Craps lesson 4: Placing free odds bets

Free Odds aren't listed anywhere on the table, but it's a very easy bet to place. After the point has been established, you'll simply stack your Free Odds bet BEHIND your pass line bet, making sure the Odds bet are behind the bar marked "Pass Line" not in it.

Let's use this scenario for an example. You have placed a $5 chip on the pass line and the shooter rolls a 6 on the come-out. You now wish to take 2X odds on your original pass line bet. To do this, take $10 worth of chips and place them in a stack directly behind your original bet, but not in the bar marked "Pass Line." So the table looks like this:

Point is 6, you have pass line and Free Odds bets

Craps table

You are still looking for the point to be repeated before a 7 is rolled, but you would now be paid two ways if that happened. These are the payoffs you would get:

  • A 1:1 payout on the pass line bet -- $5 bet + $5 payout = $10 returned to you.
  • A 6:5 payout on the Odds bet -- $10 bet + $12 payout = $22 returned to you.
  • If the shooter rolls the point -- 6 in this example -- you would have a total of $32 returned to you ($15 bets and $17 in winnings).

Should the shooter crap out -- roll the dreaded 7 -- you lose both your pass line bet and your Odds bet.

Let's now look at a different example. In this case I'll say you still have $5 on the pass line, but the shooter has established 10 as the point. You take 2X odds on your pass line bet and cheer for the shooter to come back with another 10. The table looks like this:

Point is 10, you have pass line and Free Odds bets

Craps table

If the shooter rolls a 7, you lose both bets. But if the shooter rolls a 10 first, here is what you win:

  • A 1:1 payout on the pass line bet -- $5 bet + $5 payout = $10 returned to you.
  • A 2:1 payout on the Odds bet -- $10 bet + $20 payout = $30 returned to you.
  • You would have a total of $40 returned to you ($15 bets and $35 in winnings).

Because 5 and 9 pay at 3:2, requiring you to place your Odds in even numbers, the casino will allow you to add $1 to your odds bet in necessary, even if it exceeds the house limit on odds. In other words, if there is a house limit at 5X odds and you wish to take full advantage of Free Odds on a 5 or 9 you have on a $5 pass line bet, they will allow you to place odds of $26 instead of $25. This makes for a simpler payoff for them. If you are playing $5 pass line bets with 2X odds, this isn't likely to be an issue, but for the next example, I'll say you're playing at a diffent casino. The setup is this:

You are playing at a table with a $5 minimum and that offers 5X odds. You're feeling hot, so you want to bet the full amount of Free Odds allowed (this is good strategy in theory, since it further lowers the house advantage, but it is sometimes not a good idea on a limited bankroll, as it puts more money at risk at one time). You have a $5 pass line bet and the shooter comes out with a 5. Normally you could only back your pass line bet with $25, but, because 5 and 9 require even numbers, you are allowed to place $26 backing your pass line bet -- a $1 chip topping your stack. The table would look something like this:

Point is 5, you have pass line and 5X Free Odds bets

Craps table

If you understand those basic concepts -- the come-out, the pass line and Free Odds -- you understand craps better than about 75 percent of the people you'll see in a casino. You're ready to go to a table and play now, but it won't be terribly exciting just yet. Soon we'll post how to keep multiple bets going, and that's when craps gets really fun, and can make a lot of money on a good roll (or lose a lot of money on lousy rolls). Until then, go on to the next lesson, a quick recap of odds (because they're so important)...

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