How to Play Chinese Poker and What are the Rules? - PokerHigh

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How to Play Chinese Poker and What are the Rules?

In terms of gameplay, Chinese Poker is a unique poker variant that differs significantly from other, more prevalent varieties of poker (such as Hold’em, Omaha, or Stud). However, as long as you’re familiar with the typical poker hand rankings, you should be able to handle this intriguing twist of a game just fine!

In a nutshell, players must divide their 13 poker beginning cards into three different poker hands: two hands having 5 cards and one hand including 3 cards. On each hand, players try to build the best/highest-ranked holdings (in comparison to how other players have structured their holdings).

Because of the amount of luck involved and the fact that you have complete control over how you choose to arrange your cards into the various hands, this game is thrilling and interesting, even for beginner players.

As a result, you may – to some part – choose your fate in this poker variant by determining the best order in which to arrange your cards!

So, in the end, you don’t need to be a seasoned pro to succeed in this game; just make sure you know your poker hand rankings first!

Chinese Poker rules

The maximum number of players is 4 because each player will receive 13 cards at the start of each round of gameplay. This is the most popular number format. However, gaming with two or three individuals is quite fine and permitted.

Players can either “surrender” or “play” their hands after arranging their cards into separate hand groupings. The remaining players then reveal their holdings in a clockwise direction (beginning to the left of the dealer), and scoring begins.

There are a few specific rules and game settings that need to be covered in detail:

  • Winning Outright: It should be emphasised that if any player makes three flushes or straights in their three hands, they automatically win the entire hand, regardless of the other players’ holdings, scooping 3 units from any player who hasn’t surrendered yet.
  • Surrendering: This is an optional (but commonly used) regulation that should be decided by the players before the game begins. It’s when a person agrees to pay a fixed amount (typically between the amount they’d lose if they lost 2-3 hands – for example, 2 to 2.5 “units”) rather than play their hand against the other players. Fortunately, they also do not pay royalties if any are due for that round.
  • Mis-Set Hand/Foul: If a player arranges his cards incorrectly (for example, by mixing up the middle and back holdings in terms of hand strength, or by not having their 5-card hands be of higher value than their 3-card hands, etc. ), that player must pay each player the same amount as if they had lost all three hands to all other players. It’s worth noting that if someone lays their hand incorrectly, they don’t have to pay someone who has already resigned. Players should determine ahead of time whether the mis-set player will be obliged to play their hands as usual and score them appropriately, or if their hand will be forfeited and the penalty of 3 units paid to each player will suffice.

Let’s look at the next part on real money games India and how to play a hand of Chinese Poker to better understand the rules.

How to play Chinese Poker

  1. Dealing: After each hand, the “dealer” (who rotates clockwise from one player to the next) deals 13 cards to each player, beginning with the person to his left.
  2. Setting: Each player splits their cards into the three poker hands mentioned above: two 5-card hands (“the middle”) and one 3-card poker hand (“the front”), in which straights and flushes are ignored. NOTE: “The rear” has to be the best of the three hands. NOTE: Even if it’s a three-of-a-kind, “the front” must be placed at the front, and the middle and rear hands must have higher values than the three-of-a-kind. Otherwise, fines (as described in the section on “Mis-Set Hand” above) may be incurred.
  3. Placing/Exposing Hands: Players then line up their three hands face-down, one in front of the other, on the table in a logical order. The rear hand (strongest-hand, 5 cards) should be closest to them, followed by the centre in front of that, and finally, the front (3-card-hand), which should be lined up furthest away from the player.
  4. Are You Playing Your Hand? Starting with the person to the left of the dealer, each player announces whether or not they will play their hand. (As previously stated, this is where a player would “surrender” if applicable.)
  5. Royalties: Following that, the players announce their royalties in the same poker sequence.
  6. Revealing of Hands: Players expose their front, middle, and backhands to the table by turning their cards face up.
  7. Scoring: The winning hands are chosen, and units/monies are exchanged, credited, and counted in this section.
  8. Next Hand: The dealer button is moved one space to the left after the hand is finished, the cards are shuffled, and the following hand begins.

Chinese Poker scoring

Unlike other poker games that use blind or ante stakes systems, Chinese Poker uses units, which are predefined monetary amounts that participants agree to use before the game begins.

As a result, because no poker chips are required, scores can be tracked with a simple pen and paper, allowing players to avoid paying up after each hand and instead settle up with each other when their session is over.

In terms of scoring and unit winning/losing, each player gets one unit from each player whose hand they beat, and this process repeats for the front, middle, and rear hands, respectively.

Consider the following sequence for the rankings of the *back* hand. The number of units each player will have gained or lost for this hand is listed beside each player, followed by an explanation of how these values were calculated in the section below:

Player 1 (highest-poker hand rankings): + 3 units

Player 2: + 1 unit

Player 3: – 1 unit

Player 4 (lowest-ranked backhand of the four players ): – 3 units

Awarding of Points

As their backhand beats each of the other players’ backhands (+3 units overall), Player 1 receives units from each of the other players.

Player 2 gives Player 1 one unit for losing to him but collects units from Players 3 and 4 for beating their hands (a total of +1 unit).

Player 3 awards one unit to each of Players 1 and 2, but collects one unit from Player 4 for defeating him (-1 unit overall).

Because he lost his backhand to all three other players, Player 4 gives one unit to each of Players 1, 2, and 3. (-3 units overall).

After the backhand has been scored, the scoring process is repeated independently for the middle and front hands.

Bonus Points

If a player wins a variable combination of various hands (front, middle, or rear) during the same round of competition, there can be scoring for additional “bonus” units awarded (determined beforehand):

In some versions of the game, if a person wins two of the three hands, they gain an extra unit from each other.

This bonus unit is only granted in some editions if a player wins all three hands.

These “bonus” units are awarded using two typical gaming procedures. Before you start playing, make sure you’ve decided and agreed on which (if any) you’d like to use:

1–6 method: If a player wins all three hands, that player receives three bonus units from the other players. However, if a player only wins two of the three hands, no bonus points are paid.

2-4 method: If a player wins the majority of hands (two or three), they will receive one “overall winner” bonus unit from each of the other players.

Keeping Score More Easily

The simplest way to keep score, especially with numerous players, is to keep track of everyone’s scores independently. Begin keeping track of wins and losses with the player to the left of the dealer.

Compare his hands to each of the players on his left separately. After that, proceed with the player to his left. If there are four players, compare hands with the remaining players who haven’t been tallied yet, ending with the last score being monitored between the dealer and the player 3 to his left (or immediate right).

Chinese Poker game variations

Open-Faced Chinese Poker and a game called Pineapple are the two basic varieties of the game of Chinese Poker. Both games have a famous aspect known as “Fantasy Land”! Even after these basic sorts, there are a few more lesser-known game variations for this style of poker.

The goal of this section is to elaborate on these many twists:

  • Open-Faced: The overall principle of the game is the same in Open-Faced Chinese Poker, but the way a player’s cards are ultimately played into the three different hands is rather different! Players begin with only 5 of their total 13 cards and place these 5 cards face-up to begin creating their three different hands (starting with the player to the left of the dealer). It’s important to note that once these cards (and following cards) have been set in their rows, they can’t be moved!

After the first round, players draw one more card at a time and place it face-up on the table in one of their face-up hands. This process continues until all 13 cards in a player’s hand have been dealt and played.

Players can still foul (or mis-set) if they misplace the correctly ranked order of their three hands by the end of the game, forfeiting any bonuses or royalties they may be owed, even if they don’t know their ultimate 13 cards immediately away. (This is a considerably more typical circumstance in Open-Face Chinese Poker than in Classic Chinese Poker.) In Open-Face, it’s general knowledge that if you foul, you must pay six units to each opponent who doesn’t foul as well. Surrendering also means you lose two units to each opponent who does not surrender. However, as is customary, these are troops that can be changed or chosen prior to gameplay.

In terms of scoring, it works similarly to normal Chinese Poker, with players receiving one unit from their opponent(s) for each hand they win. In Open-Face, the 1-6 approach is commonly employed, which means that each player awards you an additional 3 units only if you sweep and win all three hands.

Because one does not know their full hand from the start, royalties are a little different in Chinese Poker. As a result, it’s considerably less likely that one of the royalties (particularly, the hand-ranking royalties) will be attained, implying that the payouts for these should be substantially greater than in conventional Chinese Poker.

  • Fantasy Land: This is an optional feature in Open-Face where players enter Fantasy Land if they make a pair of Queens or better in their front hand without fouling. They get a significant advantage for the next hand when they are given all 13 cards for their hand at once, exposing them to the table only after other players have finished setup. Players must then make one of the following moves to stay in Fantasy Land for the next hand:

1) Trips in their front hand;

2) In their middle hand, they have a full house (or better); or

3) Quads (or better) in their backhand.

  • Pineapple: This type is identical to Open-Faced Chinese Poker, except once the first five cards are dealt with, the game is played differently. After the first 5, instead of receiving and placing one card at a time, players accept three cards on each turn and must play two into their tabled hands while discarding the other face-down.

In this form, there are only 5 total turns between players due to the way the sketching works with the gameplay (speeding up gameplay). Because of the cards that will make up the discard pile, there can only be a total of three participants. The rules and conditions for Fantasy Land remain the same as they are for Open-Faced Chinese Poker. Players in Pineapple’s Fantasy Land, on the other hand, are dealt 14 cards and must discard one face-down in order to create and arrange their ultimate hand.

  • 7-2 Lowball: The middle hand is played like a 2-7 low hand in this variation.

Criss Cross: This is a heads-up (2-player) variation of the classic Chinese Poker game. Players are handed two hands of 13 cards each, and each hand competes against the corresponding hand across the table. It’s worth noting that players can’t switch cards between their two 13-card starting hands! In the end, this version promotes a minor boost in gameplay pace, allowing players to play more hands in less time (without having to shuffle and re-deal between each individual/singular hand).

  • The Wheel Straight: After A-K-Q-J-T, the wheel straight of A-2-3-4-5 is regarded as the next finest straight.

As a result, in terms of straight rankings, it would look like this:



K-Q-J-T-9 Etc.

Chinese Poker Summary

Finally, Chinese Poker is an enthralling game for poker fans and thrill-seekers! Being able to receive royalties, earn bonuses, beat your friends, and play with multiple stakes in the same game.

Even if you have the second-best hand in a round, you can still win money and control your fate (to some extent) by how you arrange your cards.

If you enjoy poker, this game download poker app can include a little bit of everything!