Chinese Poker

OBJECTIVE OF CHINESE POKER: Construct three poker hands which will beat your opponent’s hands.


NUMBER OF CARDS:  standard 52-card

RANK OF CARDS:  A (high), K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2




Chinese Poker is a Chinese gambling game that is most popular in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Recently, it has made its way to the United States where it is played, however, much less commonly. Chinese Poker uses a 13 card hand which is arranged into three smaller hands: 2 hands of five cards and 1 hand of three cards. This game spawned the more popular Open Face Chinese Pokerwhich is an open card poker game after the first five cards have been dealt.


Prior to starting the game, players must agree on the stakes. For example, what is one unit of a bet? $10, $100, $1000? This should be mutually agreed upon.

The dealer shuffles, cuts, and deals out each player 13 cards, face-down, and one at a time.


Players divide their 13 cards into three hands: a backhand of five cards, a middlehand of five cards, and a fronthand of three cards. The backhand must beat the middle hand, and the middle hand must beat the front hand. Standard poker hand rankings are used, which can be found in detail hereWild cards are not observed.

Due to the fact the front hand has only three cards, there are only three possible hands: three of a kind, pair, or high card. Straights and flushes do not count.

After the hands are organized, players place their hands face-down in front of them.


Once all the players are ready, players reveal their hands. Players compare their corresponding hands in pairs. You win a single unit per the corresponding hand that you beat and lose one unit for a hand that beats yours. If the hands are of equal value, neither player loses or wins.

Players assume the titles North, South, East, and West. North and South sit across from each other, and East and West across from each other, following the compass directly.

Hands are compared as follows:

North V. East, North V. South, North V. West, East V. South, East V. West, South V. West

Players lose or earn units of bets per hand and per player.


The game can be played simply as described above, or, players could add another two features to increase payouts on certain hands. Some full 13-card hands allow you to automatically take the win. If playing with special hands, this should be agreed upon prior to arranging cards.

  • Front hand won with a 3 of a kind, you earn 3 units.
  • Middle hand won with a Full House, you earn 2 units.
  • Back or Middlehand won with a 4 of a kind, you earn 4 units.
  • Back or Middlehand won with a Royal Flush or Straight Flush, you earn 5 units.

Below, these 13 card hands win against any other “ordinary” hand. However, it must be declared prior to showdown.

  • Six pairs. 6 pairs + 1 odd card. 3 units.
  • Three Straights. 2 five card straights and 1 three card straight. 3 units.
  • Three Flushes. Middle and backhands are flushes. Front hand is a three card flush. 3 units.
  • Complete Straight. A hand with a single card of each rank (A, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K). 13 units.



Nakoa Davis

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