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Best of Jerry Stickman

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The Iron Cross - good bet or bad?

11 February 2007

The Iron Cross bet consists of place bets on the 5, 6, and 8 and a field bet. The field bet wins if you throw a 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 or 12. When the field bet loses, one of the place bets wins giving the player a small profit. With this betting arrangement, you win on 30 out of 36 possible dice combinations.

I recall many times when I had a pass line bet with odds and placed the 6 and 8 and threw number after number without collecting anything. The Iron Cross bet will definitely eliminate that situation. The only time you will not win money is when you throw the 7.

Sounds like an ideal situation, doesn't it?

And it would be, were it not for the fact that when you throw the 7, you lose all your bets.

The question, then, is how good (or bad) a bet is the Iron Cross. Is winning better than 83 percent of your bets a good deal?

Conventional wisdom states that hedge bets cause you to lose more money. If you ordinarily bet $6 on the 6 and 8, you have $12 at the mercy of a 1.52 percent house edge. Multiplying the two you are destined to lose about 18 cents on the $12. Now, if you add a place bet on the 5 for $5, you add 4 percent of it or 20 cents. Add still another bet on the field for $5 and you add 5.56 percent of it or another 27.8 cents. You have more money at risk with higher house edges so you will lose more money - period.

But what if you ordinarily bet $12 on the 6 and 8 for a total of $24 wagered and you would rather bet $22 on the Iron Cross? Your bets would be $6 each on the 6 and 8 and $5 each on the 5 and field. Here you are betting slightly less money and getting many more wins than before. What is the house edge (there will be a house edge, not a player edge) and what can you expect to lose per dollar bet?

This much we know:

  • The 6 and 8 have a 1.52 percent house edge working on $24.
  • The 5 has a 4 percent house edge working on $5.
  • The field bet has a 5.56 percent house edge working on $5.

Intuitively, the edge on the total bet of $22 should be between 1.52 and 5.56 percent - and it is. To see the calculation details, go to http://www.goldentouchcraps.com/Stickman/stick0011.shtml.

Betting one unit ($25 in the proof) on the Iron Cross, carries a 3.87 percent house edge when both the 2 and 12 pay double in the field bet. So, is it better to bet $12 each on the 6 and 8, or $22 on the Iron Cross?

  • 6 and 8: $24 * 1.52% = about 36½ cents lost.
  • Iron Cross: $22 * 3.87% = about 85 cents lost - even though less money is at risk.

Even though you are getting paid on 30 out of 36 rolls, the "tax" on those winnings amounts to about 2.5 times as much money. This is not a good bet. No matter how tempting it may be, prudent players will avoid it.

Recent Articles
Best of Jerry Stickman
Jerry Stickman

Jerry "Stickman" is an expert in dice control at craps, blackjack, advantage slots and video poker. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. The "Stickman" is also a certified instructor for Golden Touch Craps dice control classes and Golden Touch Blackjack's advantage classes. He also teaches a course in advantage-play slots and video poker. For more information visit www.goldentouchcraps.com or www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 1-800-944-0406 for a free brochure. You can contact Jerry "Stickman" at stickmanGTC@aol.com.

Jerry Stickman Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com
Jerry Stickman
Jerry "Stickman" is an expert in dice control at craps, blackjack, advantage slots and video poker. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. The "Stickman" is also a certified instructor for Golden Touch Craps dice control classes and Golden Touch Blackjack's advantage classes. He also teaches a course in advantage-play slots and video poker. For more information visit www.goldentouchcraps.com or www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 1-800-944-0406 for a free brochure. You can contact Jerry "Stickman" at stickmanGTC@aol.com.

Jerry Stickman Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com