Crown and Anchor is as important to Cup Match as the game of cricket itself. I must have been near six years old when I was properly introduced to the game. My father coached me as he dragged me along in the oppressive heat towards the tent. “Don’t tell your mother,” he said—an empowering secret to hold at that age—and it’s been love ever since.
I’ve made and lost small fortunes at the damn game ever since I could play it. Why? Because I can’t help but break the number one rule: get out while you’re ahead. You have two days to indulge your inner degenerate gambler, and it’s almost always better to use only one day. I can’t count the number of times I swaggered back up to a table after making a cool $500 the day before, only to lose it all.
So what’s the key to beating the bank at Crown and Anchor?
First, some background.
Originating in the 18th century, Crown and Anchor was a popular pastime for sailors in the navy. While its popularity has waned over the years, it is still played here at home and in the Channel Islands, where it is controlled just like here, and can only be played legally during the Islands’ three agricultural shows.
The game is one of pure luck. We use three special dice, equal in size and shape to normal dice, but instead of one through six pips, they are marked with six symbols: crown, anchor, diamond, spade, club and heart—the same symbols used on playing cards.
When you sidle up to a table, you’re taking on the banker who will be collecting the bets and rolling the dice. In front of you you’ll find a canvas or felt mat marked with the six symbols, upon which you’ll place your bets on one or more of the symbols. The banker throws the dice, and if there are any bets on any symbol that comes up on one or more of the dice, (in addition to returning the stake) the banker pays the player the amount of his stake for each die showing that symbol. So a $10 bet returns $20 for one die, $30 for two, $40 for three. If the symbol doesn’t come up, the player loses his bet.
On average, players will receive back 92% of the amount he bets, while the house takes roughly 8% of all money bet. Thus, the banker has the usual upper hand, unless you’re willing to roll up with some serious dough.
The way towards a surefire win at the Crown and Anchor table is to double down at every loss, and have a sizable wallet. So that means if you lose a $20 bet, you put down $40 the next time. If you lose that $40 bet, you put down $80, and so on until you win your stake back.
The trick, as always, is walking away once you have.