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Craps: Make This Bet!

Squeeze the house edge to zero percent… seriously

By Basil Nestor

 

CrapsDiceflyingCraps has dozens of bets, and many of them carry punishing advantages for the casino. But the best craps wagers give the casino an edge of zero percent. That’s right, nothing, nada, zip. You lay down your money, the house risks their chips, and the payoff is at true odds!

Pretty amazing, huh? If you play craps regularly, then you probably already know about these bets which are called “odds.”  But if you’re only an occasional craps player, or you mostly play other games, then odds is a good bet to explore.

 

 

Basic Craps and Easy Odds

An odds bet is technically a standalone wager, but it’s always linked to an original flat bet on craps pass or come, don’t pass or don’t come (for more info about these bets, check out my book The Smarter Bet Guide to Craps). Here’s how basic craps works. We’ll cover odds in the next section.

Let’s say you bet $10 on the pass line. That’s a base wager. Now let’s say that you (or anyone else at the table shooting the dice) roll a 7 or 11. Congratulations! You win $10! It’s a “pass.” End of game. If the shooter rolls 2, 3, or 12, that’s called “craps.” You “don’t pass” and lose $10. If the shooter rolls any other number (see the chart) that becomes the shooter’s “point.” He must roll that number again for you to win. If he rolls a seven, then you lose. Notice that seven was good in the beginning, but now it’s bad. All the other numbers are moot. Roll a point to win, roll seven and lose. There is no limit to the number of rolls allowed to make a point.

A bet on pass, come, don’t pass and don’t come gives the casino about 1.4 percent edge. But here’s the really beautiful part. When the shooter establishes a point, you’re allowed to make an additional bet, odds, on winning the point. And the edge for that is zero percent!

 

True Odds with 0% Edge

About 66 percent of all basic craps bets are not resolved on the first roll. So about two out of three times, you can bet odds.

Odds for pass and come bets are called “taking odds.”  It’s an extra wager that the shooter will successfully roll the point. Laying odds is the opposite of taking odds. It’s a bet on the “don’t” side; you’re hoping for the shooter to lose with a seven-out. The adjacent table shows the various payoffs.

 

Table: Taking Odds VS Laying Odds

Point

True Odds of Winning

Taking Odds (Pass)

$30 Bet Returns

Laying Odds (Don’t Pass)

$30 Bet Returns

4

2:1

$60

$15

5

3:2

$45

$20

6

6:5

$36

$25

8

6:5

$36

$25

9

3:2

$45

$20

10

2:1

$60

$15

 

Odds are allowed in multiples of the original base bet, and there is always a limit. For example, if the base bet is $10 and the allowed odds are 3X, you can take odds in any amount up to $30, and you can lay odds up to a $30 payoff.

Keep in mind that the base bet is paid 1:1, but the odds bet is always paid at the true odds of winning. Also, odds must be taken or laid on the same side as the base bet.

How much in odds can you take or lay? The limits are posted along with the other table limits on a plastic card attached to the inside wall of the craps table.

 

Odd Facts About Odds

One unusual thing about odds is that there is no place for the bets on the layout. To take odds on the pass line, put your chips directly behind the original bet (on the blank space next to the wall) after the point is made.

Laying odds on don’t pass is a bit tricky. You place the chips next to the original bet, but you “heel” the stack. That means the bottom chip is off center and the stack slants to one side. The dealer will show you how to do it. Odds bets are heeled when the payoff will be a different amount than the payoff for the flat bet. If the payoff will be the same, then the stack should be bridged instead of heeled. A bridged stack is two stacks with a third perched on top. Strange, yes? Again, the dealer will show you how it’s done.

Taking and laying odds on the come and don’t come require a dealer’s assistance. You do this by putting chips on the layout (preferably on a line that separates betting spaces.) Tell the dealer that you want “odds on the ten” or whatever. She’ll place the wager.

One of the most important things to remember about taking odds is to do it in multiples that the casino can pay. For example, if the point is 5, an incorrect bet would be $25, creating a payoff of $37.50. Not good. The casino will give you only $37. To get the full payout you must take odds in multiples of $5 when the point is 6 or 8, $2 for points 5 and 9. And any whole-dollar amount is fine for points 4 and 10.

The odds bet is one of the best in a casino. Craps played with 3X odds on the pass line brings the overall house edge (base bet and odds) down to only 0.47 percent. Find a table that gives you 10X odds, and the house edge shrinks further to 0.19 percent. That’s comparable to some of the best blackjack games, and it’s many times better than the edge on most other casinos games such as roulette (2.7 to 5.26 percent), or Three Card Poker (2.3 percent all the way up to 7.3 percent).

Odds may be odd, but they’re very good bets. You should check them out.

 

Basil Nestor is author of The Smarter Bet Guide to Poker, The Smarter Bet Guide to Blackjack, and other comprehensive gambling guides. Got a question? Visit SmarterBet.com and drop him a line.

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