Your source for great hard-nosed craps advice online.
Craps is a spectacular game for a few reasons. It's more exciting than any other game sure, and it's as elegant, classy and cool as games get, but one factor stands out beyond the rest. Craps odds are the best odds of any game in the casino! In fact, craps offers a bet where there is no house edge at all. There is a catch of course, you have to have placed a negative expectation bet first in order to place this magic bet.
That magic bet is called free odds, or sometimes just odds or maybe even craps odds (another reason learning to play can be confusing, craps has it's own vocabulary, and it's not always completely consistent!). The craps odds bet is a bit different than any other bet, primarily because they are paid back at 'true odds'. True odds are just what they say they are, true. Most casino bets have altered paybacks to ensure the casino makes money, even when it loses a bet. Say I was to offer you the chance to bet on a coin flip. If you bet five dollars it will be heads and it is, you'd expect to be paid your five dollars back, plus five more. This would be a fair game, since the odds you overcame to guess the correct coin side were 2 to 1, the bet should be paid back at 2 to 1, or 10 dollars for your 5-dollar bet. But if I were to only pay you back 9 dollars, I would be doing what the casino does all the time, altering the payout. Bet 5 for a chance to win 4.
A prime example is the roulette table, where on an American wheel you have a 1 in 38 chance of hitting a particular number on the wheel, but you are only paid back at 35 to 1. Clearly this isn't fair, but people don't seem to mind, it's part of the game.
The free odds offered at the craps table though, is free from this horrible casino fee. To place a craps odds bet you need to 'back up' an existing bet on the table. Not all bets can be backed up with odds. The most common bet you can lay odds on is our old friend, the pass line bet.
To back up your pass line bet with odds, you wait until a point has been set, and then place some more chips on the felt, behind your original pass line bet. Most online games allow you to click just behind your chips and it will do the same thing. This part of your bet is paid back at true odds, and wins or loses with the pass line bet (or whatever bet it happens to be backing up).
The more odds you lay the lower the house edge on the overall bet becomes (yes there is still some edge because there is 1.42% against you on the pass line part of the bet). For this reason the casinos only let you lay a limited multiple of your pass line bet as free odds. Usually you can lay two, three or four times your bet. This would be expressed as 2x, 3x, or 4x on the table. The more the better, so take advantage of the best bet in the casino.