Chinese Poker is a poker variation that, unlike the traditional hold’em and Omaha Hold’em, does not have betting rounds and, consequently, does not have bets. Players win by being given points, or «scores.» The monetary equivalent of a single score and the rules for giving additional points for the strongest hands (royalty) are decided at the outset of the game.
Two or three players can play at once. In Chinese poker, the players need to collect, in the right order, the best card combinations: two five-card combinations and a three-card one. Boxes or card rows are called «the back hand» (bottom row), the «middle hand» (middle row) and «the front hand» (top row, three cards).
In Chinese poker, the button is moved every time before cards are dealt and it is used to determine the player to whom cards are dealt to first and who, accordingly, makes the first move. As a rule, this is the first player clockwise from the button. When dealing starts, the dealer deals five cards to every player that are placed on the table face up. Then players receive three cards during every move until each has 13 cards. The players distribute the cards dealt to them at will between their three hands. All of the first five cards must be distributed; out of the three cards dealt next, only two must be selected. Once the cards are placed in a hand, they cannot be moved to a different hand.
The winner is determined by the final points count. The players’ principal task, in addition to assembling the best hands, is to properly distribute their cards between hands based on their ranking. The back hand must be the highest one, the middle hand must be slightly lower, and the front hand must be the lowest one. If this rule is not complied with, such a hand is considered a foul hand. A player with a foul hand scores 0 in this particular round.
Chinese poker hands are the same as in other poker variations. Any five-card hands can be assembled in the two bottom rows ranging from «HIGHER CARD» TO «ROYAL FLUSH.» The front hand consists of three cards, consequently, only «HIGHER CARD, ” «ONE PAIR, ” and «SET» (three of a kind) are possible there.
Once the players have in turn distributed all 13 cards into three hands and all the required conditions have been met, points are counted and the winner of the round is determined. The number of points depends on the combinations a given player assembled in each hand and on their relative ranking compared to other players’ combinations in the same hands. The player with the highest number of points wins. The player (or players) with fewer points lose. The loser pays the winner their winnings calculated as the difference between their points multiplied by the pre-defined cost of the «score.»
First, the players agree on the terms of the game and on the cost of the «SCORE.» Once everything has been agreed on, the DEALER button is dealt. The first player clockwise from the button is the first to be dealt cards and the first to distribute them between their hands. Other players do the same in turn.
As an example, let’s consider the classical two-player game of Chinese poker.
The dealer deals five cards to each player one by one. After this, the players take turns distributing these cards between their hands. Once the last player has finished distributing their cards, the dealer deals three more cards to each player. From this moment, the players may use any two cards of their choice and the third card must be discarded to «PASS.» Once the last player has discarded one card and completed distribution, the dealer collects the discarded cards into «MUCK» and deals three more cards one by one to each player. This procedure is repeated until each player has 13 cards on the table (5+2+2+2+2=13) to be distributed into their three boxes (5+5+3).
Once the last player distributed all their cards, the points are counted. This process involves two steps:
1. First, the players compare each hand separately between themselves.
a. If the first player has a higher combination in each hand than the second player’s combinations in the same hands, the first player is given 6 points (or vice versa, accordingly).
b. If the comparison shows that each player has a hand with a higher combination or that they have combinations of equal ranking, then they receive 1 point (or 2 points, as has been agreed) for each hand with a higher combination. Points are not given for the hands with equal combinations.
2. At step two, bonus points, or ROYALTY, are counted for each player separately. Points for every specific combination in a particular hand are given in accordance with the table below:
|Back hand||Middle hand||Front hand|
|—||—||2 2 2||10|
|STRAIGHT||2||STRAIGHT||4||—||—||3 3 3||11|
|—||—||4 4 4||12|
|FLUSH||4||FLUSH||6||—||—||5 5 5||13|
|6 6||1||6 6 6||14|
|FULL HOUSE||6||FULL HOUSE||12||7 7||2||7 7 7||15|
|8 8||3||8 8 8||16|
|CARE||10||CARE||20||9 9||4||9 9 9||17|
|10 10||5||10 10 10||18|
|STRAIGHT FLUSH||15||STRAIGHT FLUSH||30||J J||6||J J J||19|
|Q Q||7||Q Q Q||20|
|ROYAL FLUSH||25||ROYAL FLUSH||50||K K||8||K K K||21|
|A A||9||A A A||22|
The players then add their points for comparisons between their hands and bonus points for combinations (ROYALTY). The player with the highest number of points wins. The amount of the winnings is calculated as the difference between the players' points multiplied by the cost of the «SCORE.» The loser pays the winner the winnings, and the round is completed.
If there are three players, then the players take turns comparing their hands between themselves. The winner and the winnings are determined directly pursuant to the results of the comparison and the calculation of points for each specific pair of players.
FANTASYLAND is a bonus setup played if one or several players in a current round have a pair of Queens or higher in the Front hand; combination ranking by hand is the same as under the general rules. When playing this variation, the player (s) against whom FANTASYLAND was assembled in the current round cannot complete their game before the bonus setup has been played.
FANTASYLAND is played in the following manner:
1. All players are given five cards one by one.
2. Immediately afterwards, the player with FANTASYLAND is given nine more cards. The player must distribute BLIND 13 cards out of 14 between their hands, and the remaining card must be discarded to «pass.» If there are two or more players in FANTASYLAND, the dealer takes turns dealing them their nine cards one by one.
3. As soon as every player in FANTASYLAND has been dealt nine cards and they have started distributing them, other players continue playing as normal, having been dealt three cards consecutively, of which two must be distributed between their hands and the third discarded to PASS.
4. When the player playing regular Chinese poker has distributed their last cards between their hands, the player in FANTASYLAND turns their cards face up.
5. As soon as the cards are open, combinations are compared and points are calculated. The points are calculated and the winner is determined in the same manner as in a regular round.
It is theoretically possible for any player to play an unlimited number of bonus FANTASYLAND rounds, but it must be agreed upon by the players separately. Most frequently, a player cannot play more than two bonus rounds in a row. However, to receive the right to a repeat bonus round, it is not enough to have a pair of Queens in the Front hand to be in FANTASYLAND. To play a repeat of FANTASYLAND, the player must have a SET in the Front hand or a QUADS or better in the Middle or Back hand.
Technically, a repeat FANTASYLAND, including the procedure for distributing cards, counting points, and determining the winner, is played like the regular FANTASYLAND.
Players must comply with all the rules of the game at the table and follow the instructions of the casino staff which include:
1. All parties to the gaming process must strictly follow the current Rules of the Poker Club.
2. Players participating in the game must either be at the table or in the immediate vicinity of their gaming box.
3. During rounds, players may under no circumstances exchange information on their cards.
4. At all times during the game, the players must hold their cards above the table within the dealer’s and other players’ field of vision.
5. Players may not touch other players’ cards.
6. Players may not give advice or ask for advice from other players at the table.
7. The casino staff are prohibited from giving advice to players as to how they should play their «hand, ” but assistance to inexperienced players in the form of listing all possible options in making the decision is allowed.
Failure to comply with the rules may result in:
The player in violation of the rules may, pursuant to the manager’s decision, be accorded punishment ranging from warning to partial or complete cessation of gaming. In exceptional cases, the player’s access to the Poker Club may be restricted, or the player may be generally barred from the Casino.
There are many Chinese Poker variations. Players have the right to select a specific variation and to make special determinations on additional terms. All additional terms must be in compliance with the norms of poker ethics, the rules of safe and fair play, and they must also be in accord with all the norms and rules of Poker Club attendance. All additional terms are settled upon prior to the start of the game with the Poker Club Manager present.
In any dispute, the decision of the Poker Club Manager is final.
Any changes to the rules are only possible with the permission of the Poker Club Manager.