Video Poker vs. Craps Odds Bets – Which Is the Better Gamble?

Video Poker Machines and a Closeup of Craps Dice

Video poker has long been hailed as one of the most-beatable games in the casino. It features several variations that offer high return to player, which os also known as (RTP).

Craps odds bets, which can be placed behind a pass line or don’t pass line wager, are also a great opportunity. They allow you to lower the house edge by quite a bit.

It’s well established that video poker and odds wagers are among the top gambles in the casino. But which offers you the absolute best chance of winning?

I’m going to cover the pros and cons of both odds bets and video poker. I’ll also discuss which option is ultimately the superior bet.

Why Is Video Poker So Great?

Video poker offers an abundance of variations. Not all of these variations are favorable in terms of odds.

However, some video poker games feature excellent RTP. The common 9/6 Jacks or Better offers 99.54% payback when you use perfect strategy.

You can do even better than this payback in some cases. Here are several of the top-paying machines in video poker:

  • Deuces Wild video poker – 100.76% RTP
  • Double Bonus video poker – 100.17%
  • Double Double Bonus video poker – 100.07%
  • One Eyed Jacks video poker – 99.98%
  • Super Aces video poker – 99.94%
  • Triple Deuces Wild video poker – 99.92%
  • Double Joker Wild video poker – 99.91%
  • Triple Triple Bonus video poker – 99.75%
  • Not So Ugly Deuces (NUSD) video poker – 99.73%
  • 9/6 Jacks or Better video poker – 99.54%
  • 8/5 Bonus Poker video poker – 99.17%

Of course, you must use optimal strategy to ultimately achieve the best payout percentages. But you’ll find plenty of resources that can help improve your skills.

The quickest way to master a given variation is to look at a video poker strategy chart. These charts show which hands/cards you should keep each situation.

Video poker trainers are also useful for improving your skills. These programs see you play the game like normal.

Closeup of a Video Poker Machine Screen

However, they point out when you make mistakes. You’ll gradually improve with trainers over time as you learn what mistakes not to make.

Free video poker trainers are widely available online. You may consider purchasing a more-advanced trainer if your game of choice isn’t covered by the free versions.

Drawbacks to Video Poker

As discussed above, video poker offers several favorable variations with high RTP. Unfortunately, you won’t find most of these games in your local casino or even online.

Casinos aren’t in the business of giving away an advantage. Few are willing to offer full-pay Deuces Wild, Double Bonus, or Double Double Bonus.

When you do find these machines, they often feature lesser pay tables. Deuces Wild, for example, offers the following payout percentages based on its various pay tables:

  • Full-pay Deuces Wild – 100.76% RTP
  • NSUD – 99.73%
  • 300/20/12/10/4/4/3 – 99.51%
  • Illinois Deuces Wild – 98.91%

You must play video poker in Las Vegas to find the best machines. Even then, most gambling venues don’t feature games that deliver over 100% payback.

Online casinos frequently offer 9/6 Jacks or Better. Usually, though, this is the best it gets at gaming sites.

Even when you do find a high-paying video poker variant, you must master the strategy for it. Doing so is difficult considering all of the different scenarios that you’ll face.

Video poker is also fairly volatile in comparison to craps odds. It features an uneven payout structure, including everything from one-coin payouts to 4,000-coin jackpots (royal flush w/ max bet). As a result, you’ll go through plenty of droughts.

Why Are Craps Odds Bets So Advantageous?

Odds have one undeniable advantage over many other games and wagers in the casino: they don’t carry a house edge. Instead, these bets pay at true odds.

You first need to make a pass line or don’t pass line wager before having the option for odds. Afterward, you must wait for a point number to be established.

Here’s how much you can expect to win based on each point number:

Pass Line w/ Odds

  • 2:1 payout on point numbers of 4 and 10.
  • 3:2 payout on points of 5 and 9.
  • 6:5 payout on points of 6 and 8.

Don’t Pass Line w/ Odds

  • 1:2 payout for point numbers of 4 and 10.
  • 2:3 payout for points of 5 and 9.
  • 5:6 payout for points of 6 and 8.

Odds are expressed as a multiple of your original bet. If you wager $10 on pass line with 5x odds, for example, then you’ll be risking $60 overall (10 + 50).

The overall house on your action becomes smaller and smaller with bigger odds. Here’s how the house advantage decreases based on the size of odds:

  • 1x odds: pass line 0.85%; don’t pass line 0.68%
  • 2x odds: pass line 0.61%; don’t pass line 0.46%
  • 3x odds: pass line 0.47%; don’t pass line 0.34%
  • 5x odds: pass line 0.33%; don’t pass line 0.23%
  • 10x odds: pass line 0.18%; don’t pass line 0.12%
  • 20x odds: pass line 0.1%; don’t pass line 0.07%
  • 100x odds: pass line 0.02%; don’t pass line 0.1%

You need a lot more money to take larger odds. However, you can see that these bets are worthwhile considering how they reduce the house edge to almost nothing.

Most casinos cap the maximum odds that you can take to between 3x and 5x. However, some Las Vegas casinos allow up to 20x or even 100x odds.

Drawbacks to Craps Odds Bets

The idea of wagering with no house edge sounds enticing. However, you can’t start playing craps for real money and begin betting odds immediately.

Everything begins with a pass line or don’t pass line bet. Therefore, you’re always going to face a house edge of some sort.

Assuming the pass line or don’t pass line wager are decided on the comeout roll, the round will already be decided and you’ll have to place an original bet again.

Long View of an Active Craps Game

Odds aren’t cheap either. Depending upon the size of what you want, you’ll be risking much more than with a simple past line or don’t pass line bet.

Just because you’re not facing a house edge with odds doesn’t mean you have the advantage either. You must start by placing a bet that does give the casino an edge.

Then, you’re essentially flipping a coin with the house on odds. This 50% proposition leaves quite a bit of uncertainty.

Which Gamble Gives You a Stronger Chance of Winning?

Whether you prefer playing video poker or betting on odds all depends upon your personal preferences. Assuming you want the ultimate chance of beating the casino, though, then you can’t do any better than video poker.

This is the one game where casinos actually give you an opportunity to make guaranteed profits without resorting to advantage gambling. Assuming you play full-pay Deuces Wild, Double Bonus, or Double Double Bonus machine, you can earn 100% payback.

If these games were widely available, I’d be taking them over odds bets almost every time. I love the idea of earning gambling profits without being hounded by the pit boss.

A big downside with 100% payback video poker is that you must study strategy to benefit. Otherwise, you’re just randomly guessing what cards to hold in some cases. You may not feel like dedicating hours to mastering a specific video poker variation. In this case, craps odds wagers become very attractive. You can take advantage of a 0% house advantage without any in-depth strategy involved.

You need to place a pass line or don’t pass line bet to get started. After this, you can take anywhere from the minimum to maximum odds allowed.

Unlike with video poker, though, you still can’t gain the long-term advantage over the house. The best you can do is trim the house advantage down to 0.01% with 100x odds on don’t pass line.

Again, this doesn’t give you the edge over the house. Furthermore, you’ll have to risk lots of money to take anything remotely close to 100x odds.

Of course, you can also simply go with lower odds and still face a really low house edge. 5x, for example, trim of the overall don’t pass line house advantage to 0.23%.

Conclusion

Again, I think that video poker is the ultimate gamble when looking for winnings. It actually gives you an opportunity to earn guaranteed profits.

The catch, though, is that you need to play the right games—and with perfect strategy. You can only find machines with over 100% payback in Nevada, with most being in Vegas.

Assuming you’re not in Vegas, then you might fare better with craps odds bets. Placed behind a pass line or don’t pass line wager, odds don’t carry a house edge.

Either gamble is miles beyond other games/bets with regard to your chances of winning. That said, you can’t go wrong with either high-paying video poker or odds wagers.