Craps seems like one of the most complicated casino games in the house. The huge table with exotic markings and various types of bets tend to intimidate many people. Many times there is a huge crowd of people surrounding the table and inexperienced players tend to stay away rather than being rushed into the game. The novice players that do get caught up into the game tend to make costly mistakes because many of the popular bets on the table have poor odds and a huge house edge. When they do lose, they never want to play craps again because of a lack of understanding of the game.
Believe it or not though, craps is the single best game to play in terms of odds if you know the bets. The best bet and wager in casino craps is the free odds bet, which is actually known as the “secret” craps bet. The reason why it’s called this is the bet isn’t even marked on the table with all the exotic bets. Free odds is usually used in conjunction with the pass line or don’t pass line bet, which themselves are great bets.
A typical “pass line” bet has a house edge of 1.41%. The house edge is the odds that the casino has against the players. The house edge is the difference between the true odds, which is the mathematical odds, and the payout odds, which is what the casino pays out. Ideally, a player wants to have payouts equal to the true odds, which means no one has any edge and the player wins just as frequently as the casino. You could think of this as betting on whether a flipped coin will land on heads or tails.
The free odds bet is pretty much the only bet out of all casino games that pays true odds! This means the house edge is zero percent. First you need to make a “pass line” or “don’t pass” bet. The “don’t pass” bet has a 1.36% house edge, which provides players with a slightly better advantage than the “pass line” bet in craps. Both of these bets are related to a roll of seven.
Since craps is a dice game based on rolling a pair of dice, the odds show that the number 7 gets rolled more frequently than any other number. The “pass line” bet wins when the dealer shoots a seven and looses on a craps or 2, 3, and 12. A “don’t pass” bet wins on a roll of 2, 3 and loses on a 7 and ties on a roll of 12. Any other number becomes the “point”.
It is only after the “point” number has been established that a player can make a free odds bet. Essentially the player is betting that this same number will be rolled before a 7 is rolled. It is more probable that the 7 will be rolled in this case but the wager you are making in the free odds bet is completely fair in mathematical terms because the payout is based on true odds!
Typically what happens during the free odds craps bet is you would be able to make an additional bet of some multiple of whatever you wagered on the “pass” or “don’t pass” line. Casinos commonly allow multiples of three (3x) bet maximums for free odds. This means you could make a bet that is three times as large as your “pass” or “don’t pass” wager. The strategy here is to make the maximum bet to reduce the house edge. Casinos in Las Vegas allow free odds bets of 10x, 20x and even 100x!
Remember that the house still has a small edge against you on the “pass” or “don’t pass” wager that you originally made. By placing a maximum free odds bet, which has no edge against you, your average odds improve against the house. The more money (or weight) is placed on free odds, the more the house edge decreases on your initial wager.