For many gamblers, the notion of playing craps in California is a bit of an oxymoron: Because state law prohibits casino games from being determined by dice or balls, local craps games look very little like the contests you might find in Nevada.
A number of Northern California Indian casinos have circumvented this law by offering games that use dice to determine which cards control the outcome of the game.
The latest entry into the local craps scene does away with dice altogether.
This game, dubbed party craps, debuted earlier this year at the 101 Casino in Petaluma.
To reiterate, it is a craps game with no dice at all.
Instead, party craps relies on cards completely — a standard deck that has been stripped of everything except aces (which act as 1s), 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s and 6s.
The 24 cards are put into an automatic shuffler; every time a player would “roll,” dealers simply pull two cards from the shuffler and proceed as if the cards were dice.
At the end of each turn, used cards are placed back into the shuffler.
Technically, the odds of this card-based game are the same as they are on the original.
With this in mind, players can place all of the same wagers — come bets, field bets, horn bets, even craps or 11 on the come-out.
Still, despite the second word in its title, the game feels completely different from craps — largely because players don’t control the action at all.
(Think of it this way: The “shooter,” or the person who throws the dice, doesn’t throw anything.) That’s not to say the game isn’t popular.