Chinese Poker Rules

Chinese Poker rules

An unusual game of Chinese poker is rapidly gaining popularity both online and offline. More and more poker rooms are adding an OFC (Open Face) variant to their lobby. The principle of the game resembles preference, and the rules are noticeably different from the usual Texas Holdem.

Basic Holdem combinations are used in this discipline, but you need to collect three of them at once: in the upper, middle and lower box. At the same time, you need to adhere to a clear hierarchy, so as not to collect a "dead" hand. This happens in case of non-compliance with the seniority of combinations.

We will talk about the main Chinese poker rules and its special features in this article.

How to Play Chinese Poker

Visually, Chinese poker hands bear little resemblance to Texas Holdem or Draw poker, but the deck still has the same 52 cards and the usual seniority of the combinations.

Two to four players can play this format at the same time, but most often the game is played between three opponents. Players must arrange 13 cards in three rows (boxes) from the strongest at the bottom to the weakest at the top.

The necessary order of hands:

  • Bottom row (5 cards) – the strongest possible combination;
  • Middle row (5 cards) – medium-strength combination;
  • Top row (3 cards) – the weakest combination.

At first, each player is dealt 5 cards face down, then the cards need to be laid face up. It is important to remember that you cannot change the location of your cards after you have completed your turn.

The main strategic aspect of the game is making combinations from the strongest to the weakest. If you break this rule, then your hand will be considered dead, and you will lose to all your opponents.

Then each player, in order of priority, receives some cards. In classic Chinese poker, it is one card each round, and 3 cards in the Pineapple version. This continues until everyone has 13 cards. At the end of the combination, the combos are compared and the points are scored.

The dealer button is used to determine the turn order and moves after each hand. The exception is fantasy. When one of the players collects a fantasy, the button does not move.

Basic Rules for the Game

So, how does Chinese Poker work? The stages of the game in this format can be divided into three parts:

  1. Dealing cards
  2. Layout of combinations
  3. Showdown and scoring

Chinese poker hand

In the hand in the picture, the hand is considered dead and will not be able to get fantasy in the next hand.

The player in the picture above violated the order of combinations:

  • Bottom row – two pairs of sixes and jacks;
  • Middle row – 7-high;
  • Top row – a pair of aces.

A pair of aces is stronger than 7-high, which means that the hand is dead and the player has lost to all his opponents.

An example of the correct arrangement of cards so that the hand is not dead: the weakest combination in the first row (a pair of aces), two pairs in the second row (22 and 33), two pairs in the third one (jacks and 66).

Example of a Chinese poker hand

Fantasy and Its Main Features

In Open Face Chinese poker, the player can get a bonus game called "Fantasy". To be able to make a fantasy, the player must collect a combination of a pair of queens or higher on the top box.

If this is successful, then in the next hand the player will receive all 13 cards (can be 14-15 in varieties) at the same time and will be able to lay them out. The player who collects fantasy will not reveal their cards until the other players have finished laying out their combinations. The player can remain in fantasy for the next round if he manages to collect one of the following Chinese poker hands:

  • Set (trips) in the top row;
  • Full house or better in the middle row;
  • Four of a kind or better in the bottom row.

Pineapple Variant

Pineapple is a popular variant of Chinese poker. The main difference between Pineapple and regular format is the number of cards dealt. Both games start with five cards dealt, but in Pineapple, players are dealt three cards each in subsequent rounds.

Of these three cards, players must use two to make a combination, and send the third to the muck.

The main difference between Pineapple and the classic option is that the game is played five rounds instead of nine, and each player sees 17 cards instead of 15. Thus, Pineapple is always played with a maximum of three players. Bonuses and fantasy rules remain unchanged. This is a more dynamic version that is rapidly gaining popularity online.

Scoring System Description

What are the rules for Chinese Poker when determining the winner? In this game you need to carefully calculate your points. Points are awarded depending on the combinations that you managed to collect.

A "scoop" or dead hand is when your combos are in the wrong order. For example, you have collected two pairs in the bottom box and a set (trips) in the middle box. Scoop also cancels any bonuses you have received.

  • If a player beats his opponent in all three rows, he gets 6 bonus points.
  • If the player has "scooped", then he must pay six bonus points to each opponent.
  • Points are calculated after all players have finished laying out their combinations.

Bottom row scoring:

Full House+6
Straight Flush+15
Royal Flush+25

Middle row scoring:

Full House+12
Straight Flush+30
Royal Flush+50

Top row scoring (pairs):

Pair of sixes+1
Pair of sevens+2
Pair of eights+3
Pair of nines+4
Pair of tens
Pair of jacks+6
Pair of queens+7
Pair of kings+8
Pair of aces+9

Top row scoring (trips):

Trips of deuces+10
Trips of threes+11
Trips of fours+12
Trips of fives+13
Trips of sixes+14
Trips of sevens+15
Trips of eights+16
Trips of nines+17
Trips of tens+18
Trips of jacks+19
Trips of queens+20
Trips of kings+21
Trips of aces+22
Did you know?
Did you know?

In Finland, there is an unspoken rule of the deuce of spades bonus between players. It is this card that doubles the royalties for a combination in the player's box, regardless of whether the poker player won or lost the hand. For example, for a flush you get twice as many points: not 4, but 8.

Final Thoughts

The rules of how do you play Chinese poker need to be clearly understood, but they are not so complicated. This format is great for those players who are bored with classic Holdem and Omaha.

On the Internet, you can play for play money, and this allows you to quickly understand the game in practice. So you can try Pineapple Open Face Chinese poker online free and learn the game process in real conditions.

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💡 How do you start Chinese Poker?

To start the game, you need from two to four participants and a deck of 52 cards without jokers. Depending on the format, each player receives 13 cards in a certain order. They need to be arranged in three rows according to special rules. Then the players compare their hands with each other and score points. These rules are described in more detail in our material.

💎 What is Chinese Poker called?

There are different versions of this discipline in poker rooms. Among the most popular varieties are such names as Turbo Chinese, Pineapple and OFC (open-face).

🎯 What is the difference between Chinese Poker and Texas Holdem?

These two varieties of poker have many differences. Among the main ones are the number of players at the table (in Chinese it is much less), the number of cards in the hands of each participant, and the scoring system. There are also common points: for example, combinations.

🎲 What is the best card in Chinese Poker?

Since the player needs to collect all three rows, for the best hand in this discipline he needs to collect the strongest combinations in each of the rows. For example: a royal flush in the bottom, a straight flush in the middle, trips of aces in the top.

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