Chinese Poker Rules
Chinese poker may not be among the more popular poker variants, nor is it available for online play in any of the online poker rooms (possibly in casinos, but one can’t play against other players there, rather only against the house). Many of poker’s best known high stakes professionals play Chinese poker though, often for exorbitant stakes, so the game is indeed legit and it does indeed have a kind of a cult following.
Chinese poker is a game which is pretty heavy on the deck: each player gets no fewer than 13 cards, which means that a maximum of 4 players can play it. Once the cards are dealt, each player is required to make 3 separate hands. The highest one of these hands is a 5-card hand called the back hand. The back hand MUST be the highest of the three, per game rules and conventional poker hand rankings. The second hand is a 5-card one as well. This one is called the middle hand and it needs to be lower than the back hand but higher than the front hand. The third hand is a 3-card one. This one is the front hand. Obviously, the three of a kind is the best possible front hand. When the player is done making his 3 hands, he compares them to those of his opponents’. Front hands are compared to front hands, middle hands to middle hands and back hands to back hands. Players win a unit for each of the hands that beat their opponents’ corresponding hands. In Chinese poker, pushes are also possible. In that case, neither player receives any sort of reward for the hand in question. In Western Chinese poker, the player who wins the most hands is rewarded with an additional unit.
In Chinese poker, there are certain hands which are called special hands, or clean sweep hands and which instantly win. The Dragon for instance consists of 13 cards, each of them of different face value. The 13 colors hand is made up of 13 cards, each of them of the same color. The 12 colors features 12 cards of the same color. Then there are 6 pairs, 3 straights and 3 flushes. If two players happen to have clean sweep hands, the higher ranking one wins. Clean sweep hands need to be declared. If a player fails to read his hand properly and as a consequence, he fails to declare the clean sweep, the hand will be played as a regular one. In Eastern Chinese poker, certain hands earn special bonuses. The 3 of a kind for instance, earns a 3-point bonus if it is used in the front hand.
Surrendering a hand is also possible. If a player surrenders his hand, it will not be compared to those of his opponents’, and he will have to pay a 3-unit fee to each of his opponents. If players fail to set up their 3 hands properly, they will pay a penalty to each of the other players.
Since Chinese poker isn’t widely available online (in a player vs player format) it is unclear if any poker rake is collected on it and if so how it’s done. When playing other poker variants online though, one should always take advantage of the poker prop deals or rakeback deals available at the various rakeback sites.