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Best of Mark Pilarski

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The odds way of staying even

6 December 2002

Dear Mark,
Per your advice, I gave the game of craps a try. Initially I started with a lone pass line bet, and then when winning, I added a place bet on the 6 or 8. I think it is time to graduate to the next level and add odds to my pass line wager. Could you please give us relatively new players to the game of craps an explanation on how to make an odds bet? Mary P.

As so often expounded in this column, Mary, when you make a pass-line wager or place the 6 or 8, you are making one of the better wagers the house has to offer. But by taking it to the next level with an odds bet, you really hook into one of the best bets offered in casino craps.

You may be surprised, Mary, at just how easy it is to make an odds bet, and to make craps more fiscally rewarding, here are some simple fundamentals.

Once the shooter establishes a point, you simply place your odds wager behind your pass-line bet. If you are a don't pass bettor, you make a don't pass odds bet by placing chips on top of, but a little to the side of your original bet.

The dealer will instantly recognize from that chip placement that you are taking odds, and will check to make sure you are placing the correct allowed amount.

As you know, an odds bet is an additional bet that complements your pass line or don't pass wager. And although your original pass-line or don't pass wager pays only even money for a win, the odds bet will pay at the "true odds" rate for the bet you've made.

The casino has absolutely no edge on these bets. Yep, Mary, you're reading it right. The house has zippo advantage over an odds wager.

Odds increase your overall payback percentage. The amount you win depends on what the point is, and how difficult it is to repeat it. For example, if you are a pass line bettor, and the point is 4, you will receive a 2 to 1 payment on your odds bet. Don't bother figuring out what your odds payoffs are. Your friendly dealer will figure them for you, based on the following.

The Point The Payout
6 or 8 6 to 5
5 or 9 3 to 2
4 or 10 2 to 1

Most casinos offer double odds, which means they allow you to make an odds bet that is twice as large as your original pass-line bet. Taking double odds lowers the house edge to .61% on your total action (your pass line bet with odds); compare this to the 1.5% advantage the house has over your pass-line bet alone. Some casinos even offer up to 10 times odds.

Initially, Mary, I recommend that you confine your odds excursion to just a pass line bet with odds. Once you feel comfortable with those wagers, you may want to try an additional come bet or two with odds.

Gambling quote of the week: "The likelihood of lining up four Megabucks symbols is somewhere in the cosmos between Jupiter and Mars, and even a spokesman at IGT would not admit to the mathematical probability of hitting one of the blasted things." Barney Vinson

Recent Articles
Best of Mark Pilarski
Mark Pilarski

As a recognized authority on casino gambling, Mark Pilarski survived 18 years in the casino trenches, working for seven different casinos. Mark now writes a nationally syndicated gambling column, is a university lecturer, author, reviewer and contributing editor for numerous gaming periodicals, and is the creator of the best-selling, award-winning audiocassette series on casino gambling, Hooked on Winning.
Mark Pilarski
As a recognized authority on casino gambling, Mark Pilarski survived 18 years in the casino trenches, working for seven different casinos. Mark now writes a nationally syndicated gambling column, is a university lecturer, author, reviewer and contributing editor for numerous gaming periodicals, and is the creator of the best-selling, award-winning audiocassette series on casino gambling, Hooked on Winning.