The “Free Odds” Bet in Craps

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I know what you’re thinking. When it comes to casino games, including craps, nothing is free, so what’s this “Free Odds” bet? Sounds like something you’d want to take advantage of, right? Absolutely! We explain the Free Odds bet in detail in our other articles about the Pass Line and Don’t Pass bets, but we wanted to summarize the material in a separate article because many of our readers want to know the basics without digging into the details. Therefore, the following is a summary, and if you want the details, please refer to our other articles in which we teach you how to play craps.

The craps “Free Odds” bet is unusual because it’s the only bet on the table that doesn’t have a house advantage. Yes, you read that correctly…zero house advantage. The catch is (yes, there’s a catch, you didn’t think the casino was going to give you an opportunity to break even, did you?) that the Free Odds bet must be played in conjunction with another bet, either the Pass, Don’t Pass, Come, or Don’t Come. When adding the Free Odds bets to one of these “flat” bets, the casino still maintains its advantage over you, but their advantage is very small compared to most other bets on the table.

The approximate house advantages for these bets are as follows (they’re approximate because of rounding):

  • Pass Line or Come alone (i.e., no additional Free Odds bet) = 1.4%.
  • Don’t Pass or Don’t Come alone = 1.4%.
  • Pass or Come with Single Odds = 0.8%
  • Don’t Pass or Don’t Come with Single Odds = 0.7%.
  • Pass or Come with Double Odds = 0.6%.
  • Don’t Pass or Don’t Come with Double Odds = 0.5%.

As you can deduce, the more Odds you bet, the more you lower the casino’s advantage, but you’ll never be able to lower their advantage to zero. Remember, to make the Odds bet, you must first bet the flat Pass, Don’t Pass, Come, or Don’t Come, so when you combine the Odds bet with a flat bet, the casino always has an advantage (albeit comparatively small).

The “Free Odds” bet has zero house advantage because the casino pays true odds for this bet. That is, they don’t build profit into their payoff odds. (Refer to our other lessons on basic craps math to learn how the casino gets their edge by paying “casino” odds instead of true odds.) The true odds are based on the number of ways to roll the point number against the number of ways to roll a 7.

We know from our lesson on basic craps math that there are:

  • Six ways to roll a 7.
  • Five ways to roll a 6 or 8.
  • Four ways to roll a 5 or 9.
  • Three ways to roll a 4 or 10.

Consequently, the true-odds payoffs are:

  • 6:5 for the 6 and 8.
  • 3:2 for the 5 and 9.
  • 2:1 for 4 and 10.

The casino limits the amount of Odds you can bet, and those limits vary among casinos. Common among many casinos is a limit of 5x Odds (pronounced “5 times Odds”). Some casinos have 10x, 25x, and even as much as 100x. The “times” means you multiply the flat bet (e.g., the Pass or Come) by the Odds limit to determine the maximum Odds you’re allowed to bet. For example, supposed your favorite casino allows up to 5x Odds, and suppose you make a $5 flat Pass Line bet. In this example, the maximum amount of Odds you can bet is $25 (i.e., 5 x your $5 Pass bet = $25 in Odds). Let’s see if you’re paying attention. Suppose the casino allows up to 25x Odds and you make a $7 Pass Line bet.

What’s the maximum amount of Odds you can take to go along with your Pass Line bet? Very good! That’s right, it’s $175 (i.e., your $7 Pass Line bet x 25 = $175). The maximum allowable Odds are usually posted on the placard hanging on the inside wall of the table. If you can’t see the placard or if it isn’t posted, simply ask the dealer what the maximum is. Some casinos step up the maximum Odds depending on the point number. For example, “3-4-5x Odds,” usually means you can bet 3x Odds on the 4 or 10, 4x Odds on the 5 or 9, and 5x Odds on the 6 or 8. Check out some great online casinos such as Sunpalace, Casino Max, or slotsplus.

Let’s look at a simple scenario to see how the flat and Free Odds bets work together.

  1. Following a 7-out to end the game, the stickman prepares to push the dice to the next shooter. You make a $10 flat Pass Line bet by putting two red $5 chips in the Pass Line directly in front of you.
  1. The shooter rolls a 6, so the point for this game is 6. You glance down at the placard to see that the table’s maximum allowable Odds are 10x. Your gut tells you that the table is heating up because the table is crowded and noisy, and the players’ chip racks are filling up with red and green chips. You decide to bet the full 10x Odds by placing $100 (i.e., your $10 Pass Line bet x 10 = $100) in chips behind the line (i.e., in the apron about an inch behind your Pass Line bet).
  1. The shooter immediately hits a 6 on the next roll. Woohoo! Winner, winner! You shout to the shooter, “What took you so long?”
  1. The dealer pays you by placing $10 in chips next to your Pass Line bet (it pays off at even money), and then $120 in chips next to your Odds bet (it pays off at true odds, which are 6:5 for the point of 6, so you win $120 for your $100 Free Odds bet).

Reminder: For details and help in understanding these basics, refer to our lessons on basic craps math and the Pass Line bet. You can now go to the page that we list the craps bets or You can now head over to the table of contents to find more great content.

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Comments 9

    1. Hello,

      As explained in our other article “The Don’t Pass Bet” (, the Don’t Pass bettor must go through the come-out roll (that’s how the casino maintains it’s slight edge), so you must make the Don’t Pass Flat bet before the come-out roll. Once the come-out roll has been made, you can then take down the Don’t Pass Flat bet anytime you want. As stated in the Don’t Pass bet article, the casino actually WANTS you to take it down because the Don’t Pass Flat bet has a player advantage after the come-out roll. Read more about the don’t pass bet on this page:

  1. Thanks for your questions. Let’s address them one at a time.
    “If I’m the shooter and I bet the Don’t Pass, and then establish a point, do I lose my shooting privilege? If I lay Odds on the point and win by 7-out, do I keep the dice or does a new shooter come out?” If you establish a point as a Don’t shooter, you continue shooting and hope for a 7-out to win your Don’t Pass. Whether or not you lay Odds against the point has no impact on your shooting privilege. In other words, if you make a flat Don’t Pass bet as the shooter, you continue shooting until you 7-out or until you decide to give up the dice. Even if you make the point and lose your Don’t Pass bet, you continue shooting as long as you make another flat bet. After a 7-out (even if you’re the shooter and win your Don’t Pass bet by rolling a 7-out), the dice move to the next player to the left who wants to shoot. By the way, for the Don’t Pass, the lay Odds amount is not simply your Odds bet amount times your multiplier. Using your example, suppose you want to lay 5x Odds. Remember from our article on the Don’t Pass bet that the Odds multiple is based on the win amount, not the bet amount. So, with a $15 flat Don’t Pass bet, if you want to lay 5x Odds, then you lay enough so you win $75. Therefore, if you want to lay 5x Odds with a $15 flat Don’t Pass bet, then you lay $90, not $75. The true odds for the 6 and 8 are 6:5; therefore, you lay $90 to win $75 (i.e., $90 divided by 6 = $15 x 5 = $75). Remember, as explained in our article on the Don’t Pass bet, you have to lay more Odds to win a lesser amount.
    “Do I position my lay Odds chips to the left or right of my Don’t Pass flat bet?” When heeling your Odds bet, your Don’t Pass lay Odds go on the side “closest” to the dealer. So, if you’re at the table to the right of the stickman (i.e., the stickman is to your left), then your heeled lay Odds chips go to the right of your flat Don’t Pass chip(s); and if you’re to the left of the stickman (i.e., the stickman is to your right), then your heeled lay Odds chips go to the left of your flat Don’t Pass chip(s). The reason is that the dealer pays your Don’t Pass Odds bet first and then pays your flat Don’t Pass bet. For example, suppose you stand in player position #8 with the dealer to your right and the stickman to your left. Your heeled Odds bet is positioned to the right of your flat Don’t Pass bet (i.e., your Odds chips are “closer” to the dealer than your flat bet chips). When your Don’t Pass bet wins, the dealer wants to pay your Odds bet first and then pay your flat bet, so the first stack of chips he comes to should be your heeled Odds bet, which means it must be to the right of your flat bet. If that’s confusing, then draw it on a piece of paper to help make sense of it. NOTE: When bridging your Odds bet, the position of your chips doesn’t matter for obvious reasons (we invite you to review our material on bridging and heeling the Don’t Pass lay Odds).
    “It seemed that my dealer was constantly moving my lay Odds bet, checking if amounts were divisible.” Our experience is, no matter how correctly or neatly you stack your heeled Don’t Pass Odds chips, the dealer is going to fiddle with them in some manner. Even if they’re on the correct side of your flat-bet chips, he’ll move them closer to or farther away from the flat bet; or he’ll change the angle at which they’re heeled; or something. He does this for various reasons, some of which include: personal preference (e.g., spacing, angle of the heel), check to ensure the correct bet amount in the correct multiple is laid, and check to ensure the higher denominations are on the bottom. If you know your chips are positioned correctly, don’t fret about the dealer fiddling with them. 9 times out of 10 he’s going to touch them no matter what, so just let him have his fun.
    “Is there a vig for laying odds through the Don’t Come? Is it 5%? And is it taken after win or lose?” The Odds bet related Don’t Pass, Don’t Come, Pass, and Come bets are all “free Odds” bets. There is no vig associated with these free Odds bets. The casino pays true odds without taking any vig. We invite you to review our material on the free Odds. NOTE: When laying Odds for a Don’t Come bet, the dealer positions your Odds chips (i.e., you don’t position them). Simply drop the chips for your lay bet in the Come box and the dealer will then pick them up and move them to the Don’t Come box adjacent to your flat Don’t Come chip(s). Good luck, and have fun at the tables!

  2. If a casino had 25x odds and you bet say 5 on pass line, and the max odds of 125 what would the house edge be on that? The pass is 1.4 percent, but how much lower does it go by maxing out the odds bet? Never down to zero, but how much better does it get

    1. As noted in other responses to various other posts, we don’t do math problems for our readers because, if we did, we’d be spending all of our spare time calculating house advantages for every “what if” scenario our readers can dream up, including house advantages for wacky systems that involve multiple combinations of bets and bet amounts. The article shows the house advantages for Pass Line only, with 1x Odds, and with 2x Odds, so you can see that the reduction is not linear. We provide the basics for calculating house advantage in other articles and we leave it up to the reader to take it from there. In this case, the calculation isn’t worth the time because the result won’t reveal any earth-shattering information that would influence your play. You can deduce that the house advantage would be a little lower, but remember, it will never get to zero. Besides, do you honestly have the bankroll to play 125x Odds at a $5 table? A reasonable rule of thumb for a bankroll per session is, let’s say, 10x your planned Odds bet. For example, if you play a $5 table and plan to make 2x Odds bets, then a reasonable bankroll for that session is $100 (i.e., $10 Odds bet x 10 = $100). So, if you plan on playing 25x Odds, then a reasonable bankroll for that session is, let’s say, $1,250 (i.e., $125 x 10 = $1,250). My off-the-top-of-my-head guess is, on average, only 1 out of every 500 craps players has and plays that kind of bankroll. Decreasing the house advantage by a few tenths or hundredths of a percent probably wouldn’t make you decide to change from playing 2x Odds to 125x Odds, unless you have the bankroll (if you have that kind of bankroll, then you can probably stomach making $125 Odds bets). But if you don’t have the bankroll, it’s seriously unwise to mortgage the house just so you can slightly reduce the house advantage. Good luck and have fun at the tables!

      1. yeah I see your point. I just wondered roughly do the odds go up or down drastically, but I guess the answer is not at all. Its still practically the -1.4 percent in house favor. I thought higher odds might lower the house edge a lot closer to 0

  3. I apologize if the answer or discussion of this question is located elsewhere. I have looked as best I could.
    Overall, would it be better to take winnings from placed points (e.g. 6,8) and increase my odds until I reach the max odds? Or do your ‘recommended’ strategy of taking the winnings from (e.g. 6,8) to place the other inside numbers (5,9,)?

    1. Jason, it’s impossible to say whether one way is better than the other. It all depends on your risk tolerance, your gut feeling, whether you’ve noticed any trends at the table, your bankroll, how drunk you are, etc. Remember, the sole purpose of the “strategy” or “system” that we regularly play is to hopefully have enough stamina for two reasons (i.e., stamina means maximizing our time at the table): (1) we love the fun and excitement that the game provides us, and (2) we hope we’re at the table long enough to be there when a hot roll appears. If we weren’t interested in fun and excitement, we’d play Pass Line with Single Odds all the time until a hot role appears, but for us, that’s not fun (actually, we find it quite boring). So, to optimize our fun, excitement, and stamina, we play the craps basic strategy detailed in our other article. As noted in that article, we do, indeed, deviate from the basics based on different factors. For example, if our chip stack is low, instead of strictly alternating from taking profit to pressing, we’ll take profit 3 or 4 times in a row to build up our chip stack. And it’s a gut feeling whether we take profit 2, 3, 4, or 5 times in a row before pressing. If the shooter has rolled 25 times hitting multiple numbers without hitting the point, then maybe you’d want to cover all the Place numbers instead of increasing the Odds bet. If you’ve noticed a trend where the 6 or 8 hits every other roll, then maybe you’d want to press the 6 and 8 a couple of times before covering the other Place numbers or increasing your Odds. It’s all (pardon the pun) a crap shoot. It’s a gut feeling. The outcomes are random, but as our other articles describe, trends do appear. So, why not take advantage of them if you’re lucky enough to recognize them? The bottom line is that your bankroll plays a big part in what strategy you use (e.g., if you have an unlimited bankroll, then you can make all kinds of stupid proposition bets and have fun doing it). Then, after considering your bankroll, you need to decide if you’re playing for the fun and excitement of the game or whether you’re playing to minimize your losses (or for whatever reason you’re playing). For example, if all you’re doing is trying to minimize your losses, then play Pass Line with Single Odds (and plan on being bored most of the time). If you’re playing for the fun and excitement, then figure out what “strategy” gives you the most fun and excitement while maximizing your stamina. If adding to your Odds bet is more fun and exciting for you than covering all the Place numbers, then go for it. For us, there’s more excitement and anticipation covering the Place numbers because there are more numbers that can win for the basically the same amount of money at risk (i.e., the money at risk is basically the same whether you load up the Odds bet or Place the outside numbers, but by Placing the outside numbers we have more numbers that can win on each roll, which adds to our excitement). Good luck and, more importantly, have fun at the tables!

  4. I would like to know if I could place a $30 pass line odds bet after the roll on a $30 don”t pass line bet.

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