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Free odds payoffs make perfect sense

24 September 2010

For those who understand the possibilities, the payoffs on free odds wagers in craps make perfect sense.

Given two six-sided dice, there are 36 possible rolls. Six of those rolls total 7 and are losers on pass or come bets, and also losers on the free odds. There are five ways to roll 6, and five ways to roll 8. So the odds against winning with 6 as your number are 6-5.

The payoff on a free odds wager on 6 or 8? Yep, 6-5.

There are four ways each to roll 5 or 9, leading to 6-4 — reduced to 3-2 — payoffs on the free odds, and there are three ways each to roll 4 or 10, for 6-3 — or 2-1 — odds and payoffs.

There is no house edge on the free odds, which can be made only by those who have a pass or come wager working after a point has been established. If you're permitted to bet only as much on the odds as you have on pass or come, it's referred to as "single odds." Twice as much, and you have double odds. Some casinos permit as much as 100x odds, and I've even seen 200x odds.

You want to make the odds wagers so they can be paid off in whole dollars. That's something that's mainly an issue at low limits, as a reader new to craps pointed out. He'd found a table with $2 minimum bets, and wanted to know what to do with the free odds.

"On a $2 bet with the point 5 or 9 (3-2 odds) would a singles odds bet be $3 and a double odds be $6 and so on? How about a 6 or 8 (6-5 odds). Is it $6 on single and $12 on double?"

He had it backwards. For a free odds wager on 5 or 9, any multiple of $2 will work. Your winners are paid $3 for every $2 you wager. When the point is 6 or 8, you want to bet in multiples of $5 to be paid $6 for every $5 wagered.

But yes, unless the casino stocks its tables with dimes and nickels to make odd payoffs, you want to make sure your bet can be paid in whole dollars.

Let's say you wager $2 in free odds with a point number of 6. On winners, a 6-5 payoff would mean your bet should pay $2.40. Most casinos just aren't going to make change like that. Instead, they'll just pay you $2 and you're out the 40 cents.

That's no longer a bet with no house edge. It's a bet with a whopping 9.1% edge.

Few casinos restrict you to single odds. Among the most common offerings are 3x-4x-5x odds, where your odds wager can be three times your pass or come bet on 4 or 10, four times on 5 or 9 and five times on 6 or 8. That makes for a handy little outcome that makes life easy on dealers. Back a $5 pass bet with 3x odds when the point is 4 or 10, and the 2-1 payoff on your $15 wager is $30. On 5 or 9, with 4x odds of $20, your payoff is $30. And on 6 or 8, with 5x odds of $25, your payoff is — what else? — $30.

For the dealers, calculating the payoffs is easy, fast and enables them to keep the game moving.

But should you find a low-minimum, single odds game, it still will nearly always allow you to size your bet for a whole-dollar payoff. It's to your advantage to do just that.

** * ** * **

Sizing your bets appropriately also is a factor on place bets. These don't pay at true odds. Place bets on 4 or 10 pay 9-5 instead of 2-1, bets on 5 or 9 pay 7-5 instead of 3-2, and bets on 6 or 8 pay 7-6 instead of 6-5.

Betting in multiples of $5 is easy enough to collect the full payoffs on 4 or 10, or on 5 or 9. But with the place bets on 6 or 8, it's necessary to bet in multiples of $6. Place $6 on 6, and if the shooter rolls a 6 before the next 7, you collect $7 in winnings. If you bet just $5, the dealer won't pay you at 7-6 odds. That means scrambling for change to make $5.83. He'll pay even money.

That's a huge difference. With 7-6 payoffs, the house edge on place bets on 6 or 8 is 1.52 percent. With even-money payoffs, the house edge is 9.1%.

A place bet on 6 or 8 wins an average of five times per 11 trials. In an average 11 trials, if you bet $5 on 6 and I bet $6, you'll risk $55 and lose $5, while I'll risk $66 but lose only $1. There's no need for you to spot the house that extra edge.

Recent Articles
Best of John Grochowski
John Grochowski

John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

The Craps Answer Book

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski