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Should you salute the Iron Cross craps strategy?


31 Jan 2018

Should you roll two dice simultaneously, there are 11 different number totals that you could end up with.

Of these 11 totals, would you fancy your chances of placing a winning bet if 10 of these possible outcomes were in your favour?

At its core, this is what the Iron Core strategy gives you in the game of craps.

The dreaded 7

There are 36 different combinations when two dice are rolled together, with six of these equalling a total of seven.

This makes sense as seven is the most common of the 11 possible number totals and also, unsurprisingly, the number that needs to be avoided with the Iron Cross strategy.

A typical Iron Cross bet

In roulette, it isn’t uncommon to place multiple bets on the layout before the wheel is sent spinning into motion.

Chips could be placed straight-up on various lucky single numbers, on either red or black and on one of the three columns.

The Iron Cross bet is similar as it’s effectively a combination of four bets into one.

In the Place Bets section at the top of the craps table, you would need to wager separately on the five, six and eight numbers. Another bet is needed in the Field box, which includes the numbers two, three, four, nine, 10, 11 and 12.

These bets would all be placed following the come-out roll, which ensures that the shooter has established the point on their turn handling the dice.

Stakes and odds

It’s not unusual for a complete Iron Cross bet to set you back £44.

A stake of £10 is placed on the Field and should one of these numbers be rolled, a payout of even-money is given, turning the £10 into £20.

Because of their low probability of being rolled, it is common that a total of two or 12 are paid at better odds than even-money. This could be 2/1 or sometimes 3/1.

Another £10 is staked on five, which pays at 7/5, while £12 is placed on both six and eight as these pay at 7/6. All of these bets would return a profit of £14 should they be successful.

How a turn develops

We have already mentioned that all bets are placed following the come-out roll and that the only mission is to avoid the shooter rolling a seven. Any other roll brings a profit.

One of the most popular elements of the Iron Cross strategy is that it guarantees action on every roll of the dice.

Let’s assume that the point has been set as nine and that the first roll is a pair of twos for a total of four.

This would be a Field winner, meaning a profit of £10. Significantly, none of the other bets are losers and so can just be kept on the table. Three Field numbers in succession would lead to a profit of £30.

If one of the top-line bet numbers are rolled, Field bets are losers and a much smaller profit is secured.

For instance, should the shooter roll an eight, the £10 on the Field is lost, but £14 is won. £10 of this would normally be used to stake again on the Field and so £4 is made from the roll.

This sequence continues until a seven is rolled, which could occur on the first or second roll to quickly clear the table of Iron Cross bets or it could take in excess of 100 rolls on hot shooter streaks, despite the 1/6 probability.

The obvious intention is to at least make £44 in profits, to break even, before the seven appears.


The main dilemma for a player relates to how they adjust their bet sizes throughout a shooter streak.

A basic strategy is to just stick to a pre-determined bet size until a seven is rolled.

Other players may look to increase all of their bets once they have made back their £44 to attempt to quickly increase profits. Because bets can be changed after every roll, there is also the option of doubling all bets on the numbers in the Place Bets section and leaving the Field at the original stake.

Alternatively, more conservative players may look to bet less after a few wins, with fewer chips on the table meaning minimal losses should a seven be rolled.

After six winning rolls, a player may decide to remove their Field bet and just play their Place Bet numbers.


Working out the house edge with the Iron Cross can be a bit tricky because many of the bets placed are multi-roll bets.

The given house edge across the combination is 1.14%. This is the house edge per roll.

However, on the assumption that all bets are played out until a decision is reached, the edge increases to 2.37%.

Therefore, logic dictates that the Iron Cross is best profitable as a short-term betting option for players looking to pass some time with a few rolls on craps.

This is on the basis that the house edge more than doubles when bets are played to a decision, compared to betting on a single roll of the dice.

It could pay to wait for a shooter to roll a seven and then put down some chips in the Iron Cross formation for two or three further rolls, with probability suggesting that another seven won’t appear for six more throws of the dice.