House Of Craps
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Understanding Craps Odds

One of the most interesting things about the casino is how they hide their odds. Everything is presented in a light that makes it seem as though the player could win big at any time, and that they are participating in a fair game, or close to fair. In games like craps, the odds are always stacked against us, just like in any other game, but most people don't know where.

Craps odds are all altered slightly with the exception of one bet. The 'free odds' bet has no house edge, but you can't place it unless you've already placed a bet that does have a house edge. This situation is most often looked at with the Pass line bet example. When you bet a Pass line bet the natural house edge is around 1.42%. When you back the bet with free odds, the overall house could be said to drop. The greater the proportion of your bet that is on free odds, the lower the edge will get. This is why most casinos limit the amount you can place on free odds.

The table should clearly state what proportion of your bet is allowed to be placed as an odds bet. This is expressed as a multiple. When the table has a 5x showing, it means you can place five times as much on your odds as you put down as the Pass line bet. If you bet a $10 Pass line bet, you could put as much as $50 down on free odds.

The concept behind craps odds is uncomplicated, but working out what you deserved to be paid for each bet (if those bets were fair) can be quite a task, and one that's not often taken on since it wouldn't make us any more money in the end. But to get a better idea about where it all comes from, have a look at the chart below.

Craps Dice Chart

This details how common each total is from a combination of two dice. The very familiar number 7 is the most popular, as there are more ways to make a seven out of two dice than any other number. That means that on any given roll, there is a better chance a seven will come up before any other number. The odds of rolling a 3 can be found by stating the number of possible ways to roll a 3, compared to the number of ways to roll something that's not a 3. This turns out to be 33 to 3, or 11 to 1 that a 3 will be rolled.

An important use of this information when it comes to craps is our ability to determine the odds of one number being rolled before another. The odds of a 4 being rolled before a 7 can be seen by comparing the number of ways to roll a 4 (which is 3) with the number of ways to roll a 7 (which is 6). The odds against rolling a 4 before a 7 are 6 to 3, or 2 to 1.

Working this out we find that it's best to bet on the 6 or 8 coming up before a seven, as it makes for the best craps odds available.
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