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Criss Cross Poker

22 October 2015

Usually, when I see a table game for the first time at the annual Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, I assume it’s going to be some time before I see it again. Table space is limited, it takes time for games to get a trial in casinos, and some games make a splash online before brick-and-mortar operators give them a look.

Criss Cross Poker is different. It’s already on casino floors in Las Vegas and doing well. That’s a big step for American Gaming Systems, which started its expansion into table games just over a year ago to augment its strong footprint in Class II slot machines and its crossover into Class III.

Criss Cross Poker is just what the name suggests. You get two cards face down, and five community cards are dealt face down in a cross pattern.

Winners are paid on five card hands that include your two cards plus either the three “across” cards or the three “down” cards. The pay table starts at a push on a pair of 6s through 10s, then increases to 1-1 on a pair of jacks or better, 2-1 on two pair, 3-1 on three of a kind, 5-1 on a straight, 8-1 on a flush, 12-1 on a full house, 40-1 on four of a kind, 100-1 on a straight flush or 500-1 on a royal flush.

You start with two equal antes, an “across ante” for a five-card hand using your two cards and the horizontal row, and a “down ante” for a five-card hand that includes the vertical column.
After you see your cards, you may either fold or make an across bet of one, two or three times your ante. The dealer then turns the outside cards of the horizontal row face up. You then can either fold or make a down bet of one to three times your ante.

Once the dealer turns the top and bottom cards face up, that leaves only the middle card hidden. That signals your final opportunity to bet. You can make a middle bet of one, two or three times one of your antes. The middle bet pays if either the across or down bet wins, and it pays at the odds of the higher-ranking hand.

The middle bet is your big opportunity for profit. On the down and across bets, you’re wagering with limited information, having seen only your own two cards. But when it comes time to make the middle bet, you’ll have seen four more cards. When either the across or down hand is a winner before you see the final card, you’re going to want to make the max bet on middle.

The entire house edge of 4.3% comes from the across and down bets. Players have an edge on the middle bet. At wizardofofdds.com, Michael Shackleford calculates that the best strategy for the across bet is to fold if the player cards are unsuited, unpaired, and the highest is 5 or lower. If the player cards are a suited jack-queen or any pair, make the 3x bet, and if they’re anything else, make the 1x bet.

That’s also a reasonable guideline for the down bet, but you have the advantage there of having seen two across cards. That can influence borderline hands. If you have 6-2 leading to a 1x across bet, and the two exposed across cards are 6s, then there’s only one more 6 available. That limits the value of the down hand, making it one to skip.

Look for John Grochowski on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/7lzdt44) and Twitter (@GrochowskiJ).
Related Links
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Best of John Grochowski
John Grochowski

John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski