For every player in every game, there has to be a first time.

In craps, there are many players who were reluctant to take that first plunge. There are dozens of betting options, and it takes time to get the hang of multi-roll bets such as pass and don't pass.

I recently contacted several craps players of my acquaintance and asked them if they were wary of the game at first, and how they overcame any reluctance to play.

GARY: I never even thought about not knowing the rules. It looked like people were having fun, so I bought in and gave it a try. I'd played mostly blackjack and some slots before that, but after craps, I've never looked back.

It did take a little bit to catch on, but not that long. I asked a guy next to me what I should do, and he said, "This isn't a comeout. Just bet 6 and 8, kid." So I did. I put some chips out, told the dealer 6 and 8, he put the right amount down and gave me back the rest.

Explanations came as we played. A little later, the same guy said, "Now it's a comeout. Bet on pass," and pointed to the pass line. I didn't get it at first, but it only took a couple of points before I picked it right up.

Really, it's not that hard. More people should just wing it.

COLIN: Maybe I'm not the one to ask about this. I grew up playing craps, so I knew how to play before I ever saw a casino.

Some might say it was a misspent childhood. My grandma certainly did. She used to give my grandpa an earful when she'd find he had the dice out with me, my brother and my sister. He'd just laugh and say, "Aw, they have to learn sometime." Then he'd put the dice away, but bring them back out next time we were over.

My mom and dad never said anything about it. I found out years later that my dad played, although he never played with us. Grandpa had taught him, too.

DIRK: I went to an empty table early one morning and asked the dealers if they would explain to a beginner if I made minimum bets. They said, "Sure, what do you want to know?"

I didn't know what I wanted to know, but I was told I had to bet pass to shoot. so we just started there. It wasn't too hard, and the rest was easy.

MARIA: I used to go to casinos with my husband Lou, and he'd go to the craps table and I'd go to the slots.

Sometimes, I'd watch craps for a while, but it all seemed so confusing to me. Lou would win or lose, and I'd have no idea what happened. The shooter would roll, the whole table would cheer or the whole table would groan, and I'd say, "huh?"

Finally, I told Lou he had to explain to me what was going on. The only dice we had at home were in the Monopoly set, so he got those out and showed me how pass worked. For about half an hour, we rolled and used houses and hotels for chips until I knew exactly how the comeout worked and the points and everything.

After that, I was ready to give it a try myself. I liked it, so it's one of my regular games now. Lou and I don't always play at the same table — I think I make him nervous when he's shooting.

Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter (@GrochowskiJ).

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