Iron Cross (Church Poker) Rules

Iron Cross Poker is also known as Church Poker. The origin of the game is based on its formation on the table which is arranged in a shape of a cross. This is a fun home game played by dealing four hole cards to every player. In some cases, five hole cards are given to every player. The dealer places five cards in the center of the table formed in the shape of a cross with this arrangement: one card is laid in the center of the table, one on each side, one at the top and one at the bottom.

The cards on the table will be revealed one by one and after every card is revealed, a betting round takes place. When all five cards have been revealed, players can now form their five best cards by using their hole cards and combining them with the cards formed horizontally or vertically.

The revelation of the cards follows a certain pattern. The card at the top of the vertical row is the one revealed first. The rest of the cards are revealed following a clockwise movement. When all four outer cards are revealed, the middle card is finally opened.

In other Iron Cross variation, there's an option for the middle card to be declared as a wild card. All players must be notified about this before dealing the other cards.


Before every player receives his card, he has to pay the ante or forced bet before the game starts. The ante is just a small amount sizing to ten percent of the betting limit.


When the ante is completed, the dealer distributes the four faced down cards to every player one at a time starting from the player seated at the dealer's left.

Since the dealer's position commands each betting round's order, the position of the dealer must move one spot to the side left. This should take place before each hand begins. A dealer's button is used in the case when a full time dealer is present.

First Round

When players received all their four cards, the first card is revealed followed by the first betting round starting from the player seated at the dealer's left. This card is the one at the top of the cross. The player who started the betting can bet, check or fold. After this, another betting continues around the table following a clockwise movement.

Second Round

The second card revealed is the card on the right of the cross. The player seated left of the dealer starts the second betting round.

Third Round

The third card revealed is the card at the bottom of the cross. Same as the previous, a round of betting takes place.

Fourth Round

The fourth card revealed is the card at the left of the cross. Another betting round continues.

Fifth Round

The fifth card revealed is the card at the middle of the cross followed by the final betting round.


If more than one player remains right after the final betting, the game continues to a showdown. The player combines his two hole cards with either the horizontal or vertical rows of cards. The player holding the best 5 cards poker gets the pot.