Combining the Martingale System with Odds Bets in Craps

By Randy Ray
Published on July 23, 2018
Craps Statistics

Betting systems are commonly used to try and win profits in casino games. And certain strategies have been used for centuries in an attempt to beat the house.

Some of these systems include the D’Alembert, Labouchere, and Paroli. These betting strategies were created by mathematicians hundreds of years ago and continue to be used in casinos today.

But while these systems are popular, none measure up to the fame of the Martingale. This strategy is widely known among players and commonly used on even-money bets.

The problem with using the Martingale and other systems, though, is that they don’t overcome the house edge. This means that players are eventually destined to lose with betting strategies.

But what if you could cut out the house edge? This is possible with a craps odds bet, which doesn’t have a house advantage.

Now the question becomes whether it’s possible to win more money by using the Martingale with craps odds wagers.

I’ll begin this discussion by covering the specifics of the Martingale and craps odds bets. Then I’ll get into how you can use the Martingale in craps and if it’s ultimately effective.

What Is the Martingale System?

One reason why the Martingale is so popular is because of its simplicity. All you need to do with this system is double your bets after every loss.

You continue doing so until you win. At this point, you return to the table’s minimum wager.

The idea is that you always win back your losses. Another benefit is that you’ll collect a small profit when ending a losing streak.

You can see this in the example below.

  • You bet $5 and lose (bankroll at -5)
  • You bet $10 and lose (bankroll at -15)
  • You bet $20 and lose (bankroll at -35)
  • You bet $40 and win (bankroll at +5)
  • Return to original bet with your bankroll at +5

Despite the fact that you’ve lost three bets in a row, you still walk away with a $5 profit. And this adds to the Martingale’s appeal.

This betting strategy can be used with any casino game. But it definitely works best with even-money wagers.

The reason why is because you’re taking significant risk by doubling bets following every loss. You don’t want to play a highly volatile casino game like slot machines with the Martingale.

You’ll win far less than half the time with these games, meaning there’s a stronger chance of going broke when doubling bets after each loss.

Craps is a good game to use in combination with the Martingale because it has several even-money bets. All these wagers have a higher chance of winning, meaning you’ll be able to stop losing streaks faster and book profits.

What Is a Craps Odds Bet?

Craps odds wagers often confuse players because they’re not listed on the table. Furthermore, you can’t just walk up to a craps table and start making odds bets.

Instead, you have to place either a pass line or don’t pass line wager and back it with odds. One more stipulation is that you must wait for a point to be established after you make a pass line or don’t pass line bet.

If you’re unfamiliar with pass line and don’t pass line wagers, here’s a brief explanation.

Pass Line

  • Pays 1:1
  • True odds are 251:244
  • 41% house edge
  • Wins on come out roll (new shooter’s first roll) with 7 or 11
  • Loses on come out roll with 2, 3, or 12
  • Point number is established if 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 are rolled
  • Point number must be rolled before 7 to win

Don’t Pass Line

  • Pays 1:1
  • True odds are 976:949
  • 36% house edge
  • Wins on come out roll (first roll of new round) with 2 or 3
  • Pushes on come out with 12
  • Loses on come out roll with 7 or 11
  • Point is established if 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 are rolled
  • 7 must be rolled before the point number to win

You can see that pass line and don’t pass line bets already have a low house edge. But you can reduce this even further by backing either wager with odds.

I mentioned earlier that an odds bet doesn’t carry a house edge. Instead, it pays at true odds based on the point number you’re dealing with.

You can see the payouts on each point number below.

Pass line with odds bet (a.k.a. taking odds)

  • You need the shooter to roll the point number before 7 to win
  • 2:1 payout on point numbers of 4 and 10
  • 3:2 on points of 5 and 9
  • 6:5 on points of 6 and 8

Don’t pass line with odds bet (a.k.a. laying odds)

  • You need the shooter to roll a 7 before the point number to win
  • 1:2 payout on point numbers of 4 and 10
  • 2:3 on points of 5 and 9
  • 5:6 on points of 6 and 8

Casinos vary in terms of how large of odds they allow. This ranges from 1x to 100x your pass line or don’t pass line bet.

The higher the odds you take, the lower the overall house edge will be on your pass line/don’t pass line wager and odds. Here’s how much the house edge is reduced as you take larger odds.

Odds Pass Line Bet Don’t Pass Line Bet
0x 1.41% house edge 1.36% house edge
1x 0.848% 0.682%
2x 0.606% 0.455%
Full Double Odds 0.572% 0.431%
3x 0.471% 0.341%
3x-4x-5x 0.374% 0.273%
5x 0.326% 0.227%
10x 0.184% 0.124%
20x 0.099% 0.065%
100x 0.021% 0.014%

Few casinos in the world offer 20x or 100x odds. In most cases, you’ll be dealing with 5x odds and below.

Another thing to consider is that you might not have the bankroll to place max odds allowed. This is especially the case if you’re using the Martingale and doubling your bets following losses.

Combining Odds Bets and the Martingale for a Powerful Craps System

The Martingale system is easy to use with even-money bets in baccarat, blackjack, and roulette.

Here’s an example from European roulette.

  • You bet on red (red/black wager)
  • This wager pays 1:1
  • Red/black has a 48.65% chance of winning
  • You need to double your even-money bet every time you lose

You don’t have to do much thinking here, because the red/black bet isn’t complicated. Either the ball other lands on the color that you’ve chosen, or it doesn’t.

The Martingale is normally easy to use with craps as well. You can bet on either pass line or don’t pass line and wait to see if your wager wins.

But adding an odds bet to the equation requires more thought. Here are reasons why using the Martingale with craps odds is more complicated.

  • You can’t make an odds wager right away
  • You could win or lose your pass line/don’t pass line bet on the come out roll
  • You must do a balancing act when it comes to your original wager and odds bet
  • The uneven payouts for different point numbers add more complexity

Again, you must wait for a point to be established before you can make an odds bet. This means that you not only have to make a pass line or don’t pass line wager to begin with, but also wait until a point is established.

The fact that you won’t always have the chance to place an odds wager makes using the Martingale more challenging. But it can still be done with the right method.

Examples of Using the Martingale with Craps Odds

Here’s a basic example of how you can use the Martingale along with odds bets.

Round 1

  • You place a $5 pass line bet
  • A 4 point number is established (2:1 odds of winning)
  • You make a $5 odds bet (1x odds)
  • Your bets lose (bankroll at -10)

Round 2

  • You place a $10 pass line bet
  • A 10 point number is established (2:1 odds of winning)
  • You make a $5 odds bet (1x) because you stand to win $10 (2:1 payout)
  • Your bets lose (bankroll at -25)

Round 3

  • You place a $20 pass line bet
  • A point number of 5 is established (3:2 odds of winning)
  • You place a $15 odds wager because you stand to win $22.50 (3:2 payout)
  • You win both bets (bankroll at +17.5)

You’ve collected a $17.50 profit in this example despite only winning one out of three rounds.

But you can also see the difficulties in using this system with odds bets. You’re dealing with uneven payouts based on the point numbers.

It’s also more complicated to use the Martingale in this fashion versus using the system with pass line/don’t pass line bets on their own.

You can simplify things by doubling both your original and odds bets no matter what.

Here’s an example.

Round 1

  • You place a $5 pass line bet
  • A 6 point number is established (6:5 odds of winning)
  • You make a $5 odds bet (6:5 payout)
  • Your bets lose (bankroll at -10)

Round 2

  • You place a $10 pass line bet
  • A 4 point number is established (2:1 odds of winning)
  • You make a $10 odds bet (2:1 payout)
  • Your bets lose (bankroll at -20)

Round 3

  • You place a $20 pass line bet
  • A point number of 9 is established (3:2 odds of winning)
  • You place a $20 odds wager (3:2 payout)
  • You win both bets (bankroll at +30)

You make an even greater profit in this scenario because the potential payouts are higher. Additionally, you’re placing two bets instead of one in each round.

But the reverse side is that you’re adding more risk to an already risky strategy. Adding 1x odds or higher means that you need even more money to successfully use the Martingale.

I mentioned how you can bet up to 100x odds in rare cases. But this is a crazy proposition if you’re already using the Martingale.

I don’t recommend betting any more than 5x odds, even with a large bankroll. I personally wouldn’t wager more than 1x or 2x odds in combination with the Martingale.

Will You Win with the Martingale in Craps?

The Martingale has three downsides that hinder its long-term success.

  • Casinos install maximum betting limits to minimize the Martingale’s effectiveness
  • You need a huge bankroll to guarantee success with this system
  • The Martingale doesn’t eliminate the house edge

Table limits are the biggest immediate hindrance to using the Martingale. Casinos often set table betting limits at between $1,000 and $2,000.

This means that you can only double your wager so many times before hitting the max bet and no longer being able to use the Martingale correctly.

Craps differs because there’s a separate max regular bet and odds wager. The table max might be $1,000, while you can bet 2x odds ($2,000).

This works out to a maximum bet worth $3,000. Here’s an example.

  • You lose a $10 pass line bet and a $20 odds wager (bankroll at -30)
  • You lose a $20 pass line bet and a $40 odds wager (bankroll at -60)
  • You lose a $40 pass line bet and a $80 odds wager (bankroll at -120)
  • You lose a $80 pass line bet and a $160 odds wager (bankroll at -240)
  • You lose a $160 pass line bet and a $320 odds wager (bankroll at -480)
  • You lose a $320 pass line bet and a $640 odds wager (bankroll at -960)
  • You lose a $640 pass line bet and a $1,280 odds wager (bankroll at -1,920)

You can no longer double your wagers after losing the seventh round. The most you can risk is $1,000 on pass line and $2,000 on the 2x odds.

Some players aren’t so concerned with losing seven consecutive bets or more. But the odds of this happening increase as you continue playing more rounds.

Let’s assume that you’re making pass line and odds bets, and it takes an average of 4 rolls to decide your outcomes. Your table is also seeing 120 rolls per hour, meaning you have 30 bets on the line every hour (120/4).

Below, you can see your odds of losing seven pass line bets in a row.

  • You make pass line and odds bets for one hour (30 bets) = 10.36% chance of losing 7 straight
  • You make pass line and odds bets for two hours (60 bets) = 21.42% chance of losing 7 straight
  • You make pass line and odds bets for three hours (90 bets) = 31.12% chance of losing 7 straight

Three hours isn’t an eternity in craps, and you have approximately 2:1 odds of hitting the table betting limit at this point.

The good news is that part of your wager is wrapped up in a no-house-edge bet. But you still must worry about max table bets and taking a huge loss when you reach this point.

Another consideration is that you’ll book small wins along the way. After all, the Martingale guarantees profits as long as you can continue doubling bets after losses.

This lightens the hit that your bankroll takes after a lengthy losing streak. And you’ll probably book a lot of winning sessions along the way.

Your chances of success with the Martingale and craps odds bets are better than with almost every casino game. The exception is when comparing 1x or 2x odds to a rare blackjack game with less than a 0.40% house edge.

Other than this, craps odds give you one of the best chances to win with the Martingale. But keep in mind that table limits will hamper your ability to use this system to the fullest.

Using the Anti-Martingale with Craps Odds Bets

Maybe you’ve decided that the Martingale isn’t for you based on the risk factor. If this is the case, then you can still use a less-risky version of the system.

Here are three alternatives that you can consider with craps odds bets.

Anti-Martingale (a.k.a. Reverse Martingale)

The Anti-Martingale is the reverse of the regular Martingale (hence its nickname). You double bets after wins instead of after losses.

Here’s an example using craps odds bets.

  • You win a $5 on pass line and $5 odds bet with 2:1 payout (bankroll at +15)
  • You win a $10 pass line and $10 odds bet with 3:2 payout (bankroll at +25)
  • You win a $20 pass line and $20 odds bet with a 2:1 payout (bankroll at +75)
  • You start over with a $5 pass line and $5 odds bet

The Reverse Martingale is nice in that you don’t take extra risk on top of losing streaks. The only catch is that it’s harder to book profits because you’re doubling after every win.

Most players cap their winning streaks at three before returning to the original stake. This helps you retain profits before embarking on another potential streak.

Grand Martingale

The Grand Martingale takes the original system to another level. Not only do you double bets following losses, but you also add an additional unit (table’s minimum bet).

Here’s an example using the pass line and a 1x odds bet.

  • You bet 1 unit on pass line and 1 on odds (bankroll at -2 units)
  • You lose this round
  • Your next bet is 2 pass line units + 2 odds units + 1 unit
  • You lose this round (bankroll at -7 units)
  • Your next bet is 4 pass line units + 4 odds units + 3 units
  • You lose this round (bankroll at -18 units)
  • Your next bet is 8 pass line units + 8 odds units + 4 units
  • You win this round (bankroll at +2 units)

The idea behind this strategy is that you increase your profits even more when ending a losing streak. In the case above, you’ve added an additional 2 units to your bankroll after winning.

But I certainly don’t recommend using the Grand Martingale. The regular Martingale already puts you at enough risk without adding more units to the matter.

Mini Martingale

This system is similar to the Anti-Martingale in that you only follow a betting pattern to a certain point. In the Mini Martingale’s case, you double bets after every loss until three straight losses.

Here’s an example.

  • You bet $10 on pass line and $10 on odds and lose (bankroll at -20)
  • You bet $20 on pass line and $20 on odds and lose (bankroll at -60)
  • You bet $40 on pass line and $40 on odds and lose (bankroll at -140)
  • You return to the original $10 bet on pass line and odds

The Mini Martingale prevents you from hitting max table limits and suffering big losing streaks. The only problem is that you can’t win back losses after losing three times in a row.

Conclusion

The Martingale is a nice system to use if you’re seeking lots of small wins. This strategy gains additional value when making craps odds bets.

The reason why is because you eliminate the house edge on a portion of your bet. Taking/laying higher odds mean that you’re facing an even lower overall house advantage.

But it’s important to decide if this system is right for you. I suggest having at least 200-300 units in your bankroll before using the Martingale.

If you’re making $5 bets on the pass line and 1x odds in the same round, then you should have a bankroll worth between $2,000 and $3,000 to help reduce the chances of losing everything.

Also, note that you take on greater risk the longer you’re at the table. Playing craps for 10 straight hours means that you’re highly likely to lose enough that you hit the table’s max betting limit at least once.

This is the worst thing that can happen with the Martingale, because you can no longer effectively double your bets. Therefore, you might want to shorten your sessions to book more winning sessions.

You can consider one of three Martingale alternatives that I discussed. The Grand Martingale is extremely risky, but the Anti-Martingale and Mini Martingale are safer strategies worth trying.

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Combining the Martingale System with Odds Bets in Craps
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Combining the Martingale System with Odds Bets in Craps
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Read this blog post to learn how you can best combine the Martingale System with the odds bets in craps to win a lot of money.
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