Iron Cross

Iron Cross poker layoutIron Cross is a unique poker game involving five community cards. However, unlike Texas Hold’em and Omaha, you don’t get to use all of the cards…and you don’t even know what some of them are!

Object of Iron Cross

The object of Iron Cross is to win money by having the best poker hand possible using the four cards in your hand and a selection of the five community cards.


Like almost all poker games, Iron Cross uses the standard 52-card deck of playing cards. Like almost all poker games, you’ll have a better time if you’re using Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards.

All players ante. Shuffle and deal four cards to each player. Deal five cards face down to the center of the table in the shape of a cross, then turn two of the cards at the ends of the cross face-up. (Refer to the diagram for an example layout.)

Game play

Starting from the player to the left of the dealer, each player examines their hand and determines which of the community cards they will be using:

  • Knowns: the two face-up cards.
  • Unknowns: the three face-down cards.
  • Row: the three cards (one face up and two face down) in the horizontal row. In the example image, this would be the 5♠ and the two cards to the right of it.
  • Column: the three cards (again, one face up and two face down) in the vertical column. In the example, this would be the 8♦ and the two cards below it.

Players also have the option to fold.

After each player has declared, the hands and the face-down cards in the cross are revealed. Whoever has the best poker hand, using the four cards in their hand and the cards they selected from the table, wins the pot. All other active players (not the ones who folded, however) pay the amount of the pot into the center of the table, forming the pot for the next hand. (Option: the amount that is paid can be capped at the amount in the first pot, to keep betting amounts lower, if desired.)

In the event that only one player doesn’t fold, or if all players but the dealer fold (the dealer being compelled to play if all other players fold), that player plays “against the pot”. After their hand is revealed, four more cards are dealt to the board (forming a three-by-three grid) and the player’s hand is compared to the best five-card hand that can be formed using the nine cards on the board. If the player wins, which is unlikely as they are facing a best-out-of-nine-card hand, they win the pot and all other players must ante again for the next hand; otherwise, the pot remains for the next hand and they pay the appropriate amount into the pot.

Game play continues until you’re sick of it. For the final hand, losers pay half of the amount they would otherwise pay to the winner of the final pot.