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Free Odds, Rider Bets and Slot Clubs

Could you explain the odds at the craps table? Where do the 2x, 3x, 5x, 10x come into play? Are they at the pass lines or the place bets? I have played some of these tables but don't understand how to bet them.


Dear rb,
The 2X, 5X, etc. refers to the free odds bets. There is no spot for them listed on the layout, but for the pass line bet, they go behind the line, that is, between you and the pass line bet and for a come bet just lay them down by the dealer and say "odds on the 6" (or whatever the number is.) The casino doesn't make a big fuss over these (other than in their advertising), because it is a 'true' odds bet; the house has no edge on them.

As you know in Europe you can play 'behind' another player by placing a bet at his card. (Up to three bets at any one card). This creates an interesting situation when it comes to splitting. You can choose to follow any of the two cards. Now I am sure that another strategy should exist to indicate if it most profitable to split and double your money or split and follow one hand only. (For example, 8-8 vs 9. I guess you better off to follow one hand; that is 8 vs 9 than double your money on the table and play two 8s vs. a 9).

Any suggestions for the correct play in such situations?

The strategy for the 'optional' split is actually rather simple. I'm assuming there is no double permitted after splitting pairs, so the proper plays are:

Aces: Bet both against all dealers' cards
Nines: Bet both vs. 2-6 and 8 only
Eights: Bet both vs. 3-7 only
Sevens: Bet both against a 6 only
Sixes: Never bet both
Fives: Never bet both, if the player is dumb enough to split
Fours: Same as fives
Threes: Bet both only against 5 and 6
Twos: Same as threes

I hope this helps. Oh, yes...almost forgot; never bet on split 10s unless the count is high enough to warrant the play.

Just about everywhere I look (LV newsgroup, trip postings, etc) it is recommended that even if you only play nickel slots, the first thing you do when you go to a casino is sign up for the slot card and begin accumulating points. My question is: Even if you only spend $20-$30 in each casino you visit, why should you get a slot card? I must admit I'm ignorant about slot cards, so if you don't mind, please go over it one more time for us ignoramuses (ignorami?) out here.
Thanks for the advice.

Dear Jerry,
Even though you may buy only $20-30 in slot tokens, you will bet that money over and over again, so your total 'action' may be several hundred dollars by the time the money runs out. Slot club cards track that and you might get a few dollars back in the form of cash, or lunch or some other amenity. The slot clubs cost you nothing, require no record keeping on your part and are easy to use. Anything you get back is a bonus, no matter how small it may be. Just the savings you can get at many casinos on the cost of a room may allow you to double your bankroll. And that may be enough $$$ to let you hit 'The Big One'.

GameMaster, What is the basic strategy on splitting and doubling when the dealer refunds the split or doubled portion when she has a blackjack?

Dear Matt,
The strategy is the same as when the dealer first checks to see if s/he has a 'natural.' The only change occurs when the dealer wins both bets if s/he later gets a BJ.

As a complete and total blackjack Virgin , when I finally do take the plunge and actually get in a game the burning question in my mind is, what is the best table as far as take a table with several players seated or a empty table , just how does the number of people at a given table ,all other things being equal, affect the game as a whole and in what position would "you" prefer to sit?

Thanks for your help,

Dear 'Wired',
As a novice, you might want to sit alone, if possible, so that you won't be distracted by the other players. However, the game will go a lot faster, so if you're counting, you may have a problem keeping up. I prefer a table by myself, simply because I get more hands per hour that way and the more I play, the more I make. Other players can affect your game ONLY by slowing it down and, in the case of single deck, affecting how many cards you'll see. Other players' mistakes do NOT, in the long run, affect your results. Yes, a 'dumb' play by the person on 'third base' can cause you to lose a hand, but those mistakes will help you as often as they hurt you. I don't sit at third base, because casino supervisory personnel think counters sit at third base. More in the middle is my favorite spot.

But enough of this table talk. Are you ready to play? Have you mastered the proper basic strategy of the game? Have you learned some sort of counting system? Remember, unless you count cards, the casino will have an edge over you.

Hot Tip: Keno - If you insist upon playing this game, recognize that pay schedules differ from casino to casino. The number to play is, on most machines, 4 spots if you want a high 'hit' frequency. A winner will appear 25.9% of the time, but the 4 of 4 pay should be at least 90 coins; less than that, don't play.

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