I've played craps a bit in Vegas and usually see max odds at 3x, 4x, 5x. In the new Cleveland Horseshoe casino the max odds bet is 100x. The tables are usually at $15 minimum bet, sometimes $10. How does the house edge vary, and what is the best way to play, with these odds?
In a random game of craps, the lowest house edge is typically the pass/come bet at 1.41 percent without odds. This means that for every $10 bet on the pass line you will lose 14 cents on average in the long run. Since odds have no house edge you will still lose 14 cents for each $10 pass/come bet regardless of how much is bet in odds.
You didn’t mention your normal betting spread but let’s assume it is about $150. If playing in Vegas, you could bet a pass line bet for $10 with $30, $40 or $50 odds depending on the number. You could then bet two additional come bets for $10 with $30, $40 or $50 odds. This would total $120 to $180 depending on the numbers. Your long term results for these three bets would be a loss of 14 cents each or about 42 cents.
If you were to bet the same $150 in Cleveland, I would recommend a minimum pass line bet of $10 or $15 and the remainder of the $150 in odds.
The advantage of betting in this fashion is you would be lose only 14 or 21 cents (depending on whether it was a $10 or $15 pass line bet) in the long run or, put another way, one-third to one-half the amount lost in Vegas.
There are, however, a couple of disadvantages to betting this way.
By betting all your money on one number, variance is higher. You will either win or lose your entire spread. With three bets working you have the potential of winning or losing zero, one, two, or three bets. Usually it will not be all or nothing so your bankroll will fluctuate less. However, if you are truly playing with money you can afford to lose (and this is the only way to play), the fluctuations should not cause a problem.
Also, because you only have one number in play, there will not be a lot of action. You may wait for a very long time before your pass line bet is resolved. Action in craps comes at a cost. If you are willing to pay the price for more action (and you ultimately will), bet on more numbers. But, if you want to keep more of your hard-earned money, one pass line bet with all the odds you can comfortably afford is the way to go.
May all your wins be swift and large and all your losses slow and tiny.
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