Cincinnati Poker Rules

Cincinnati Poker is played in home games around the world but it is especially popular among players in the United States. It’s a wild game that gives each player four hole cards plus four community cards, from which they can use any combination of cards to create the best five card poker hand.

With each player having eight cards to choose from, the hand values in Cincinnati are significantly altered compared to most poker games. Big hands are quite common in Cincinnati and players must keep that in mind at all times.

Some versions of Cincinnati Poker give each player five cards plus five community cards. That version isn’t as popular, however, because it limits the number of players that can join and it makes the game almost too wild to be played with any sort of rational strategy.

Antes and Deal

Each player must pay an ante at the beginning of each hand. The ante is equal to about 10% the size of the betting limit when playing fixed-limit. In no-limit Cincinnati, a blind system like the one used in Texas Hold'em may be used instead of antes.

After the antes have been paid, each player is dealt four cards face down. These are called the “hole cards” and they can be used in any combination with the community cards to create the best possible five card poker hand.

First Betting Round

Once the players have a chance to look at their hole cards, a round of betting takes place. The betting begins with the player to the left of the dealer. This player may check, bet or fold. The betting then continues to the left around the table.

Second Betting Round

One card is dealt face up in the middle of the table. This is the first of what will be four community cards. The players at the table all share these community cards. This is followed by another round of betting.

Third Betting Round

A second card is dealt face up in the middle of the table. There is another round of betting.

Fourth Betting Round

A third card is dealt face up in the middle of the table, followed by another round of betting.

Fifth Betting Round

A fourth and final card is dealt face up in the middle of the table. This is followed by one last round of betting.


Any players remaining after the last betting round now reveal their hole cards. The player with the best five card poker hand, using any combination of hole cards and community cards, wins the pot.

Optional Rules

Five rounds of betting every time can get a bit cumbersome for some home game players. Many home games reduce it to four betting rounds by eliminating the first betting round. In that case, the first round of betting takes place after the first community card is dealt.

Other home games play Cincinnati Poker with five hole cards and five community cards, giving players a total of 10 cards to worth with. This form of Cincinnati is rarely played but you will find it at some home games.