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FREE ODDS

 At the craps table, I am often asked why I never lay or take the odds once a point has been established. I'm sure that my reasons will raise the hackles of many don’t pass, as well as pass line, craps players.

On the don’t pass, once I've gotten by the dreaded come-out roll, and a point has been established, my bet is the best bet on the table. It’s something like having an even-money bet on the best team, with no point spread, and they're leading at half-time. But against all odds, I've seen too many underdogs win to ever think that I've got a sure thing, no matter what I've bet on. I cannot see any advantage to putting more money at risk, to win less, in such a situation just because the odds are in my favor.

Show me a craps player who has never seen a hot shooter repeatedly make points like the 4 and 10, and I'll show you a craps player who hasn't been around the tables for very long. Craps is a game in which even the most improbable is possible, and I've seen don’t pass players crying the blues when outside points and don’t come bets with odds get picked off one after another like ducks in a shooting gallery. (“I just can’t believe it.” they say.) It reminds me of right side bettors when consecutive 7-outs sometimes come very soon after each come-out roll, sweeping away any of their pass, come, and place bets. (“I just can’t believe it.” they also say.)

Well, believe it, because I've been there, and done that, on both sides of the craps table, and I used to just hate it when that happened to me. I have enough gray hairs already, and I don't crave any additional excitement when I'm just trying my best to come out ahead, and overcome the casino's advantage over any bet on the table.

Despite numerous articles and gambling advice written to the contrary, “free odds” is nothing more than a brilliant invention by the casinos to entice players to put more money on the craps table. “Free” odds only serve to reduce the advantage of a hard-earned even-money don’t pass bet over any established point by requiring the overall risk of more than can be won, due to its mathematical probability. Conversely, they offer the temptation of a higher-than-even-money payoff behind the line on a pass line bet, due to its mathematical improbability. (So what exactly is “free” about all of this?)

Losses are bad enough when they happen to anyone. But risking more with “free odds” just doesn't cut it for me. Granted, there will be times when the sun will shine, and odds will increase profits. But what about when the dark clouds move in, and one side of the craps table or the other becomes "Tornado Alley", with all bets in its path being sucked up by the storm?

Well, I'm not Dorothy, and the craps table isn't Kansas. A small loss beats a big loss for me any day, and I’ve found that losing less, by risking less, helps to keep my bankroll intact for much longer, and usually helps me come out ahead in the long run.

Good luck, and play smart.

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