onto my naughty list. The farther you get from the middle of the board, the worse it gets. If you place the 5 or 9, the payoff is 7-5, when true odds are 3-2, and the resulting house advantage is 4.0%. The 4 or 10 is even worse - you are paid 9-5 when true odds are 2-1, and the resulting house advantage is 6.67%. If you want to place numbers, place the 6 and the 8 and leave it at that.
- "Buy" bets are like Place bets, except instead of betting the number you are buying the odds bet, while paying 5% commission to the house. Carries a house advantage of 4.76%. Just leave it be.
- There are a bunch of single roll proposition bets towards the middle of the table, with names like "C and E", "Any Craps", or "Hop" bets. To quote the Wizard, "Proposition bets either win or lose on the next throw. In general these have the highest house edge of all the crap bets and players with any sense at all will avoid them completely." Sound advice - heed it.
- My least favorite bet on the table has to be the Big 6/8 – named appropriately enough for the fact that these two numbers appear on the corner of the table, and are quite large. It offends me simply by its presence, lurking close to the players, in huge bold type, luring in suckers. Actually, this is a double-whammy of a sucker-bet because the Big 6/8 is the exact same as a place bet on the 6 or 8. That is, you are betting that a 6 or 8 will be rolled before a 7. However, while the place bet on a 6 or 8 pays off at $7 to every $6 you bet (7-6), which is not far from true odds (which you might recall from above is 6 to 5), and thus has a modest house advantage of 1.52%, the Big 6/8 by contrast pays even money, and thus the house advantage is 9.09% - on the same exact bet. So, please don't play the Big 6/8. You will make me cry if you do.
Do's and Don't at a Craps table:
DON'T play dice with Michael Jordan - it apparently can get pretty creepy.
DON'T hand your money to anyone, including the dealers.
DON'T say the word "seven" – ever. This is regarded by many craps players as the paramount of bad luck. Even on the come out roll, when a 7 would be a natural and therefore a winner, do not say it. Period. If you must yell something at the dice on the come out roll in an attempt to get them to behave the way you want, call for a "Yo" or "Yoleven", which is craps speak for eleven (the other half of the natural, if you recall).
DON'T hold your drink in your hand at the table. If you spill your drink on the table you will draw the ire of the boxman, the dealers, the pit boss, and every player at the table. Don't do it. There is a shelf under the chip trays, keep your drink on the shelf when you are not actively drinking it.
DON'T remove the dice from the table, or anywhere the dealers and stickman can't see them. One way people try to cheat at craps is to slip loaded dice into the game, and the casino tends to frown on anything that might suggest that this might be happening.
DO tip the dealers. Especially if they help you out by reminding you to place bets (like odds that you might forget), or if you are a monumental pain in their ass (don't worry, you'll be able to tell). Also, if you win a lot of money, it is appropriate to share some with the dealers when you cash out.
DO ask them to "color you up" if you leave the table with chips. This simply means that the dealers will take all your small chips and change them into higher denomination chips so they can keep the smaller chips at the table.
DO take your winnings down when the dealers pay you. They will pay your pass line bets by putting your winnings next to your initial bet and your odds next to you odds bet. If you feel bold, you can "press" your initial bet and stack your winnings on top of your initial bet and then let it ride on the next come out roll. But don't just leave your winnings littering the table. Don't laugh; you might be surprised how often it happens.
DO take an appropriate bankroll with you to the table. Craps can move quickly, both up and down, and you really need to be able to ride the swings. Ideally, assuming my bankroll hasn't been decimated by my poor sports betting skills, I try to start with at least 40 units. So at a $5 table, I will have $200. A $10 table I will have $400. You don't need to change the whole thing at once, just have it ready.
Finally, if the table doesn't feel right, feel free to leave. Or if no one is making any points, consider playing what I call the Kobe – the Don't Pass. It works the same way as the pass line, except you have to lay odds (e.g. for a point of 4 or 10 you would lay 2 units to win 1), in just the opposite amounts as on the pass line odds. That is because playing the Kobe is playing for a 7 to come up before the point, and since the odds of the 7 are greater than the points, you flip the odds to once again represent true odds. It is not a popular move among a lot of players, but I confess that I've made a lot of money on cold tables playing the Kobe, and I didn't have to buy my wife a ridiculous ring afterwards.
So there it is. I told you it was a beast. But you can use this to play craps very comfortably. The Wizard has a cool little practice game on the craps page I linked earlier. Give it a shot.
Also, because of the size of this article, I am sure I have missed something, or misstated something. If you feel like I've missed/misstated something, let me know so I can fix it. If you have any questions, please feel free to post any questions in the comments – I will try to address them the best I can. Also, I am willing to consider writing about other games, if anyone has any requests.
*No one really knows the origin of the name "craps", but the most likely (in my opinion) origin is that it is derived from the French word for toad, crapeaud. Since rolling "craps", or "crapping out" is a negative event, I would assume that calling something a "toad" would have the same negative connotation. Or it could be that some homeless guy took a crap on the cardboard dice game mat in an alley one time, and the name stuck. I don't know.
** You are allowed to place money on the pass line at this point, and in fact the casino loves it when players do this. It is called a "put" bet, and because you removing the advantage of the possibility of a natural on the come out roll from the equation, a put bet carries a substantial house advantage. Depending on the point established, it can be as high as 20%. With that kind of advantage, you might as well join the blue hairs and go play fucking keno.