The put bet in craps is not exactly one of the topics high on readers’ request list. Nevertheless, in one November week I received three emails requesting additional information.
Put bets are pass line bets that are made after a point has already been established. Players miss out on the comeout, but can back their put bets with free odds.
I’ve mentioned before that with 5x odds, the house edge while putting 6 or 8 is the same 1.52 percent as placing the numbers, while at 4x odds house edges on put bets are the same 4 percent as placing 5 or 9 and the same 6.67 percent as placing 4 or 10.
The three readers’ emails can be condensed into two questions:
**How much do you need in odds for a put bet on 6 or 8 to be better than a pass bet?
**How much do you need in odds for put bets on 4, 5, 9 or 10 to be viable options with house edges of less than 2 percent?
First things first. A put bet plus odds can never have a house edge as low as pass plus an equal proportion of odds.
The house edge on pass with no odds is 1.41 percent. When you put 6 or 8 and skip the comeout, the house edge starts at 9.1 percent. If you bet the same 5x odds that gets the put house edge down to 1.52 percent, the edge on pass plus odds is reduced to 0.3 percent.
As long as your odds bets are in equal proportions on your pass or put bets, the pass-odds combination will have a lower house edge.
On to the second question. The basic house edges on the other numbers are extremely high — 20 percent on 5 or 9 and 33.3 percent on 4 or 10.
To get the edge to less than 2 percent takes some doing.
With either 5 or 9, you have four possible winning rolls while the six ways to make 7 are losers.
If you bet $5 on 10 decisions that include four winners and six losers, you risk $50. Let’s say you also risk 10x odds — $50 per decision. That brings your wagering to total to $550, with $50 on put and $500 in odds.
On each winner, you get your $5 bet back along with $5 in winnings on put, and you get your $50 bet plus $75 in winnings with the 3-2 payoffs on the odds bets.
For four winners, you have $540 and the house has $10, or 1.8 percent of your $550
So putting 5 or 9 with 10x odds takes the house edge to 1.8 percent. You could get it to exactly 2 percent at 9x odds, but the payoff on a $45 odds bet on 5 or 9 is $67.50, and the house will not want to deal with the change.
On 4 or 10, we’ll skip straight to the answer. You reduce the edge on the put-odds combo to 1.96 percent at 16x odds.
So the answer to the readers’ question is that the house edge at put plus odds drops to a maximum 2 percent at 9x odds or more on 5 or 9 and 16x or more on 4 or 10.
That takes you into big bet territory. Put bets remain most viable with 6 and 8 as points, and even then are for players who want to bet those specific numbers while recognizing pass plus odds has a lower edge.
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