Proven Tactics for Chinese Poker: Boost Your Odds and Win Big

Chinese poker is a form of poker that makes use of the conventional 52-card poker deck and poker hand rankings. 2-4 players can participate in the game. Each player receives 13 cards during a round of Chinese poker. These cards are dealt face down in traditional Chinese poker. You must create two unique five-card hands and one unique three-card hand from those 13 cards. You are required by law to rate the three hands from strongest to weakest using the poker hand rankings.

What make chinese poker standout

The strongest hand must be placed in the “back-hand” position, followed by the second-strongest hand in the “middle-hand” position, and the weakest hand in the “front-hand” position. The back and middle spots are always taken by the two five-card hands, respectively, while the back spot is always taken by the three-card hand.

Players reveal their hands at the conclusion of each round, and they score points for each hand that defeats the hands of rival players in the same place. The next hand starts after all the points have been totaled. Strong hands, commonly referred to as “royalties,” can result in more points for players.

Rules and gameplay for Chinese poker

Chinese poker rules and gameplay

Let’s walk through a sample Chinese poker hand. Consider that you are dealt the following cards in a two-player game:

Chinese poker hand sample 1

These 13 cards must be dealt into two distinct hands of five cards each and one hand of three cards. The stronger five-card hand must be placed in the backhand position, followed by the weaker five-card hand in the middle, and the three-card hand in the front.

The middle hand must always be more powerful than the front hand, and the back hand must never be stronger than the middle hand. These guidelines must be followed to avoid a “mis-set,” which gives your opponents the right to score as many points as they can against your hands.

The best hand you can make with the 13 cards you have been dealt is as follows:

Chinese poker hand sample 2

With nines full of tens, this hand provides you with a full house.

You now have the strongest hand you can out in the middle with these cards used:

Chinese poker hand sample 3

You now have full houses for both the back and middle hands thanks to the availability of twos full of fives for the middle.

Your front hand is this queen-high one now.

Chinese poker hand sample 4

Chinese Poker Scoring System

A variety of scoring methods can be used in a Chinese poker game. One of the most popular variants gives you one point for each situation where your hand is superior to that of your opponent.

When your backhand outperforms the opponent’s backhand in a two-player game, for instance, you receive one point. You receive one point if your front hand defeats your opponent’s front hand and two points if your middle hand defeats the opponent’s middle hand.

Scoring system in chinese poker

A three-point bonus is awarded if you sweep an opponent’s three hands (known as scooping). In a game involving 3–4 players, you score points against each opponent separately, then sum those points up to get your overall score for the round.

Assume you’re playing a two-player game and have set up your 13 cards into the three Chinese poker hands depicted above. Turning over your cards face up, you and your adversary:


Your Hand: 9♠ 9♣ 9♥ 10♥ 10♣

Opponent’s Hand: A♦ Q♦ 10♦ 9♦ 3♦

You receive one point for winning the backhand.


Your Hand: Q♠ J♠ 8♥

Opponent’s Hand: Q♥ 8♣ 8♠

You receive one point for winning the backhand.

The front hand goes to your opponent, but you win the rear and middle hands. You receive a total of one point for the round based on this tally. Could you have made a different card arrangement to gain more points? The answer is affirmative, and now let’s look at the best option for your hand:


Your Hand: 5♠ 5♦ 2♣ 2♦ 2♥

Opponent’s Hand: A♦ Q♦ T♦ 9♦ 3♦

You receive one point for winning the backhand.


Your Hand: Q♠ J♠ 10♥ 9♠ 8♥

Opponent’s Hand: 7♠ 6♥ 5♥ 4♣ 3♠

You receive one point for winning the middle hand.


Your Hand: 10♣ 9♥ 9♣

Opponent’s Hand: Q♥ 8♣ 8♠

Gaining one point for winning the first hand. You gain a +3 bonus by scooping all three hands.

Even if your middle and rear hands aren’t as powerful in this position, they’re still strong enough to defeat your adversary. In this case, your front hand triumphs as well because you hold a stronger one-pair hand than your opponent. Gaining the scoop bonus (+3) and winning all three hands (+3 combined) gives you a total of +6 points.

Chinese Poker Bonuses (Royalties)

In Chinese poker, you can gain bonus points in addition to gaining points for assembling better comparable hands by position than your opponent. These bonuses, referred to as “royalties,” are typically given for building a very robust holding.

Different games may provide different royalty advantages. Some systems reward points for placing a good hand in a specific position, while others give points for specific characteristics of your 13-card hand as a whole. Based on the most typical bonus structure in the game, certain Chinese poker royalties might include the following:

Bonuses per single hand

  • Back Hand: In the backhand position, a straight flush earns you three additional points, while a four-of-a-kind earns you two additional points.
  • Middle Hand: In the middle-hand position, a straight flush earns you four more points, a four-of-a-kind earns you three points, and a full house earns you two points.
  • Front Hand: Three extra points are awarded if you make a three-of-a-kind using your front hand.

Bonuses for 13-Card Hands

When your 13-card hand complies with certain requirements, some royalty award points. The term “naturals” refers to these one-hand benefits. The following are examples of naturals (the most typical bonus score is indicated in parenthesis):

  • Dragon (36 points)- Using the high card ace through the low card 2, drawing a 13-card straight.
  • All-Broadway, or 12 Royalties (32 points)- drawing only jacks or better cards.
  • Three uninterrupted flushes (24 points)- drawing a three-card straight flush and two different five-card straight flushes. Straight flushes include royal flushes.
  • Triple Quads (20 points)- With one additional card, draw three different four-of-a-kind hands.
  • Every Low 2/High Is (12 points)- drawing a hand in which all 13 cards have an eight value or above.
  • Full-Colored (10 points)- Getting a hand in which all 13 cards are either black or red (hearts and diamonds) (spades and clubs).
  • Four Triples (8 points)- drawing four hands with three matching cards and one more.
  • Seven and a half Pairs (6 points)- six pairs and one more card are drawn (four of a kind counts as two pairs).
  • A Straight Three (4 points)- drawing a three-card straight, two five-card straight, and a straight.
  • Triple Flushes (3 points)- obtaining a three-card flush and two five-card flushes (an eight-card flush counts as two flushes).


Without attempting to separate their 13 cards into separate hands, a player may elect to “surrender” their hand in various forms. This move costs money, but it is the equivalent of folding in a typical poker game.

If you surrender, your opponent can get more points than they would if they had two out of the three possible hands, but not as many as if they scooped. Surrendering is not permitted in some Chinese poker variations, though.

Chinese Poker Variants

Variants in chinese poker

Chinese Poker Open Face

Each player in a traditional Chinese poker game receives all 13 cards at once, face down, and turns them face up once their three hands have been compiled. Each player receives the first five of a total of 13 cards when playing the Open Face Chinese Poker (OFC) game variant. The five cards are dealt to each player, who then begins to shuffle and assemble his or her three hands.

A card cannot be moved after it is placed into one of a player’s three hands. After the first round is finished, each player takes a turn drawing a card and putting it into one of their hands. Similar to traditional Chinese poker, the goal of the open face is to outscore your opponent by building a stronger back, middle, and front hand.

In Open Face, royalties typically pay out more because it’s more difficult to build powerful hands. After all, you never know which cards will be dealt. Mis-sets are far more frequent as well.

Bonus For FantasyLand in OFC

A player advances to Fantasy Land in the following round if they make a pair of queens or better with their front hand.

You receive all 13 cards at once while you are in FantasyLand, but you cannot assemble them until every other player has placed their hands on the table. If you fulfill the requirements listed below, you will be allowed to stay in FantasyLand for the next round:

  • Make forays using your front hand.
  • In the middle hand, make a complete house or better.
  • In the backhand, make quads or better.


Although Pineapple is played similarly to Open Face Chinese Poker, it is dealt with differently. Starting with five cards each, each player divides them up into their hands in a manner similar to OFC.

After the opening round, each player draws three cards, puts two of them into their hands, and throws away one. Just the player who drew the card can see the discards, which can be leveraged to your advantage to prevent your opponent from finding the high-scoring cards they’re after.

Chinese Poker Strategy: An Interactive Game

Chinese Poker, in contrast to regular poker, is a game that can be “solved.” You can utilize a computer to determine the mathematically optimal method to play a hand even if you are unable to solve the problem mathematically as an equation. All you have to do is consider every hand that your opponent might have and identify the hand that, on average, outperforms all the others.

As it ignores your opponent’s playing style, the theoretically optimal option in Chinese Poker may not always be the best play. Just as an easy illustration, you can take advantage of your opponent’s systematic disregard for the Front Hand by shifting strength from the Back and Middle hands to the Front as necessary to earn quick points. Skilled players frequently mimic the mathematically right move using a scoring system and then make adjustments for the opponent’s tendencies.

Chinese poker strategies

Keep invalid hands away

It may sound obvious to avoid placing down invalid hands, and it should be. But, it’s a typical blunder that costs you money because it gives each of your rivals a scoop. You must manage 13 cards after all, potentially in a cramped airplane seat or on a wobbly vehicle, without giving your opponent too much away.

Always verify that your backhand defeats your middle hand and your middle hand beats your front hand to prevent massive, avoidable losses.

Scoop or avoid scooping

the most common method of scoring in Chinese poker (winning all three hands). Because scooping is so profitable, this should be your main goal.

Also, because scooping is so expensive, if you are unable to scoop yourself, you should stop others from scooping. Due to this, you normally prefer to create one extremely strong hand rather than three acceptable ones. This will make it difficult for opponents to scoop. Instead of three hands of equal strength, try to build the best hand possible in one position.

Depending on the sector, a top hand has many definitions. Three-of-a-kind rarely wins in the back, but it is unquestionably the best hand in front. A low full house is average against three players at the back but highly potent in the middle.

Chinese Poker with Four Pairs

You can always put the second-best pair in front if your hand has four pairs. Simply place the two worst pairings in the back and the top pair in the middle.

An effective defense against an opponent scooping is the queen pair. You’ll frequently have four pairings with 13 cards. Putting the second-best pair upfront can be your best move if you don’t have a stronger hand.

Splitting Pairs

Should two pairs be placed in the middle or should one pair be placed in front if you have a straight and two pairs? In most cases, it’s best to split the pairings because two pairs in the middle are generally weaker than a pair in the front.

But, you might choose to go with these in the front and use the two pairs in the middle of the other three cards that are strong, such as AK9 or AQJ, or something similar.

Making a Full House Divide

Is it preferable to split up a full house in the back and place the pair in front? The worth of the pair and the remaining cards in your hand will determine the outcome. In the case of 333KK full houses, the full is frequently insufficient in the back while KK is extremely potent in the front. (Note that you compare the trips first when comparing entire houses; as a result, 44422 beats 333KK.)

A complete house, like KKK22, is quite powerful in the back, on the other hand. While KKK in the Back won’t often provide you many pints, putting 22 in Front wouldn’t provide much protection from an opponent scooping. This packed house ought to remain in the back, I think.


Yes, Chinese Poker can be played with more than four players, but the game can become more complicated with a larger number of players.

Chinese Poker is a game of both luck and skill. While luck plays a role in the cards you are dealt, skill is necessary to arrange your hands effectively and make strategic decisions.

The length of a Chinese Poker game can vary depending on the number of players and the variant being played. On average, a game can take between 10 and 30 minutes to complete.

Yes, it’s possible to win all three hands in Chinese Poker. However, it’s not easy and requires a lot of skill and strategy.

Yes, there are many online casinos and gaming platforms that offer Chinese Poker. However, it’s important to ensure that you play at a reputable and secure platform to protect your personal and financial information.


Chinese Poker is a game of skill, strategy, and luck that is enjoyed by millions of players worldwide. By following the basic rules and implementing effective strategies, you can increase your chances of winning at Chinese Poker. Remember to pay attention to dead cards, focus on the backhand, balance your hands, be prepared to surrender, and observe your opponents. With practice and experience, you can master the art of Chinese Poker and become a skilled player.

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