Criss Cross Poker
Criss Cross Poker is essentially an extension of a popular stud based table game known as Mississippi Stud. In that game, players begin with two hole cards and try to improve using three community cards, but in Criss Cross Poker, the community card count is increased to five.
The game’s name comes from the particular “cross-like” pattern formed by fitting the five community cards up and down, in addition to left and right.
Like all stud based table game variants, Criss Cross Poker competes in a crowded marketplace, but thus far the game seems to be gaining widespread traction. With major casino properties like the Borgata and Bally’s in Atlantic City, now offering the game on a full-time basis, chances are Criss Cross Poker will become a staple offering on most table game menus.
Interesting Poker Game
With that in mind, this page was written to provide a comprehensive guide to this exciting new table game concept. Here you’ll find a detailed walkthrough to introduce the rules, procedures, and gameplay concepts, followed by a guide to locating Criss Cross Poker in your nearest brick and mortar casinos, and finally, a primer on proper strategy to help you overcome the odds.
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Rules and How to Play Criss Cross
As the name suggests, Criss Cross Poker is a poker-based game, which means the standard ranking system used to judge poker hands will be in effect.
Hold’em Poker Hand Rankings
If it’s been a while since you had a kitchen table game of Texas Hold’em, take a look below to see how poker hands stack up:
Straight (AKQJ10) in the same suit.
Five consecutive cards in same suit.
Four of a Kind
Four cards of the same rank.
Three of a Kind AND One Pair.
Five cards of the same suit.
Five cards in sequential order.
Three of a Kind
Three cards of the same rank.
Two pairs of the same card.
Two cards of the same rank.
No pair, highest card is rank of hand.
Now that you know the general guidelines for playing poker hands, let’s move on to the curious case of Criss Cross Poker.
Playing Criss Cross Poker
The game begins when players put up two mandatory bets: the Ante Across bet and the Ante Down bet. These bets must be an equal amount.
At this time, players may also choose to put up an optional side bet known as the Five Card Bonus Bet (which will be described in greater detail following the base game description).
After all, players have contributed their Ante bets, the dealer will then distribute two cards face down to each player, along with five community cards (also face down) in the titular cross pattern.
This pattern is nothing more than three cards lined up horizontally (from the player’s perspective), along with one card each on the top and bottom of the middle card, forming a vertical “line” through the other three cards and forming a cross.
You’ll be combining your two hole cards with the three cards horizontal line to form your “Across hand,” and the three cards vertical line to form your “Down hand.”
After sizing up your two hole cards, the first player decision point has arrived: Fold or make the Across Bet.
- When you fold, you simply surrender the hand right then and there, forfeiting both of your Ante bets to the house.
- When you decide to make the Across bet, you’ll need to put up an additional Across Bet equal to either 1x, 2x, or 3x your original Ante Across bet.
After you’ve put up the Across bet, the dealer will then reveal the two outside cards belonging to the horizontal line.
Next, you repeat this wagering process for the Down bet, either folding or putting up an additional wager of 1x, 2x, or 3x your original Ante Down bet.
Now the dealer will turn over the two outside cards on the vertical line, leaving only the center “hub” card turned face down.
Next, for the final player decision, you must choose between folding or make one last Middle bet (again, equal to 1x, 2x, or 3x the size of your Ante bet).
The dealer will then reveal the middle card to complete the cross of community cards.
With two five card poker hands now completed (the Across hand and the Down hand), payouts are awarded based on the following pay table:
|Criss Cross Poker Pay Table|
|HAND||ANTE BET PAYOUT||ACROSS/DOWN/MIDDLE PAYOUT|
|Royal Flush||1 to 1||500 to 1|
|Straight Flush||1 to 1||100 to 1|
|Four of a Kind||1 to 1||40 to 1|
|Full House||1 to 1||12 to 1|
|Flush||1 to 1||8 to 1|
|Straight||1 to 1||5 to 1|
|Three of a Kind||1 to 1||3 to 1|
|Two Pair||1 to 1||2 to 1|
|High Pair (J’s–A’s)||1 to 1||1 to 1|
|Low Pair (6’s–10’s)||Push||Push|
Basically, when you make a good hand (anything higher than one pair of 6s), you’ll either push or win even money on your Ante bet.
Strong hands pay higher dividends, however, on the Across, Down, and Middle bets, with an escalating pay table being used.
Five Card Bonus Side Bet
Finally, if you chose to put up the optional Five Card Bonus side bet, the payouts on this wager are based on the combined strength of the five community cards in the cross pattern. The pay table for the Five Card Bonus side bet can be found below:
|Five Card Bonus Bet Pay Table|
|Royal Flush||250 to 1|
|Straight Flush||100 to 1|
|Four of a Kind||40 to 1|
|Full House||15 to 1|
|Flush||10 to 1|
|Straight||6 to 1|
|Three of a Kind||4 to 1|
|Two Pair||3 to 1|
|One Pair (6’s and Up)||1 to 1|
Criss Cross Poker Example Hand
Step 6 – Now, with the five community cards now revealed, you’ll combine your two hole cards (As and 10s) with the horizontal line to form your Across hand, and the vertical line to form your Down hand.
We’d make an ace high flush with the Across hand (As Ks Js 10s 5s), and two pairs in the Down hand (As Ah 10s 5h 5c).
Step 7 – In the case of our Ante Across and Ante Down bets, we hold an ace high flush and two pairs, respectively (As Ks Js 10s 5s in the Across hand and As Ah 10s 5h 5c in the Down hand).
In both cases, we qualify for an even money payout on the Ante bets, so we’d earn $5 each for those wagers.
Step 8 – The real fun of Criss Cross Poker, however, comes from the larger pay table.
- With the Down hand, our two pairs are good enough for a 2 to 1 payout, so we’d collect another $30 profit on the $15 Down bet.
- The Middle bet is paid out according to the highest of the two other hands, so once again we’d cash in for an 8 to 1 payout on our $15 Middle bet for another $120 uptick.
- If we take a look back at the community cards (Ah Ks Js 5s 5c), we’d just fall short of the threshold (one pair of 6s or higher) needed to win on the Five Card Bonus bet.
Obviously, we crafted the running example hand to provide a look into how Criss Cross Poker works, and you won’t always be running into monster hands like flushes. But as an example, you can see how a few smaller wagers in this game can materialize into major profits when the cards align.
Best Places to Play Criss Cross Poker
With a game like Criss Cross Poker, which is both relatively new and quite popular, chances are high that the list of casinos offering it grows on a regular basis.
As more players visit mega resort casino destinations like the Borgata and discover the game, demand will only continue to grow nationally, leading to trial placements in tribal gambling establishments and smaller local casinos around the country.
Brick and Mortar Casinos
We’ve searched far and wide, however, to compile the following list of brick and mortar casino properties which are sure to carry Criss Cross Poker tables at this time:
- Margaritaville Resort Casino – Bossier City, LA
- Isle of Capri Casino Hotel Boonville – Boonville, MO
- Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino – Las Vegas, NV (The Strip)
- Bally’s Atlantic City Hotel and Casino – Atlantic City, NJ
- Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa – Atlantic City, NJ
- Tropicana Casino & Resort Atlantic City – Atlantic City, NJ
- Mount Airy Casino Resort – Pocono, PA
- Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort – New Cumberland, WV
This list is by no means comprehensive, so, by all means, call your local casinos and ask for the table games manager. Five minutes on the phone might lead you to a Criss Cross Poker table which is not listed above.
No Online Casinos Yet
As of yet, AGS has chosen not to license Criss Cross Poker for play via online casino, but as the company continues its aggressive expansion within the industry, this move may come at any time.
Strategic Considerations for Criss Cross Poker
For the most comprehensive and accurate analysis of Criss Cross Poker strategy, we humbly refer you to Michael Shackleford and his Wizard of Odds casino game theory laboratory.
On Shackleford’s main page for Criss Cross Poker, you’ll find a full breakdown of the game’s mathematical underpinnings, including explanations on the expected return associated with each bet, the possible combinations for each hand, and your overall probability of landing various hands.
Criss Cross Poker Basic Strategy
Shackleford has also taken the time to develop a “basic strategy” guide for casual players, much like the one used in blackjack, which can assist you during close decisions. His approach to playing Criss Cross Poker correctly can be summed up as follows:
Strategy to Win at Criss Cross Poker
- First, players should never make the 2x bet amount which is made available on the Across, Down, and Middle bets. Instead, players should always bet either 1x or 3x when continuing, or they should fold.
- For the Across bet, players should fold only when their two hole cards are unsuited, unpaired, and the highest card ranks as a 5 or lower. Players should only make the 3x maximum Across bet when holding a suited Q J, or any pair.
- With all other hole cards, players should make the 1x minimum Across bet.
- For the Down bet, players should follow the same general guidelines as the Across bet, while attempting to factor in the newly exposed cards. When these cards serve to improve your hand or give it the potential to improve, you should raise the maximum.
- For the Middle bet, players now have access to four of the five community cards. Generally speaking, if you’ve already put up a 3x maximum bet on either the Across bet or the Down bet, you should never fold the Middle bet.
- On about 4.5 percent of hands, you’ll make the 1x minimum bet for the Across bet and the Down bet, before choosing to fold the Middle bet.
History of Criss Cross Poker
The U.S. Patent application to protect a hybrid table game concept known as Criss Cross Poker was filed by game inventor Ronald Daluca in February 2014.
Laduca, who also created other table games like Double Draw Poker and Super 4 Progressive Blackjack, launched his own casino game design firm, In Bet Gaming, to help market his ideas.
In September of 2014, however, Laduca and In Bet Gaming decided to license Criss Cross Poker to major casino game manufacturer American Gaming Systems, which in turn debuted the game at that year’s Global Gaming Expo. Since that time, Criss Cross Poker has secured a few stable installations in casinos located across the country, including Las Vegas, Nevada and Atlantic City, New Jersey, in addition to the state of Washington.
- Playags.com Criss Cross Poker page.