Gambling Tips > Craps


by Henry Tamburin

Most casinos nowadays allow craps players to wager double, triple five, ten and up to 100-times odds on their pass line or come bet (or opposite don't pass and don't come). Also, most astute craps players understand that the more money that can be placed in odds in relation to the original pass line bet, the lower is the casino's advantage. This is why most experts advocate to "always make the maximum odds bet." But do the percentages really tell the whole story? Let's see.

Assume that Sam and Al go the craps table and Al makes one hundred consecutive $10 bets on the pass line. Sam does the same but after every point is established, he makes a $20 double odds bet. Which of these betting methods would you expect to have the lowest expected rate of loss?

Let's first calculate how much Al is expected to lose making one hundred $10 pass line bets. In total, Al will be making $1000 worth of bets (100x$10). The casino's edge on pass line bets is 1.4%. Therefore Al's expected loss is simply the total bets made ($1000) times the casino's advantage (1.4%) or $14.

Now grant it, Al most likely will either win or lose more than $14 after making his one hundred bets. However, if he continues to bet $10 on pass line every time he plays craps, the casino will average a $14 win for every $1000 bet on pass line.

Now how about our smart player Sam who takes double odds every time a point number is rolled. Surely with double odds and a lower casino advantage, Sam's expected loss should be lower than Al's.

Sam puts into action $1000 on the pass line, the same as Al. But every time a point number is established which should statistically occur about two thirds of the come out rolls, Sam makes a double odds bet. Therefore in addition to the $1000 of bets made on pass line, Sam makes another $20 bet on two thirds of the 100 (or 66) come out rolls. Sam’s outlay is therefore $1000 bet on the pass line plus another $1320 wagered as double odds the 66 times a point number will be rolled. Sam therefore wagers a total of $2320. The casino's advantage over a craps player who wagers pass line plus makes a double odds bet is 0.6% So Sam's expected loss rate is $2320 times 0.6% or about $14, the same expected loss rate as Al.

So what does this all mean? If they both have the same expected loss rate, why does everyone tout multiple odds?

If you analyze what Sam and Al were doing, you should have noticed that Sam bet a lot more ($2320) vs Al ($1000). The reason Sam bet more because he was making the double odds bet those 66 times a point number was expected. The total amount bet increased even though the casino advantage decreased. This is why the expected loss rate is the same.

So what does this all mean? Is multiple odds a big hoax perpetrated by the casinos? The answer to this is no-and yes. Double odds is a good deal for a player with a fixed bankroll. You are always better off making a $10 pass line with $20 double odds vs betting the entire $30 on pass line. You should never make one large bet on the pass line but rather bet as small as possible on the pass line with the rest as multiple odds. By doing this you will significantly lower your expected loss rate simply because with a fixed bankroll you can't put any money into action.

So if multiple odds is such a good deal for the player why do casinos offer it? Because casinos know that players will be risking more money when they pile up chips on odds bet and usually these players go to the tables undercapitalized. A few quick rolls of the 7 and these players are tapped out.

Just remember that the key to taking advantage of multiple odds is to bet as small as possible ($5 or even $3) on pass line, then back it up with multiple odds. A more conservative betting involves starting with single odds and then only after the bet wins, increase to double odds then triple etc. In this way you will be increasing your wager following a win on a bet that has no casino advantage. That's the smart way to play craps!