How to Play the Iron Cross Craps System

Dice on a craps table
Corbis/VCG / Getty Images

Learning how to play the Iron Cross Craps System won't take a reader more than a few minutes. Remembering the strategy employed may take a session or two at a live casino craps table, but using advanced play isn't tough either, it's just a matter of putting the ideas into action!

Like all gamblers, craps players are always on the lookout for a new system. The Iron Cross isn't a progressive program like the Colonel's craps system, but it does take advantage of the field wager, which covers the numbers 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 and 12.

How the Iron Cross System Works

The Iron Cross is sometimes called the No Seven system, because the player covers all the possible numbers on the table except the dreaded 7. Most players bet the pass line and therefore root for a seven on the come-out roll, or the first roll with a new shooter. Rather than go against an entire table of players, the Iron Cross player usually waits until a pass-line number is established and then makes a wager in the field and also places the numbers 5, 6 and 8, to cover everything but 7. When you first try the Iron Cross, start with small wagers, but let's assume you are playing at a $10 craps game so your field bet must be $10.

If you already know how to play craps, then you know the place bets are wagers on specific numbers, and you know the wager on the number 5 will be $10 and the wager on 6 and 8 will be $12 each. You should get your four wagers down before the next roll of the dice.

Tell your inside dealer you want the 5, 6 and 8 for $34 total, then place the $10 bet in the field yourself. By doing this you have covered every number, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12, except 7. You'll win on every roll now except the 7, which will cost you your entire $44 in bets.

There is a total of 36 ways that the dice can total a number on the craps table.

Seven is the easiest number to makeĀ and can roll in six ways (1-6, 6-1, 5-2, 2-5, 4-2, 2-4). There are 30 ways another number can roll, so the odds that you will see a winning total on the next roll are 30 to 6, or 30 out of 36. However, you also get an extra payoff when the dice total 2 or 12, since most craps games pay double on the 2 and triple on the 12 for any field bets.

However, regardless of how many times you'll win, the house still holds the advantage. You can expect that edge to be 2.48 percent if the casino pays double on 2 and triple on 12 (or vice versa) for field wagers. The way your play works is fairly simple.

When you have your $44 in action and a field number rolls, you'll be very happy, because you'll get a full payoff on the field and your place bets will stay up and require no more attention. Your $10 wager in the field will win $10 on 3, 4, 9, 10, 11. When 2 rolls you'll win $20 and when 12 rolls you'll win $30. Take your payoff and leave your original $10 bet where it was.

If one of your place numbers rolls (5, 6, 8), you'll win $14. However, you'll lose your $10 in the field, so take $10 and replace the field bet and keep the other $4. On an average hand, this will happen several times and 7 will roll, wiping out your place and field bets and you'll need to start again after the come-out roll establishes a new point.

Obviously, when the dice are hot and a lot of numbers are rolling you'll get paid many times before having to start over. That's the power of the Iron Cross.

When a front-line winner rolls (the player shoots their point) your place bets will be marked "off" and you'll want to hold-off on your field bet until a new point is established. Then your place bets will be marked "on" again and you can go back to making your field wagers. If a 7-out rolls, you'll need to start all over with your place and field bets after a new number is established.

If you want to be part of the action and also shoot the dice, make a small bet on the pass line and take double odds on any point. If your point is 5, 6 or 8, make your field bet as usual and place the other two numbers that are not your point. Now you've got essentially the same wager going as the standard Iron Cross.

Advanced Iron Cross Play

The Iron Cross is a favorite system for action players because you get a decision (with hope, a winner) on every roll of the dice once a point is established. And, the system keeps players from using their chips on higher house odds bets like the horn and hard ways. And, you can enhance the Iron Cross by pressing your bets a little. Some players wait until they are winning and ready to quit for the evening, but using the advance play is always at the player's discretion.

The first variation is sometimes called Three and Done and is very simple. The player waits until there are three consecutive field roll winners and then pulls their field bet completely. Then, they either pull their place bets also and call it a night, or they leave their place bets working and keep collecting on them until there is a 7-out, and then they quit.

The second variation is sometimes called Press Till Done and is just what it sounds like. The player begins pressing (raising the wager) their place bets after each place bet wins. As an example, suppose you have $44 in action and a 6 rolls. You press the 6 from a $12 bet to $18 and take the remaining $8 and bet it in the field (you may have to add another $2 to meet the table minimum). Do this with any other 5, 6 or 8 rolled two more times, pressing your place bet one unit and making the $10 wager in the field. Once you have reached three total presses, bet the field only one more time, then quit.

At this point, you will have just your place bets working and won't make any more field bets. Each time a 5, 6 or 8 rolls, you get paid and keep the chips. Do this until a 7-out rolls and the hand is over. If you happen to catch a good hand, you'll have a nice stack of chips in front of you. If you are feeling wild after getting a few more payoffs, you can always continue pressing each time 5, 6 or 8 rolls and not stop until the 7-out finally comes. Again, if the shooter throws a big hand, you'll have a big winner! Welcome to the Iron Cross Craps System!