Ballerina Special

What is ‘Ballerina Special’?

The expression ballerina special is used to describe a hard four being rolled in a game of Craps. This simply means that both the dice have been rolled to show twos (think tu-tus).

This term is just one in a series of colloquial, informal, slang terms used by Craps players to refer to specific roll-of-the-dice outcomes, all of which are cleverly composed using word play and association.

‘Ballerina Special’ Explained

In dice games such as Craps, there are such things has hard numbers and easy numbers. Easy numbers mean that the final numerical value of the dice roll is comprised of two different numbers – such as an easy eight being the result of a five and a three. Using the same example, a hard eight would be the result of two fours being rolled. For a hard outcome, the dice must both show the same number.

The term ballerina special is a further example of this. It refers to two twos being rolled for a hard four. The association here that links ballerinas to a hard four (or two twos) is that these dancers wear tu-tus.

A hard four is not the only Craps outcome with an associated phrase, however. In fact, most numerical Craps scores are referred to by other names. For example, a hard twelve (two sixes) is also called ‘boxcars’ and ‘midnight’, while a hard four (two twos) can also be referred to as ‘little Joe’.

Similarly, a hard two (or two ones) is called ‘snakes eyes’, and an eleven being rolled would be met with the declaration ‘Yo! Leven’.

Easy numbers also have colloquial names. For example, a five and a one is called ‘Aaen Handshake’, while rolling a seven is also known as ‘big red’ (because speaking the word “seven” is thought to be bad luck at the Craps table).