A Comprehensive Guide to Chinese Poker Variant

Guide to Chinese Poker

Welcome to the beginner’s guide to a unique version of Poker known as Chinese Poker. It is a great place to start if you’re new to Poker. In this guide, we’ll explore the basics of Chinese Poker, its rules, and how it’s different from the regular Poker you might be familiar with. Get ready to learn a fun and exciting card game that people worldwide enjoy!

What is the Chinese Poker Variant?

Chinese Poker is a captivating card game that distinguishes itself from traditional poker variants due to its unique gameplay and scoring system. In this game, each player is dealt a set number of cards, usually 13, and they must arrange these cards into three distinct hands: two five-card hands (known as the “top” and “middle” hands) and one three-card hand (known as the “bottom” hand). The goal is to create hands stronger than your opponents in both the five-card and three-card combinations.

What is the Chinese Poker

The game doesn’t involve betting in the conventional sense, but rather, points are assigned based on the strength of each player’s hands compared to their opponents. Players receive points for winning individual hands against their opponents’ corresponding hands. The scoring system adds an element of strategy as players aim to achieve high-scoring hands while also considering the distribution of cards in their opponents’ hands. Chinese Poker is enjoyed for its blend of skill and chance, as players must carefully arrange their cards to optimize their chances of winning while keeping an eye on their opponents’ potential moves.

Basic Rules of Chinese Poker

Basic Rules of Chinese Poker

Standard 52-card decks are used in Chinese Poker. 2 to 4 players typically play the game. Each player receives a set number of deck cards. The goal is to arrange them into three poker hands: two five-card hands and one three-card hand. The three-card hand must be the lowest-ranking hand, followed by the five-card hands in increasing order of strength. Here are the basic rules:

  • Dealing: Players are dealt 13 cards each (unless there are only two players, in which case they each receive 13 cards, and the remaining cards are not used).
  • Hand Arrangement: Players arrange them into the three hands after receiving their cards. The three-card hand is placed at the front, followed by the two five-card hands. The three-card hand must have a lower poker rank than the five-card hands.
  • Scoring: Once all players have arranged their hands, the hands are compared among the players. Points are awarded based on how a player’s hands compare to opponents’. If a player wins all three hands against an opponent, it’s called a “scoop,” and additional points are awarded.
  • Winning: At the end of each round, players receive or pay points based on the outcomes of their hands against the other players. The points can be agreed upon before starting the game.
  • Fantasyland: Some variations of Chinese Poker have a rule called “Fantasyland.” If a player’s top hand qualifies for Fantasyland (a pair of queens or better), they are dealt all 13 cards face down in the next round, giving them an advantage.
  • Setting Hands: Players must adhere to specific poker hand rankings when arranging their hands. For example, a three-card hand can only be a high card, pair, or three of a kind. Five-card hands follow traditional poker hand rankings (two of a kind, three of a kind, straight, flush, pair, and two of a kind) whole house, four of a kind, straight flush).

How to play Chinese Poker

How to play Chinese Poker

Chinese Poker is a regular card game—a deck of 52 cards. The game’s goal is to arrange your 13 cards into three separate poker hands that rank higher than your opponents’ hands. Here’s how you play:

  • Setup: Chinese Poker is typically played with 2 to 4 players. A typical 52-card deck gives each player 13 cards.
  • Hand Arrangement: You aim to arrange your 13 cards into three poker hands: two five-card hands (front and middle) and one three-card hand (back). The backhand must be the weakest of the three.
  • Hand Strength: Your front hand should be the strongest, followed by the middle hand and the back arrow. It is essential because you get a point if you win two out of the three hands. If you win all three hands, it’s called “scooping,” and you earn a bonus point.
  • Setting Hands: Arrange your cards face-down on the table into the three hands. Once all players have put their hands, the hands are turned face-up.
  • Comparing Hands: Starting with the player to the dealer’s left, each player compares their hands against the corresponding hands of the other players. The front hand is compared to the front hands of all players, the middle hand to the central hands, and the backhand to the backhands.
  • Scoring: You earn a point if you win a hand against another player. If you win two out of the three hands against a player, you earn two points (one for each winning hand). If you scoop all three hands, you earn three points.
  • Points and Settlement: At the end of the round, points are tallied up. Each player receives points based on their wins against other players. You can decide on a point value beforehand and settle the issues with real money after several rounds.
  • Rotation: The dealer position rotates clockwise after the round, and the next game begins.
  • Strategy: Since you know some of your opponent’s cards from the face-up hands, there’s an element of design in deciding how to arrange your hands. It’s essential to balance the strength of your hands to maximize your chances of winning at least two out of three.
  • Repeating Rounds: The game continues for a predetermined number of rounds or until players decide to stop.

Strategy Tips for Chinese Poker

Strategy Tips for Chinese Poker

Here are some strategy tips to improve your gameplay:

  • Balance Your Hands: Distribute your strong cards across your three hands evenly. Having one firm hand and two weak ones can be a disadvantage.
  • Top Hand Priority: Your top hand (comprising three cards) should be the strongest. It’s the most critical hand since it’s compared to your opponents’ full hands.
  • Middle and Bottom Hands: The medium hand (five cards) should be slightly more substantial than the bottom (five cards). Remember that straights and flushes in the bottom hand will be penalized.
  • Avoid Foul Hands: A foul occurs when the hands are not in the correct order of strength. Pay attention to the hierarchy to avoid fouling.
  • Observing Opponents: Try to keep the cards your opponents play in their front (top) hands. It can give you clues about the cards they might have in their other hands.
  • Flexible Strategy: Be prepared to adjust your strategy as you receive new cards. Be flexible with your initial plan if better opportunities arise.
  • Trap Cards: Sometimes, you intentionally play weaker cards in your top hand to deceive your opponents. It can make them underestimate your overall hand strength.
  • Counting Outs: Estimate the number of cards left in the deck that could improve your hands. It can help you decide whether to play aggressively or conservatively.
  • Position Matters: Like in traditional Poker, your place at the table can influence your decisions. Being the last to play gives you more information about your opponents’ moves.
  • Practice Patience: Don’t rush to immediately play strong cards in your top hand. Holding back can give you a better chance to optimize your middle and bottom arrows.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Chinese Poker 

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Chinese Poker 

In Chinese Poker, there are several common mistakes that players often make. Being aware of these mistakes can help improve your gameplay. Here are some of them:

Neglecting the Basics

One common mistake is understanding Chinese Poker’s fundamental laws and tactics. It’s essential to grasp the basic rules, hand rankings, and game objectives before diving into more advanced techniques.

Imbalanced Hand Distribution

Players sometimes focus too much on one of their hands and neglect the others. Distributing your cards balanced across your three hands is vital to increase your chances of winning all three.

Ignoring Opponents’ Hands

Failing to pay attention to your opponent’s possible hands can lead to poor decision-making. You can adjust your strategy by observing the cards they play and the combinations they’re aiming for.

Misjudging Card Strength

Evaluating the strength of your hands is essential. Overvaluing weak hands or undervaluing strong hands can result in losing points unnecessarily.

Lack of Flexibility

Some players stick rigidly to a single strategy throughout the game, which can be a mistake. Adapting your system based on the cards you receive and your opponent’s moves is crucial for success.

Failing to Plan Middle and Back Hands

The middle and backhands should be addressed as players focus on creating solid front hands. However, these hands contribute significantly to your overall score. Ignoring them can lead to opportunities that are missed.

Not Considering Fantasyland

In some variations of Chinese Poker, achieving Fantasyland can provide a significant advantage. You must plan for this opportunity to ensure your chances of gaining a considerable advantage.

Rushing Decisions

The Chinese Poker is a game of strategy, and running through decisions can lead to poor outcomes. Take your time to analyze your cards, think about potential combinations, and make informed choices.

Not Managing Bankroll

Bankroll management is essential in any form of Poker. Players who ignore their chip count and bet recklessly can find themselves in difficult situations.

Failing to Learn from Mistakes

Every game is an opportunity to learn and improve. Not analyzing your mistakes and adjusting your strategy can hinder your progress as a player.


2 to 4 players typically play Chinese Poker.

There are various online platforms and mobile apps where you can play Chinese Poker against other players worldwide.

The duration of a game of Chinese Poker can change depending on factors such as the amount of players and the setting—their experience. Generally, a game can last anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes.

Chinese Poker involves a combination of luck and skill. While luck determines the cards dealt, skill comes into play when arranging the hands strategically to maximize points.

Yes, beginners can enjoy Chinese Poker by starting with the basic rules and gradually learning more about hand rankings and strategy as they play more games.


In conclusion, this guide provides a clear and beginner-friendly overview of the fascinating Chinese Poker variant. Exploring its unique rules and strategies can be an enjoyable way to enhance your card game skills. To expand their gaming horizons, visit the Sabong wordwide betting site to engage in various exciting card games. Join us today and experience the thrill of Sabong worldwide!

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