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Church Poker

No, it’s not a fireplace utensil found in your local temple. Church Poker is the name of Texas Hold’em variant with a very specific order of play when it comes to the community, or table, cards. Like Hold’em players attempt to make the best five-card hand out of their hole cards and those face up on the board, but from there things get quite different.

Each player is dealt five pocket cards, as opposed to the two cards in Hold’em. There are five table cards like Hold’em, but the way they are dealt gives the name to the game; face down and in the shape of a cross. In fact, “Iron Cross” is another name Church Poker is known by.

The table cards are dealt face down, and revealed one at a time. Play proceeds like this: After ante and pocket cards are dealt, the cross is laid out on the board. A round of betting, then the top of the cross is reveled. More betting, then each card is revealed in turn, moving clockwise, with the middle card being last. Betting occurs after each card is revealed. The last round is a showdown, with the winning hand being composed of the best five cards using only one arm of the cross.

For example, if you have pocket cards of 2C, 8S, 6H, 8C, 9H, and the cross is (top)KS, (right)AC, (left) KD, (bottom)3S and (middle) KH, you would have to look at your hand plus either KS, KH, 3S OR KD, KH, AC. Considering this arraingment, you could NOT end up with a full house (Kings and Eights), as the three Kings are split between two arms. You COULD have two par, either KS, KH and your eights or KH, KD and your eights.

If you are looking for something new, Church Poker is easy to pick up and different enough from Hold’em to provide a fun change of pace.


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