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Learn the Basics of Chinese Poker for Beginners

In both live and online card rooms, Chinese Poker has become a popular alternative game. Poker professionals that enjoy betting as a way to break up the monotony of long tournament hours enjoy it. The Chinese Poker Rules are straightforward, yet the game’s depth and complexity will keep you entertained for years to come.

chinese poker

With the help of this article and our guidance on how to play Chinese Poker by IPLwin, you will become an expert in no time!

What is Chinese Poker?

Chinese Poker, also known as Pusoy or Russian Poker, is a captivating card game that combines elements of Poker and set collection. Four players usually participate in the game, each of whom is dealt 13 cards from a conventional 52-card deck. The objective of Chinese Poker is to arrange the 13 cards into three different hands: two five-card hands, also known as the “middle” and “back” hands, and one three-card hand, called the “front” hand.

what is chinese poker

How to Play Chinese Poker

how to play chinese poker
  • Gather four players and a standard 52-card deck. Decide on the betting structure and the scoring system before starting the game.
  • 13 cards from the deck are handed face-down to each player. From these cards, players must arrange their hands into three separate hands: two five-card hands (middle and back) and one three-card hand (front).
  • The objective is to create hands that are stronger than your opponents’ hands. The middle hand should be stronger than the backhand, and the front hand should be the weakest of the three.
  • Once all players have arranged their hands, they reveal them simultaneously. The hands are then compared, and points are awarded based on the agreed-upon scoring system.
  • One common scoring system is where each player earns one point for each hand they win against an opponent’s corresponding hand. If a player wins all three hands against an opponent (scooping), they earn a bonus point.
  • Another scoring method involves assigning a point value to different types of hands, such as pairs, flushes, or straight flushes. Players accumulate points based on the strength of their hands.
  • After scoring, players settle the bets or chips according to the predetermined betting structure.
  • The next round begins with the cards being reshuffled and dealt again. The player winner of the game is usually the person with the greatest overall score after multiple rounds of play.

Remember, it’s essential to understand the specific rules and scoring system agreed upon by all players before starting the game, as variations can exist.

Chinese Poker Rules

The objective of Chinese Poker is to arrange your hand into three separate poker hands, commonly referred to as “front,” “middle,” and “back,” and to have each hand rank higher than the corresponding hand of your opponents. Here are the rules:

chinese poker rules

1. Players and Deal

In most games of Chinese poker, there are two to four players. The dealer is determined either by a consensus among the players or through a random selection method.

2. Card Ranking

The standard poker hand rankings are used in Chinese Poker. The order of ranking is as follows, going from highest to lowest: 

  • Royal Flush
  • Straight Flush
  • Four of a Kind
  • Full House
  • Flush
  • Straight
  • Three of a Kind
  • Two Pair
  • One Pair
  • High Card

In the “front” hand, only three-card hands are allowed, and the hand ranking is based on standard poker hand rankings.

In the “middle” and “back” hands, five-card hands are formed, and the hand ranking follows standard poker hand rankings as well.

3. Game Process

  • 13 cards from the deck are handed face-down to each player.
  • The players must then divide their 13 cards into three separate hands: front (3 cards), middle (5 cards), and back (5 cards).
  • After arranging their hands, the players set them face-down on the surface of the table in the path of them.
  • When everyone is ready, the players reveal their front hands simultaneously.
  • The players then reveal their middle and backhands in the same manner.

In Chinese Poker, the front hand must rank lower than or equal to the middle hand, and the middle hand must rank lower than or equal to the backhand. If these conditions are not met, it is considered a “foul” or “mis-set,” and the player loses automatically.

4. Scoring

  • Scoring in Chinese Poker is typically done using a point system or chips.
  • Common scoring methods include assigning points based on winning each individual hand against your opponents or awarding points for winning two out of three hands.
  • The specific scoring system can vary based on the agreement among the players.

5. Winning the Game

  • At the end of each round, players compare their corresponding hands with their opponents.
  • A player earns points or chips based on the outcome of each hand against their opponents.
  • After multiple rounds, the player with the highest overall score wins the game.

It’s important to note that there are variations of Chinese Poker, and the rules can differ slightly depending on where and with whom you are playing. It’s always a good idea to clarify the specific rules and scoring system before starting a game.

Chinese Poker Scoring System

The scores for each player are established once each player has set his hands. Each player’s front, middle, and backhands are compared with those of the opponents in order to accomplish this. The front hand is compared to the front hand, the middle hand is compared to the middle hand, and the backhand is compared to the back hand. For comparison, the usual Texas Hold ’em showdown hand values are used. You receive one point if you perform better in one hand than your opponent, and your opponent receives one point if you perform worse. No one wins if the strength of both hands is equal.

chinese poker scoring system

The most used scoring frameworks are as follows:


The most popular scoring method is the 1-6 rule, where a player receives three more points for a perfect score of 3-0, or “scoop,” in this game. As a result, 3-0 results in you earning 6 points and your opponent losing 6. In a 2-1, you score one point while the other team is docked one. The finest scoring system is this one because it encourages striving to outscore your opponents and frequently makes the game more interesting.


The 2-4 rule is another widely used scoring method. In this system, an opponent loses 4 points for a 3-0 victory while receiving 4 points themselves. In a 2-1, you score two points while your opponent is docked two.

Level Up Your Chinese Poker Game Strategies

This guide will cover essential tips and tactics to help you dominate the game. You’ll learn about different strategies. Get ready to outsmart your opponents and maximize your winnings!

chinese poker game strategies

Plan Your Hands Carefully: Consider the strength of your cards and try to plan your hands accordingly. It’s generally a good idea to put your strongest cards in the backhand, followed by the middle hand, and the weakest cards in the front hand. This way, you maximize your chances of winning at least two out of three hands.

Balance Your Hands: While it’s important to have a strong backhand, avoid making it excessively powerful. If your backhand is too strong, it may cause your middle and front hands to be very weak, making it challenging to win two out of three hands. Aim for a balanced distribution of strength across all three hands.

Pay Attention to Your Opponents’ Hands: Keep an eye on the exposed cards during the game and try to deduce the possible combinations your opponents might have. This information can help you make strategic decisions when arranging your own hands.

Avoid Foul Hands: Be cautious when setting your hands to ensure that your front hand is weaker than your middle hand and your middle hand is weaker than your backhand. Foul hands result in an automatic loss, so double-check your hand placements before revealing them.

Play Conservatively or Aggressively: Consider the current state of the game when deciding whether to play conservatively or aggressively. If you are trailing in points, playing conservatively to secure two out of three wins can be a good strategy. On the other hand, if you are leading, taking risks, and playing aggressively to secure all three wins may be advantageous.

Observe Card Distribution: As cards are played and revealed, keep track of the remaining cards in the deck. This information can give you insights into the likelihood of getting specific cards you need to improve your hands.

Take Calculated Risks: Sometimes, it may be worth taking calculated risks to improve your hands. If your front hand is weak, but you have a good chance of drawing a decent card, consider taking the risk and placing it in the front hand. However, avoid unnecessary risks that might lead to fouling.

Maintain Focus and Patience: Chinese Poker requires concentration and patience. Avoid rushing through the game, and take your time to analyze your options. Carefully consider the possibilities before making your final hand arrangements.


Chinese Poker is a card game that originated in Asia and is played with a standard deck of 52 cards. It differs from traditional poker games as players aim to create three separate hands instead of one, known as the top, middle, and bottom hands.

Chinese Poker is typically played with 2 to 4 players. Each player competes individually against the others, aiming to achieve the best possible hand combinations.

Chinese Poker uses a scoring system based on points. Each hand is compared to the corresponding hand of each opponent, and points are awarded based on the hand’s strength. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins.


Chinese Poker is an engaging card game that challenges players to strategically arrange their 13 cards into three hands: front, middle, and back. The objective is to win at least two out of three hands by creating stronger combinations than your opponents. Avoiding fouls and taking calculated risks are crucial for success. With practice and experience, players can refine their skills and enjoy the competitive nature of Chinese Poker when gaming in an online casino they trust.

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