An introduction to the gambling world of Chinese Poker and how to play

Chinese poker has recently gained interest in many countries away from the Asians where it was initially quite popular. The game is easy to learn and finding your way around it can be mastered even by beginners. It is the type of game where chance happens to all players and therefore being a beginner does not disqualify you from winning. It does not use any betting, and thus there is a question on it really being poker. However, its use of poker hands gives it a right to have the name.

The background of Chinese Poker

Where Chinese Poker originated from is still a mystery to be solved. It is said that it first originated from China long ago and remained among the Chinese for thousands of years. Later, it was spread to other countries as the Chinese migrated. Others say that it came up as a redefinition of the Pai Gow game in the US when the players merged some of its properties with other games such as the Draw and Stud games and hence giving it the name Chinese Poker. The game was able to make a professional signature in 1995 when it was added to the list of World Series poker schedule for events. Since then it was able to create enough excitement around it to allow it last a significant while longer after the World Series events.

How to play Chinese Poker

To play Chinese Poker, you need two to four players, 52 cards and a way of keeping score. Each player is given 13 cards which they divide into three poker hands. Two of the hands have five cards while the third one has three. The players then arrange these cards in such a manner that the back has the highest rank and the front has the lowest. The backhand is placed looking downwards in front of the player, followed by the middle hand and then the front hand. The players then get to play their hands in a clockwise manner.

The players announce their loyalties after the rounds and then reveal their hands. A player wins if they make all three flushes or straights.

As you can see, it depends on the best poker strategy a player decides to use. Many players have poker tips that they have learned from the best or from generations.

The relation between Chinese Poker and OFCP

There is a thin line between Chinese Poker and Open Face Chinese Poker (OFC poker). OFC poker is a variation of the Chinese poker that originated from Finland and was later introduced in the United States in 2012. Here the players are given five cards to start with, and then they get to pick one card at a time to fill for the other eight cards. The cards are then arranged facing up, and players do not get to rearrange the order later in the game.

Open Face Chinese Poker strategy

For a player to have the upper hand in the game, they need to know a few poker tips. Players need to make sure that the backhand is stronger than the middle and the middle than the front. Breaking a maximum of three rules makes the hand to be considered as a foul. The aim of every player is to make sure that they have a higher score than their opponents.

Keeping Scores

Players are awarded points based on the number of rows that they win. For example, if a player wins two rows and loses one they get 1+1-1 point. If they win all three rows, they get 1+1+1 and then they are awarded a three-point bonus to give them a total of six points. In some cases, players can have a draw or a tie. This can happen when a player X wins the first and middle row and his opponent, and player Y wins the third row straight hence canceling out his opponent’s scores.

Other ways of keeping scores include multi-way scoring that where a player sits with each of his opponents until all debts are paid and the inclusion of royalties.


How to play Chinese poker is open for anyone who has the zeal to learn and have fun. There is a list of rules for the game which include a no quitting policy until scoring. This may vary with the players. The game may be easy, but it definitely requires one to employ strategic thinking.