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Best of Jerry Stickman

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Size of the odds bet in craps

13 January 2018

Hi Stickman,

I just returned from a trip to Vegas and was playing craps at the El Cortez where a $3 minimum line bet was required.

The number thrown on the come-out roll was 9, and I made a single odds bet of $2 and was told that I couldn't do that because any odds bet made could not be lower that the line bet. That meant that I would have to bet $4 in order to get the correct payout for the 9. If the point number thrown had been a 10, and I wanted to take the odds, I would have to have bet at least $3, rather than $1 or $2 dollars.

I like to start with single odds and then take double odds, triple, odds, etc. if winners are being thrown, but now that can't be done on the point number 5 and 9.

In the past, I remember playing craps and you didn't have to make an odds bet equal to the line bet and I was wondering if you might know when this ruling came into effect. I walked over to Main Street Station and the same policy is in effect there.

Many thanks for your help,
Mac
San Antonio, Tx

Hi Mac,

To put it bluntly, it’s the casino’s game and they make the rules.

Since the odds bet has no edge, there is no practical reason that I can think of for the house to require any particular size bet. I suppose it could be a case of trying to make it easier on the dealers. But, really, the dealers have to take into account whatever the odds are.

Under the conditions you detailed (and assuming that maximum odds were 2X), they would have to check for $4 and $6. If the base bet was $10, they would have to handle $10, $12, $14, $16, $18 and $20. So, I don’t really see how the minimum odds bet rule helps the dealers.

One justification that I can think of goes as follows. Most craps players play until they lose their entire buy-in. Many even buy in multiple times and lose all of it. By making them bet more of their bankroll, they may lose it quicker and make room for new players at the table. They may think that because of the low minimum they want to make room for others. You did not mention if they had other tables open at a higher denomination and if the rules for the odds bet were the same there, but it is possible that they are not.

Another question I have. Do they force you to take odds? If not, you could simply forget about the odds bet since there is no edge to it. That way you minimize your exposure and therefore also your variance at the table.

When I play craps, I always bet a minimum of double odds, but I have seen others bet less than the base portion on occasion with no trouble. When betting on another unknown shooter, I will make a single come bet with no odds. I have never had a problem anywhere doing that.

I know other casinos will allow odds of less than the base bet to be placed. Perhaps there are fewer of those casinos these days, or perhaps they have different rules for low-stakes tables. Of that I am not sure.

The game of craps – as well as all casino games in general – is in a constant state of change.
• Different bets are on the felt.
• Table minimums and maximums change.
• Odds amounts fluctuate.
o Some tables allow two times odds.
o Others allow five times – or 10 times, 20 times or even 100 times.
o Still others allow 3X, 4X, 5X (three times when the point is a 4 or 10, four times when the point is a 5 or 9, and 5 times when the point is a 6 or 8). There is a good reason for this one.

When placing maximum odds, the total payoff for the base and odds is always seven times the base bet.

Odds for a 4 or 10 pays 2-to-1 so a winning 4 or 10 is paid once for the base bet and two times the three-times odds or six times the base – a total of seven times the base.

Odds for a 5 and 9 are paid at 3-to-2 so a winning 5 or 9 is paid once for the base bet and six times for the four times odds bet for a total of seven times the base bet.

Similarly, the odds bet on a 6 or 8 is paid 6-to-5 for a winner – once for the base bet and six times for the five times odds bet for a total of seven times the base bet.

This rule makes sense.

Even how you have to throw the dice has changed in some casinos.

It is no wonder that rules for minimum odds bet could be added to the mix. This is just something that you will have to live with. One suggestion, though, to avoid making any commotion during play, it is probably best to ask as you make your buy-in.

I may have to stop by the two casinos you mentioned the next time I am in Las Vegas and talk to the pit crew about the rule. I will write with any findings.

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 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
Recent Articles
Best of 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.

Jerry Stickman Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com
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.

Jerry Stickman Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com