Iron Cross (Also known as Church or Criss Cross) is a community card poker game with cards dealt both face up and face down. The structure varies from being a hybrid of Hold’em or Seven Card Stud depending on where you play it. It usually is best played with a Pot Limit betting structure rather than a No Limit or Fixed Limit structure. The one fundamental constant in Iron Cross is that there are five community cards in the shape of a cross, and only either the horizontal or vertical axis of cards can be used by the players.
Typically each player is dealt three hole cards, one face up and two face down, like in Seven Card Stud. Five community cards are then dealt face down in the shape of a cross. A betting round will then take place, starting with the player with the highest card showing (Aces are high and low in this game) and after every round, one of the five community cards are turned face up.
The next betting round would take place, this time starting with whoever has the best hand showing (So a pair would start ahead of a high card). This would continue for three more betting rounds until all community cards are showing. It doesn’t matter in which order to turn the cards (Usually they are turned left-right-top-bottom-middle), but the final card to be turned is always the central card.
The players then have to make the best five card hand with their hole cards using either the horizontal line of community cards or the vertical line. Players cannot use cards from both the vertical and horizontal line.
There are a number of variants of Iron Cross. One of them makes the middle card wild, meaning you can attribute any value you want to it. For example if you needed a Jack to complete a straight, the middle card would count as the Jack even if it was a 2. A related version of the game makes the middle card wild, as well as all cards of the same rank. So if the final card is a Queen, that card is wild as well as any Queen held by another player (Making hands like Five of a Kind feasible).
There is also a version of Iron Cross where players are initially dealt four or five hole cards with none of them face up, with betting taking place starting to the left of the dealer. Iron Cross is also occasionally played as a Hi/Lo game with split pots.
Finally some people play Iron Cross similar to Double Flop Hold’em, with two cards being turned over every round and only the final middle card being turned over alone.