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Best of John Grochowski

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What's so free about free odds?

30 March 2017

QUESTION: Why are free odds in craps called “free”? You still have to pay to make the bet.

ANSWER: The “free” is meant to designate that the bet pays at true odds and that there is no tax, commission or other method of giving the house an edge. Regardless of whether you’re a pass or come bettor taking the odds or a don’t pass or don’t com bettor laying the odds, there is no house edge.

Of course, the house is still making money, because you have to make a wager with a house edge to get the opportunity to make the no-edge odds bet.

The term “free odds” has been used for many decades, long before I started playing in casinos. When I’m talking with craps players, I’ll usually just say “the odds” and skip the “free.” The overwhelming majority of people who read this column are not craps players. Judging by my email, they’re slot players first, then blackjack and video poker players, then craps, roulette, Three Card Poker and others. With that in mind, I write “free odds” to signal we’re talking about the free odds bet and not just the odds of the game.


QUESTION:. You’ve written that Mississippi Stud has a house edge of 1.37%. Wizardofodds.com says the house edge is 4.91%. That’s very, very different. Which is it?

ANSWER: When I write about Mississippi Stud, I give the house edge as 4.91% of the ante or 1.37% of total action. Michael Shackleford lists the house edge as 4.91% with an element of risk of 1.37%. We’re saying the same thing with different terminology.

Average losses per hand come to 4.91% of the ante. However, when additional bets after you see cards are taken into account, total wagers per hand for basic strategy players average 3.59 times the ante. Average losses come to 1.37% of that bet total – hence the two different figures.


QUESTION: I play a lot at home on Facebook apps – Slotomania, Caesars, Jackpot Party, Mirrorball, Heart of Vegas. They’re kind of fun and I mostly multitask, playing while I’m watching television. So far, I’ve just taken the free credits, and when I run out on one app I play on a different one.

You can get more free credits every few hours anyway. These popups keep advertising credits you can buy. One was something like 2 million credits for $2. I think if I had 2 million credits I’d never run out.

What do you think? Is it worth it to buy credits for these games?

ANSWER: Would you find $2 worth of entertainment value in the credits? That’s really what it comes down to. I can’t tell you if it’s worth $2 to you to buy credits any more than I could tell you it’s worth the price to go to a movie, a play, a museum or a basketball game.

Players are divided into camps on this issue. There are those who think it nonsensical to spend money on credits when they can collect free credits in multiple social casinos. Others don’t mind spending a few dollars for extended play in their favorites and increased chances to move up in level to collect increased free credits and other perks. Enough players fall into the latter camp that Slotomania and others survive as businesses.

Credits in such social casinos can’t be redeemed for cash. You can’t win actual money. It’s all about entertainment, and only you can decide whether buying credit adds enough extra entertainment value to be worth your while.
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:

> 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