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Craps Strategy: How Does The Iron Cross Work? – A guide by John Grochowski

By John Grochowski on

Iron-Cross inner

Ever wonder how the Iron Cross Craps Strategy works? We did too, so we went ahead and contacted John Grochowski, the Casino Answer Man himself, to teach us how to use this craps strategy on our games. Let’s check it out:

Combination bets at Craps can’t change the math of the game, but they do change the dynamics. Take the Iron Cross, a favorite system of players looking for frequent wins. It’s an easy combination consisting of a bet on the field and place bets on 5, 6 and 8. Here is how the Iron Cross strategy works:

Since the field is a one-roll bet that pays off on 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 or 12, the multi-roll place bets fill the gaps so that you have a winner with any roll except 7. Of the 36 possible rolls of two dice, there are 30 Iron Cross winners, and six loser 7s.

If the shooter rolls a field number, the place bets don’t lose. They either stay in action or you can take them down. If a the shooter rolls one of your place numbers, you lose on the field, but the other two place bets are there for you either to leave in action or take down.

Most field numbers pay even money but a winner 2 usually pays 2-1, and a winner 12 pays either 2-1 or 3-1, depending on house rules. Rarely, you’ll see the 3-1 pay on the 2 instead of the 12. The place bet on the 5 pays at 7-5 odds, and those on 6 and 8 pay at 7-6. Always bet in multiples of $6 on 6 and 8 so you can get those odds.

For a $5 bettor, the Iron Cross means an investment of $22 — $5 on the field, $5 on 5 and $6 each on 6 and 8. If the roll is any of the field numbers, you have a profit of $5, while you have profits of $2 with a win on any of the place bets — $7 in winnings minus the $5 loss on the field.

The bugaboo, of course, is the loser 7. Then all the bets lose at once.

Assuming a 3-1 payoff on the field on 12, the overall house edge per roll is 1.136 percent, the result of house edges per roll of 0.463 percent on 6 and 8, 1.111 percent on 5 and 2.778 percent on the field. If you assume the place bets are left in action until they either win or lose, then the overall edge is 2.369 percent, with component edges of 4 percent on 5 and 1.52 percent on 6 and 8.

Just as on any craps combination, the overall edge is a weighted average of all component wagers. The Iron Cross can’t overcome the house edge, but it does bring frequent wins.

John Grochowski

John Grochowski is very well know gambling columnist and author. His work started as a weekly newspaper column at the Chicago Sun-Times and now he gladly shares his knowledge with Prism Casino Blog readers.