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How To Play Chinese Poker

Chinese Poker, also known as Pusoy or Russian Poker, is a captivating card game that has been gaining popularity worldwide. Unlike regular Poker, Chinese Poker is played with 13 cards per player, making it a game rich in strategy and excitement. In Chinese Poker, players are dealt 13 cards each, and they must arrange these cards into three separate hands: two five-card hands, also known as “bottom” and “middle,” and one three-card hand, called the “top.” The objective is to create three hands that are stronger than those of your opponents.

One of the key differences between Chinese Poker and regular Poker games is the absence of betting rounds and bluffing. Instead, players focus solely on creating the best possible hands based on the cards they are dealt. Another unique aspect of Chinese Poker is the scoring system. Players earn points based on the strength of their hands compared to their opponents’ hands. This scoring system excites people and makes the game more fun to play.


History of Chinese Poker

The history of Chinese Poker traces back to the early 20th century in China. It’s believed to have originated as a pastime among Chinese sailors during long voyages. The game gradually spread among the Chinese population and became popular in various social circles.

In its traditional form, Chinese Poker was played with a deck of 32 cards, which included only the ranks from 7 to Ace in each suit. Each player received 13 cards, and the goal was to arrange them into three hands: two five-card hands, also known as the “middle” and “front” hand, and one three-card hand called the “back” hand.

Over time, Chinese Poker evolved into different variants, with the most popular being Open-Face Chinese Poker (OFC). OFC gained popularity in the poker community in the early 21st century and became a favourite among professional and recreational players alike.

One unique aspect of Chinese Poker is its scoring system, which rewards players for making strong hands in each of their three hands. This scoring system adds an extra layer of strategy and excitement to the game.

Today, Chinese Poker continues to be enjoyed by people around the world, both in casual settings among friends and in competitive tournaments. Its simple rules and engaging gameplay ensure its enduring popularity.


Chinese Poker Rules: How to Play the game

Here are the basic rules to get you started for a game of Chinese Poker:

  • Setup: Each player is dealt 13 cards from a standard 52-card deck. The goal is to arrange these cards into three poker hands: two containing five cards each (known as the top and middle hands), and one containing three cards (known as the bottom hand).
  • Hand Rankings: The hands are ranked according to standard poker game rules, with the High Card being the weakest, and the Royal Flush hand being the strongest.
  • Placement: After receiving their 13 cards, players must arrange them face down into the three hands without changing their order.
  • Revealing Hands: Once all players have arranged their cards, they reveal their hands one at a time, starting with the player to the dealer’s left. The bottom hands are revealed first, followed by the middle hands, and finally the top hands.
  • Scoring: Players earn points based on how their hands compare to their opponents’. If a player wins all three hands against an opponent, it’s called a “scoop” and earns extra points.
  • Scoring Systems: There are different scoring systems used in Chinese Poker, but a common one is where players earn one point for winning each hand and an additional bonus point for scooping. Players can also earn royalties for achieving specific strong hands, such as a straight or a flush.
  • Fouling: If a player’s hands are not arranged correctly (e.g., the top hand is weaker than the middle hand), it’s called fouling. In this case, the player forfeits all points for that round.
  • Winning the Game: The game typically consists of several rounds, with players accumulating points over multiple rounds. The player with the most points at the end of the predetermined number of rounds wins the game.

Chinese Poker is a game of strategy and luck that is easy to learn but offers plenty of room for skillful play. With these basic rules, you’re ready to start playing and enjoying the excitement of Chinese Poker!


Chinese Poker Scoring

Scoring in Chinese Poker is simple but has its twists. Each player aims to make the best possible hands with their 13 cards. Here’s how scoring works:

  1. Front, Middle, and Back Hands: In Chinese Poker, you have three hands: Front, Middle, and Back. Front is made of three cards, Middle is made of five cards, and Back is made of five cards too.
  2. Winning Hands: To win, your Front hand must be weaker than your Middle hand, and your Middle hand must be weaker than your Back hand. If this rule isn’t followed, it’s a “foul,” and you lose automatically.
  3. Scoring Points: The most common scoring system is based on points per unit. Each unit is worth a certain amount, like a dollar or a chip. The winner gets points from each player, based on how their hands compare.
  4. Winning Hands Ranking: Your hands are ranked by traditional poker hands. Back hand is the strongest, then Middle hand, and finally Front hand. For example, a Straight in the Back hand beats a Straight in the Middle hand.
  5. Scoring Points Example: Let’s say we play for $1 per unit. If my Back hand beats your Back hand, I get $1 from you. If my Middle hand beats yours, I get another $1. If my Front hand beats yours, I get a third $1. If I win all three hands, that’s $3 total.
  6. Bonuses: In some variations, there are bonuses for special hands. For example, getting three Flushes or three Straights across all hands could earn you extra points.
  7. Scooping: If you win all three hands against all opponents, it’s called “scooping.” You earn extra points, usually doubling what you would have won.
  8. Royalties: Some games offer royalties for exceptionally strong hands. For example, a 13-card Straight Flush might earn a big bonus.

Remember, Chinese Poker scoring can vary depending on house rules, so make sure everyone agrees on the rules before you start playing!



Chinese Poker offers an engaging card game experience for players of all skill levels. With simple rules and a simple scoring system, it’s easy for beginners to pick up and enjoy. Understanding the basic rules, like how to arrange your cards and earn points, is essential for success. Plus, with variations like Open Face Chinese Poker adding even more excitement to the mix, there’s always something new to explore in the world of Chinese Poker.