Hot Craps Strategies: Is The Iron Cross Method Of Betting A Good One? Part II

More on the Iron Cross

In the last article we explored some details about the Iron Cross betting system. The advocates for this system are action players. They like the fact that they get paid when almost any number rolls.

The Iron Cross bet consists of place bets on the 5, 6, and 8 and a field bet. The field bet wins if a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 or 12 appears. When the field bet loses, one of the place bets wins giving the player a small profit. The player who uses the Iron Cross system get paid when any number rolls except of course if a 7 appears. When that happens the player loses all the bets.

In a previous article we explored the question: how good (or bad) a bet is the Iron Cross. Is winning better than 83 percent of your bets a good deal?

The answer you pay additional money to the casino for your added action. Betting a $30 6 and 8, a $25 5 and a $25 field bet, the house edge is 3.87 percent of the entire $110 that is at risk. This amounts to about $4.25.

Betting a $30 6 and 8 places $60 at risk with a 1.52 percent house edge. That works out to 91 cents. In order to enjoy the additional action the house collects a toll of about 4 times that of the $30 6 and 8. In my book, the extra action is not worth the extra cost.

If you bet approximately the same amount of money as the Iron Cross by putting $56 on the 6 and 8, the house would take $1.70 well under half what you would lose on the Iron Cross.

What is that you ask? What about a controlled shooter? You say that simply by avoiding the 7 often enough so it only appears once every seven rolls of the dice instead of the random one out of six, you can overcome the house edge? Yes, that is true, but we should look a little deeper.

Lets look at the specifics of the same two betting schemes mentioned above a $110 Iron Cross ($30 6 and 8 plus a $25 5 and a $25 field bet) versus a $30 6 and 8.

We will look at "sevens to rolls ratios" or SRRs of one in 6.5, 7.0, 7.5 and 8.0. Since SRR is only concerned with how many 7s show versus the number of non-7s the edge can be calculated.

For the same reason we have to assume that all non-7s appear in the same distribution as random when they appear. For example, assume a 7.0 SRR. Out of 70 rolls there will be 10 7s. The remaining 60 numbers will contain 13.9% (5 out of 36) 6s, 13.9% 8s, 11.1% 5s, 11.1% 9s, etc.

Okay, so what exactly are the edges on the Iron Cross as the shooters ability to reduce the appearance of the 7 improves?

If you can maintain an SRR of 6.5 which is not all that easy the house still has an edge of 6/10 percent. Once you are able to master a consistent 7.0 SRR, you swing the edge in your favor nicely at almost 2.3 percent. An SRR of 7.5 yields a player edge of about 4.8 percent and if you have the talent, you will achieve an edge of 7.2 percent with an SRR of 8.0. These are some hefty edges. 7.2 percent of $110 is $7.92 very nice.

So a sufficiently talented shooter can make money using the Iron Cross, but what about our old standby the 6 and 8. Using the same assumptions about number mix we achieve the following edges by betting only the 6 and 8. First of all, this simple change in betting is enough to swing the edge to the player when the shooter maintains a 6.5 SRR. The details: an SRR of 6.5 yields a 3.6 percent player edge, SRR of 7.0 gives an 8.3 percent player edge, SRR of 7.5 has a 12.6 percent player edge and finally an SRR of 8.0 give a whopping 16.6 percent player edge! These are monstrous edges.

For comparison purposes, here is a table with all the numbers.


Iron Cross

Place 6 and 8



$110 Bet


$30 each

$56 each


- .6 %

- $0.66

3.6 %




2.3 %


8.3 %




4.8 %


12.6 %




7.2 %


16.6 %



This table says it all. Even though you will get paid much more often using the Iron Cross, the additional edge you face is simply too expensive. You make more money betting half as much on the 6 and 8. It is also very clear that keeping your money on bets whose edges are easier to overcome pays off. In this example, with and SRR of 6.5 you will lose money on the Iron Cross, but make a nice profit betting the same amount on the 6 and 8. In fact, you make almost as much as if you had a 7.5 SRR.

One thing is very clear bet the lowest house edge bets. It is easiest to make money that way.

Honestly, why would anyone want to give the casino additional money? Stay tuned for the next article, which discusses varying your bets on the Iron Cross.