Get better odds at craps in casinos

Playing craps can be confusing, but with a quick guide around the table and what's going on in the dealer's head, you'll be on your way to shooting with the rest of the players.

Get better odds at craps in casinos

"The bets to stay away from at the craps table are the ones the dealers try to get you to make," says Bill Burton, author of 1,000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets.

  • What they care about is steering you toward the "side" or "proposition" bets where the house has the biggest advantage.
  • These are the bets you place in the middle of the table that usually have to do with what will happen on the next roll of the dice rather than whether the shooter will make the point or not. They're sucker bets and the surest of losers over a short time.

The side bets suck away cash that would be better placed on the pass line. On this basic and better bet, you're simply going with the shooter, hoping he or she will roll anything but a 2, 3 or 12 on the first toss of the dice. If it's a 7 or 11, you win. If it's anything else (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10) you win if the shooter repeats that number before rolling a 7.

It pays even money, and at 1.41 percent, the house advantage is relatively low.

  • But the people who run the table will hype plays such as the Big 6 or Big 8. These are side bets that wait for you in a corner of the layout.
  • Put $6 on the Big 8 and if an 8 is rolled before a 7, you win $6. Put the same $6 on 8 over at the "place" area and you win $7.
  • How unfair is that? So unfair that in Atlantic City, Big 6 and Big 8 are outlawed.

Rule of thumb: avoid any bet a dealer wants you to make

  • "That's especially true for craps, where there are about 40 possible bets, a few of them with decent odds and all the rest terrible," Burton says. "But it also applies to games like Let It Ride and Caribbean Stud."

The "odds bet" game

There's a bet you can make at the craps table that offers the most favourable odds in the entire casino, but it doesn't even appear on the table layout. That's right — no marked area to place the bet in, no mention of it anywhere and, you can be sure, no information about it forthcoming from the dealers.

  • It's called the "odds bet" and it's the only play available that actually pays in proportion to the risk, with no house advantage at all.
  • You are eligible to make an odds bet if you have a bet on the pass line, gambling that the shooter will make the "point" by rolling that number again before rolling a 7. If you have $5 on the pass line, you can put up $5 more as an odds bet, or $10 if the casino offers "double odds."
  • You do this by placing the chips a few finger widths directly behind your pass line bet, outside the back line of the pass bet area.
  • How much you get if you win depends on what the point number is, but it's always better than the even money pass line payoff. If the point number is 6 or 8, the payoff for an odds bet is 6-5. So if you bet $5 on the pass line and added on a $10 "double odds" bet, your payoff is $5 for the pass bet and $12 for the double odds bet. You invested $15 and got that $15 back plus $17 more.

If the point made is a 5 or 9, the payoff is slightly better at 3-2. The odds-bet payoff when the shooter makes a point of 4 or 10 is the highest at 2-1. That's because there are fewer possible rolls of the two dice that can add up to a 4 or 10.

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