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# Free Lunch, No. Free Odds, Yes!

11 July 2001

You may have been warned that there's no such thing as a free lunch, but the next time you stop by the craps table in your favorite casino you should know that there is such a thing as "Free Odds." The odds we're talking about here are called free because the house takes no edge on them. Customers play the casino even-up on the bet and the pay-offs are made at true mathematical odds. It's the best bet the casino has to offer.

In order to take advantage of the Odds bet, you must have a Line bet on the table, either on the Pass or the Don't Pass (or on the Come or Don't Come). I've explored the world of "wrong" (Don't) betting at craps the last two weeks. Today I continue my series by explaining how playing odds is essential to taking advantage of the money making opportunities at dice.

First, a brief review: When you make a bet on the Pass Line on the comeout roll, you win even money if the roll is 7 or 11, you lose if the roll is 2, 3, or 12, and you have a contract bet if the roll is a point (4,5,6,8,9, or 10). If the shooter rolls the point number again before a 7 you win even money. When you make a bet on Don't pass on the comeout roll, you win even money if the roll is 2 or 3, you lose if the roll is 7 or 11, it's a "push" if the roll is 12, and the bet remains to be decided if it's a point. If the shooter rolls a seven before the point number, you win even money.

If in fact you've bet the Pass Line and a point is rolled on the comeout, you automatically become the underdog to win that bet because the odds are 2 to 1 against you that a 4 or 10 will be rolled before a 7; 3 to 2 against you that a 5 or 9 will be rolled before a 7; and 6 to 5 against you that a 6 or 8 will be rolled before a 7. You can't pick the bet up and you'll only be paid even money if you win.

If, on the other hand, you've made a Don't Pass bet and you've survived the comeout roll, you automatically become the favorite to win your bet because the odds are 1 to 2 in your favor that a 7 will be rolled before a 4 or 10; 2 to 3 in your favor that a 7 will be rolled before a 5 or 9; and 5 to 6 in your favor that a 7 will be rolled before a 6 or 8. You can pick up the bet anytime you want and you'll be paid even money if you win.

No matter what side of the dice you play, you are not taking full advantage of the game unless you make an Odds bet to go along with your Pass Line bet or your Don't Pass bet. There's no indication in writing for the wager on the layout. But it's there. Casinos vary as to what Odds they offer. Some have Double Odds, some 5-times Odds, 10-Times Odds, 20-Times Odds, and in the case of the Empress properties in Joliet and Hammond, 100-Times Odds. What this indicates is the maximum Odds you can bet in relation to your Pass Line or Don't Pass bet.

For example, if you've got \$5 on the line, you can bet up to \$10 in odds at a Double Odds table, \$25 at a 5-Times table, \$50 at a 10-Times table, \$100 at a 20-Times table, and \$500 at a 100-Times table. If you win your bet, you'll be paid even money for the Pass Line or Don't Pass, but you'll be paid true mathematical odds, depending on the point, for your Odds bet!

For purposes of illustration, let's say we place a \$5 Pass Line bet. The shooter rolls a 4 on the comeout roll. Even though the odds are 2 to 1 against our winning the bet, we'll only be paid even money if in fact a 4 is rolled before a 7 (there are three ways to make a 4 but 6 ways to make a 7). But if we make a \$10 odds bet in addition to the \$5 we have on the line, we'll be paid 2 to 1 for that bet if we win it, or \$20.

What if we had that \$5 chip on Don't Pass and the shooter rolled that same 4 on the comeout? The odds are 1 to 2 in our favor we'll win the bet and we'll be paid even money if we do. If you wish to sweeten the bet by placing odds, you can put an extra \$10 in chips out there to win \$5 if that 7 is rolled before the 4.

Even though betting the Pass Line and Don't Pass are two of the very best bets you can make in a casino, you can make the wager even more attractive and, in the process, trim the edge, however slim it is, that the house holds against you, by taking advantage of Free Odds.

Here's a table to help you remember what to wager if you are betting double odds:

 Pass Line Don't Pass Point Odds Bet To Win Odds Bet To Win 4 or 10 \$10 \$20 \$10 \$5 5 or 9 \$10 \$15 \$15 \$10 6 or 8 \$10 \$12 \$12 \$10
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Best of John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

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John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.