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HOME > STRATEGY > Strategies & Tips > Odds bets at craps

Odds bets at craps

2 March 2019

By Jerry Stickman

Hello Jerry,

Enjoy the craps articles by you, Frank and others on Casino City Times. Have read many of Frank's books. I have played craps for many years, 5 count, dice influence (at least try!) and all sorts of other ways of try to get ahead.

The one thing that still gets and puzzles me is how adding odds behind a pass line bet lowers the house advantage from 1.41% to say under 1.0 % or even less.

To me, it seems the pass line bet is two distinct phases.

The come out when the pass line has the advantage for me but just at even money. However, after the point is established, the house then has then advantage against the point being made. So, to add more money, even at true odds, seems like you are adding more money to risk when the house has the advantage.

That being said, I do play single or double odds on outside numbers because if I hit those damn numbers, I like the 3 to 2 or 2 to 1 extra payoff.

So, can you explain how adding more money when you are at a disadvantage is actually lowering the house edge?


Hi Doug,

First, I would like to let you know that you are not alone when it comes to being confused about how odds can lower the house edge. The answer, however, is quite simple. The odds portion of a bet has zero house edge – actually zero edge for anybody. The odds portion of a bet is paid at the actual odds of the bet. Since, as you stated, the house has the edge after a point is established, diluting the house edge on the base portion of the bet by putting money on a zero-edge bet will lower the overall house edge.

Say you bet $10 on the pass line and the point becomes 4. The true odds are 2-to-1 against the player. However, the house pays only 1-to-1 on the base portion of the pass line bet. The house edge at this point in time is 33 1/3% on $10, or about $3.33.

Now let’s say you add $20 for odds (which has a 0% edge) behind your $10 pass line bet. Yes, you do have more money at risk — you now have a total of $30 at risk. The house will win $3.33 on the base portion and $0 on the odds — on average.

To calculate the overall edge, divide the total average loss by the total money at risk. $3.33 divided by $30 = 0.111111, or about 11%. While nothing changes on the base portion of the pass line bet, the total money at risk is increased at zero house edge causing the house edge on the TOTAL amount to be reduced. Specifically, a $3.33 loss on $10 bet = 33 1/3% house edge, a $3.33 loss on $30 bet = 11 1/9% house edge.

It is true. Adding odds to a pass line or come bet will increase the total money at risk. This will increase the volatility of the game (there are higher peaks and valleys to your bankroll), but the overall long-term loss per dollar played will decrease. Never bet more than you are comfortable losing.

If you are comfortable with losing only $5 per hand, forget about adding odds to your bet. However, if you are okay with losing $15 per hand, rather than making three pass/come bets, make one $5 pass/come bet and back it with $10 in odds. Betting this way decreases the house edge from 1.41% to 0.61% of the total of $15 bet.

You have a better chance of leaving the table as a winner, and a much better chance of playing longer by doing so.

May all your wins be swift and large and all your losses slow and small.

Jerry “Stickman”

Jerry “Stickman” is an expert in craps, blackjack and video poker and advantage slot machine play. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. He authored the video poker section of Everything Casino Poker: Get the Edge at Video Poker, Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo, and Pai Gow Poker! You can contact Jerry “Stickman” at stickmanjerry@aol.com.

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at fscobe@optonline.net.

Jerry Stickman
Jerry  Stickman
Jerry "Stickman" is an expert in dice control at craps, blackjack, advantage slots and video poker. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. The "Stickman" is also a certified instructor for Golden Touch Craps dice control classes and Golden Touch Blackjack's advantage classes. He also teaches a course in advantage-play slots and video poker. For more information visit www.goldentouchcraps.com or www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 1-800-944-0406 for a free brochure. You can contact Jerry "Stickman" at stickmanGTC@aol.com.

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