(Part 2 of a two-part series on how to bet at craps.)
You often hear people say that taking (betting) odds on pass line and come bets is the best bet in a casino. They sure won’t get any argument from me. Odds taken on pass line and come bets as well laid (bet) on don’t pass and don’t come bets give the casino no house percentage. In other words they pay true odds!
Anytime there is a point for the pass line, you take odds on your pass line bet. You can also pick them up anytime you want to. By taking odds on a pass line bet you are merely betting more money that the shooter will make his point. That is why you can only take odds when the shooter has a point. If he doesn’t have a point then there is nothing to take odds on.
When taking odds on a pass line bet you merely put a stack of checks two inches behind your pass line bet. When casinos use terms such as "double odds" or "ten times odds" these are terms used to describe the most odds you are allowed to take. Double odds meaning that whatever the amount of your pass line bet, you can bet up to twice that amount behind it. That doesn’t mean you have to bet that much, it just gives you that option.
Make sure you bet the correct units for the point number you are betting on! Otherwise you are giving the casino a percentage of a bet that should not have a house percentage. For example, if you take five-dollar odds on a point of five or nine (pays 3 to 2) the correct payoff would be $7.50. The dealer will only pay you $7 if you win. The fifty cents is referred to in the business as "breakage" and players assume responsibility for breakage.
So when taking odds on the five and nine make sure it is devisable by two dollars, since every two dollars will pay you three dollars. When taking odds on the six and eight (pays 6 to 5) make sure you bet in increments of five dollars since every five dollars bet wins six dollars. The good news is that you can’t screw up odds on the 4 or 10 (pays 2 to 1) since any amount you bet can be paid double.
Since having a bet on the don’t pass after the shooter has a point is in your favor, you have to "lay" (bet) odds. If the shooter has a point of 4 or 10 for every two dollars you lay, you win one dollar. If the point is 5 or 9, you have to lay three dollars to win two dollars. If the point is 6 or 8 you have to lay six dollars to win five dollars. To lay odds on the don’t pass heel your odds on the don’t pass next to your flat bet. If the payoff for your lay is the same amount as your flat bet the dealer might bridge your lay on top of your flat bet.
To take or lay odds on a come or don’t come bet, you set your odds down in the come area and tell the dealer what you want to bet. Even if you don’t know exactly what to say don’t try to put up the bet yourself and don’t just set the money down without saying anything at all. Understand that craps is a very verbal game and the dealer can’t book your bets if you don’t say anything.
Place bets on the 6 and 8
You can make a place on any of the point numbers (4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10) at any time. However like odds taken on come bets, place bets are off on the come-out roll. If a bet is "off" that means that it can’t win and it can’t lose. By making a place bet you are betting on a particular number to be thrown before a seven.
Place bets on the four or ten pay 9 to 5. So for every 5 dollars you bet, you win 9 dollars. Since true odds would pay a five-dollar bet on the four or ten ten-dollars the casino gets a 6.66% advantage. This doesn’t quite make it a sucker bet, but I don’t think you should give up more than 2%.
Place bets on the five or nine pay 7 to 5. Every five dollars bet wins seven dollars. True odds would pay a five-dollar bet $7.50, so the house percentage is 4%.
This is why I only recommend place bets on the six and eight. You bet in units of six dollars, because the bet pays 7 to 6. Which means for every six dollars you bet, you win seven dollars. It also means that the house percentage is a low 1.51%. That is comparable to the pass line and come (1.414%) and the don’t pass and don’t come (1.402%).
One makes place bets much in the same manner as odds on come bets, drop the money in the come area and tell the dealer what you want to bet. When you win a place bet your dealer has been trained to pay your bet and leave it up the same way. In other words, if you bet a $6 eight and it wins, the dealer will pay you $7 and leave your six dollar bet on the eight unless you tell him to take it down. Besides taking the bet down the other option is to press (double) your bet. In this case the dealer will give you one-dollar change and make your six-dollar bet on the eight look like twelve dollars.
Overall, here are some points to remember: 7 or 11 wins. 2,3 or 12 lose.
Remember that it is either the come-out roll for the pass line or the shooter already has a point.
You don’t take odds or make a come bet unless the shooter has a point for the pass line.
When taking or laying odds on come and don’t come bets and when making place bets: set the money in the come area and tell the dealer what you want to bet.
(Dale S. Yeazel is a 26 year veteran of the casino industry and is the author of "Precision Crap Dealing" and "Dealing Mini-Baccarat" both available at Gamblers Book Shop and Gamblers General Store in Las Vegas.)