An Odds bet can be made if a player already has a bet on the Pass line, Don’t pass line, Come or Don’t come. It is an additional bet, and is usually limited to 2 or 3 times the original wager.
“The act of making odds bets is called either taking or laying odds.” The Pass Line, Don’t Pass, Come, and Don’t Come bets are the heart of craps and all possess some common properties. They are standing bets, meaning they can either win, lose, or stand (remain in play) depending on the roll of the dice. Unlike one-roll bets, standing bets may remain in play indefinitely until their particular winning or losing numbers are rolled.
Each of these bets has two components:
- A flat (primary) bet – made before a point is established.
- An odds (secondary) bet – allowed only after a point is established.
When you first make a flat bet, the next roll of the dice determines 1 of 2 things:
- If a natural is rolled, the bet either wins, loses, or stands-off.
- If a point number is rolled, a point is established and marked by the dealer.
For Pass Line and Don’t Pass bets, the point is marked with the marker buck and is known as the shooter’s point. For Come and Don’t Come bets, the point is marked by picking up the bet and moving it to the appropriately numbered point-box and is known as the Come point or Don’t Come point. Rolling then continues until a 7 is rolled or the point is rolled again.
Naturals are the numbers 2, 3, 7, 11, and 12. They only affect flat bets before their points are established and are ignored afterwards. The Do bets (Pass Line and Come), win on naturals of 7 or 11, and lose on 2, 3, or 12. The Don’t bets (Don’t Pass and Don’t Come), are almost a mirror image. They win on naturals of 2 or 3 and lose on 7 or 11. The difference is 12 which results in a stand-off – neither a win nor a loss.
Point numbers are the numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10. Once a point is established, the fate of the wager changes into a contest between rolling the same number again and rolling a 7. For the Do bets rolling the same number results in a win, and rolling a 7 results in a loss. For the Don’t bets the opposite is true – rolling the number again results in a loss and rolling a 7 results in a win.
Yes, that’s right – all these bets can both win and lose on a roll of 7 – depending on whether it’s rolled before or after a point is established!
On the come-out roll for the Pass Line, or the initial roll for a Come bet, the player enjoys a 2 to 1 advantage over the house with 8 rolls that win (six – 7’s plus two – 11’s) versus 4 rolls that lose (one – 2, two -3’s, plus one – 12). However, after a point is established, the advantage swings back to the house because now no matter what point has been established, there are fewer ways to repeat it and win than there are ways to roll a 7 and lose. This means that on average you’ll lose these bets whenever a point is established, and also explains why the house won’t let you remove them once established. If they allowed you to only make bets when you had the advantage and then remove them when you didn’t – they’d go broke in a heart beat!
For the Don’t Pass and Don’t Come bets nearly the reverse is true. On the come-out roll for the Don’t Pass, or the initial roll for the Don’t Come bet, the house has the advantage of 8 to 3. However, after a point has been established, the advantage swings to the player! Now there are more ways to roll a 7 and win than there are ways to repeat the established number and lose. So on average you’ll win these bets whenever a point is established. This explains why the house would be more than happy to let you remove them from the table. After all they’re in business to make money and have no qualms about letting you relinquish your well-earned advantage.
The house pays flat bets at even-money and odds bets at the true odds of the point rolled. You don’t have to bet the odds if you don’t want to, but they’re actually the best bets on the table because by themselves, they have no house advantage. That’s not to say they swing the advantage in your favor – the house still has the edge when you combine them with the flat bets you’re obliged to make. But since any other bet on the layout exposes you to even more of the house advantage, a bet with no advantage is a good deal! In essence, the larger the odds bet is allowed to be, the smaller the house’s edge becomes. You can’t eliminate the edge, but you can whittle it down. For this reason you should always bet full odds when able and play at tables that offer the largest odds factors.
Since odds bets have no house advantage or disadvantage, you may place or remove them at any time (or call them ON of OFF at anytime). Additionally, Come Odds bets are automatically considered OFF (not working) on the come-out roll unless you call them ON.
Curiously, odds bets are not depicted anywhere on the layout. So where do they go?
The Pass Line Odds bet is placed next to the Pass Line bet in the open area of the table (apron). This is called behind the line. The Come Odds bets are placed on top of their flat bets and slightly offset. This of course is done by the dealer.
The Don’t Pass Odds, and Don’t Come Odds bets are placed next to their flat bets and either bridged or heeled. If the payoff for one of these odds bets will be the same amount as the payoff for the flat bet, then the odds bet is bridged. This means that a portion of the odds bet, equal to the flat bet, is placed adjacent to the flat bet and the remainder is placed on top, bridging both of them . On the other hand, if the odds payoff is not the same as the flat bet then the odds bet is heeled. This means that one check is placed adjacent to the flat bet and the remaining checks are placed on top of that check – offset and tilted. For example, on a $10 Don’t Pass bet that has been established on the number 6, an odds bet of $12 would have the same payoff as the flat bet ($10) and therefore should be bridged. But an odds bet of $30 would have a payoff of $25 and therefore should be heeled. Clear as mud? Don’t worry – the dealer will make sure you do it right, and you’ll get the hang of it quickly.
Odds bets – great craps
Laying odds is one of the best things players can do when playing craps. The simple reason for that is that the house doesn’t have an advantage on that money. Therefore I usually make odds bets when I get the chance to.
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