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Guide on How to Play Chinese Poker

Welcome to the world of Chinese Poker! This manual will explain the fundamentals of this fun card game, helping you understand its rules and strategies step by step. Whether you’re a beginner or looking to improve your skills, this comprehensive guide has you covered. Let’s dive in and explore the exciting game of Chinese Poker together!

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Introduction to Chinese Poker

Chinese Poker is a captivating card game that traces its origins to Asia, gaining popularity across the globe due to its engaging gameplay and strategic depth. 2 to 4 players usually participate in the game; its distinguishing feature lies in its unique hand construction. Each player is dealt a set number of cards, and they must arrange them into three different hands: two containing five cards each (known as the “top” and “middle” hands) and one containing three cards (the “bottom” hand). The goal is to create stronger hands than opponents in each category while adhering to specific hand rankings. The scoring in Chinese Poker is determined by comparing the corresponding hands of players and assigning points based on their relative strengths. It creates an intricate blend of luck and skill as players strive to optimize their hands while anticipating their opponents’ moves

Introduction to Chinese Poker

Chinese Poker offers an accessible entry point for newcomers to card games while challenging seasoned players to strategize and make calculated decisions. The game’s emphasis on hand construction and ranking fosters an engaging environment where players must weigh short-term gains against long-term benefits. With its straightforward rules and diverse strategies, Chinese Poker provides an enjoyable and competitive card-playing experience that continues to captivate players of all skill levels worldwide.

Basic Rules of Chinese Poker

Chinese Poker, also known as Open-Face Chinese Poker (OFC), is a popular card game typically played with 2 to 4 players. It uses a standard 52-card deck and follows specific hand formation and scoring rules. Here are the basic rules of Chinese Poker in an online casino:

Basic Rules of Chinese Poker


The goal of Chinese Poker is to create three separate poker hands, commonly referred to as “top,” “middle,” and “bottom,” that are stronger than your opponents’ corresponding hands.


  • Players: The game is usually played by 2 to 4 players.
  • Deck: A standard 52-card deck is used.
  • Deal: Each player is dealt a total of 13 cards, arranged into three hands of 3, 5, and 5 cards from front (top) to back (bottom).

Hand Ranking

The hands are ranked in standard poker order, from highest to lowest: Full House, Straight, Flush, Three of a Kind, Two Pair, and One Pair. Royal Flush, Straight Flush, Four-of-a-Kind, and Four of Kind are all poker hand combinations of High Card.


  • Initial Placement: Players take turns placing their dealt cards face up on the table to form their three hands (top, middle, and bottom). The bottom hand must be the strongest, the middle hand must be weaker than the bottom but more potent than the top, and the top hand must be the lowest.
  • Card Placement: Once a card is placed in a hand, it cannot be moved.
  • Scoring: After all players have placed their cards, hands are compared, and scoring is determined.
  • Each player’s top, middle, and bottom hands are compared individually against the corresponding hands of other players.
  • Scoring is done based on poker hand rankings, with each player earning points according to the strength of their hands.
  • Points are usually awarded based on a predetermined scoring system.
  • Royalties and Bonuses: Players may earn additional points for specific combinations, such as Flushes, Straights, and other unique hands.
  • Foul Rules: If a player sets their hands in an incorrect order (e.g., the top hand is stronger than the middle), they are “fouled” and may lose points to their opponents.
  • Scooping: If a player’s three hands are more potent than all of their opponents’ corresponding hands, it’s called a “scoop,” and they earn a bonus.


The scoring system can vary, but a standard method is assigning a set point value to each type of hand (e.g., Pair = 1 point, Two Pair = 2 points, etc.) and then awarding royalties and bonuses for certain combinations (e.g., Flush = 4 points, Full House = 8 points, etc.).

The game is typically played over multiple rounds, and the player with the most points at the end of the agreed-upon number of rounds wins.

Variations of Chinese Poker Games

Chinese Poker is a popular card game with various variations, each with unique rules and gameplay. Some of the most well-known variations of Chinese Poker include:

Variations of Chinese Poker Games

Open-Face Chinese Poker (OFC)

 It is among the most popular variations of Chinese Players who are issued five cards at a time in Poker and must arrange them into three separate hands (front, middle, and back). The front hand consists of three cards, the middle hand of five cards, and the backhand of five cards. Players need to follow specific rules for card strength and positioning, such as the front hand being weaker than the middle hand and the backhand being the strongest. Points are scored based on hand rankings, and players aim to make the best hands possible while adhering to the rules.

Pineapple Open-Face Chinese Poker

Similar to OFC, players receive more cards in Pineapple OFC. In standard Pineapple, players are dealt three cards at a time instead of five. After arranging their hands, they discard one card, leaving them with the legal front, middle, and backhands. There’s also a variation called “Crazy Pineapple,” players receive three cards but discard one after setting the front hand and discard a second card after placing the middle hand.

Turbo Chinese Poker

This variation adds a faster-paced element to the game. In Turbo Chinese Poker, players are dealt all 13 cards at once and must quickly arrange their hands. The speed of the game can lead to more intense decision-making and strategy.

Fantasyland Chinese Poker

This rule variation applies to the OFC version. If a player’s initial hand (front, middle, and back) is strong enough according to specific criteria, they enter “Fantasyland” on their next hand. In Fantasyland, the player receives all 13 cards at once in the next round, providing a significant advantage.

Russian Poker

Also known as “Pusoy” or “Russian Poker,” it uses a standard 52-card deck and involves traditional poker hand rankings. Players receive 13 cards and must form three hands: a three-card hand (front), a five-card hand (middle), and a five-card hand (back). The goal is to win two out of three hands from opponents.

Big Two

While not a traditional Chinese Poker game, Big Two (also known as Deuces or Pusoy Dos) is a popular card game in Chinese-speaking communities. Players aim to be the first to play all their cards in single or multiple rounds, following specific card-ranking rules.

Strategies for Building Winning Hands

Chinese Poker, also known as Open-Face Chinese Poker, needs skill and strategy. Build winning hands. Here are some strategies to help you build solid hands and improve your chances of winning:

Strategies for Building Winning Hands

Start with Strong Front and Back Hands

In Chinese Poker, you’re dealt 13 cards, and you need to divide them into three hands – a front hand of three cards, a middle hand of five cards, and a backhand of five cards. Begin by building a solid front hand and a strong backhand, as these hands will contribute to scoring.

Maintain Balance

It’s crucial to maintain balance in your hands. While it’s tempting to go all out on one hand, remember that all three hands will count toward your final score. A strong front and backhand will only matter a little if your middle hand is vital. Distribute your cards strategically to ensure all three indicators are competitive.

Don’t Neglect the Middle Hand

Although the front and back hands generally carry more points, the middle arrow is still significant. It’s the most enormous hand and offers more opportunities for high-ranking combinations. Aim for solid pairs, three-of-a-kind, straights, or flushes in your middle hand.

Plan Ahead

Before you start arranging your cards:

  • Take a moment to plan your hands.
  • Consider the potential combinations you could create and the cards you’ll need.
  • Remember that you can’t rearrange your cards once you’ve placed them, so thinking ahead is essential.

Watch Your Opponents’ Hands

Pay attention to the cards your opponents are playing. This information can help you decide which cards to play and which to hold back. If you see that an opponent has played certain cards, you can adjust your strategy accordingly.

Manage Risk

In Chinese Poker, there’s an element of risk involved, especially when setting your hands. Be moderate, and try to play too many premium hands at once. Balancing risk with potential rewards is critical to consistent success.

Maximize Points

Understand the scoring system of Chinese Poker. Strive to maximize points in each hand. For instance, ensure your backhand is the strongest, followed by the middle hand and the front hand. Adherence to this order can result in fouling your hand and losing points.

Keep Track of Dead Cards

As the game progresses, certain cards will be shown and known to be unavailable. Keep track of these “dead” cards to make more accurate decisions when arranging your hands.

Adjust Based on Position

Your position at the table can influence your strategy. If you’re in an early work, you have less information about your opponents’ hands, so you should play more conservatively. Adjust your system later. Based on the players’ actions before you.

Practice and Study

Like any skill-based game, practice is crucial. The more you play Chinese Poker, the better you’ll become at making quick and effective decisions about hand placement. You can also study hand combinations, odds, and strategies to enhance your gameplay.


Chinese Poker is a card game originating in Asia, known for its unique gameplay and scoring system. Players arrange cards into three separate hands to compete against opponents.

Chinese Poker can be played for fun or as a gambling game, depending on the players’ preferences. It’s essential to establish the rules and stakes before starting a game.

Four players typically play Chinese Poker, but variations exist for two or three players. Each player competes against all other players in the game.

Chinese Poker combines both skill and luck. Skillful card placement and strategic decision-making greatly influence the outcome, but luck still plays a role in the cards you’re dealt.

Yes, Chinese Poker can be enjoyed by players of various ages. However, it’s essential to introduce the game responsibly to younger players, especially if they are playing for stakes.


In conclusion, mastering Chinese Poker becomes straightforward with the help of A Comprehensive Guide. Elevate your gaming experience further with 42Bet’s exciting platform to apply your new skills to the test and enjoy endless entertainment. Start your winning journey today!

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