The game of poker has many different variations, and Chinese poker is just one of those. However, it does differ from what might be considered the classic poker game in several significant ways. In addition there are also several versions of Chinese poker, of which open-face Chinese poker is the most popular.
Chinese poker is often considered one of the more beginner-friendly forms of poker, as it involves a greater element of chance than most poker types, and as such skill and experience count for less. One important facet of regular poker that is almost entirely missing from Chinese poker is bluffing. This means that new players are less likely to feel intimidated or risk giving themselves away with body language and facial expressions.
Setting the hands
Most versions of poker involve playing one hand at a time, or gradually acquiring cards to get the best possible hand. In Chinese poker each of the four players is dealt 13 cards at the start, and arranges these into three simultaneous hands of three, five and five cards each. This is called setting the hands. The highest scoring five-card hand is called the back, and is placed down first, followed by the second five-card hand (the middle) and the three-card hand (the front). All hands are laid face down.
Scoring in Chinese poker is also very different from regular poker, and indeed from most other casino games. Unlike the real-money games one can play at the best NJ online casinos, where you can gamble on a wide range of table games and slots, or face-to-face poker games played for chips, Chinese poker is scored in units, with each unit representing a previously agreed sum.
A player collects one unit from each opponent for each hand beaten by their corresponding hand. This means that unlike in most kinds of poker, Chinese poker isn’t “winner takes all” and the second-best player out of four can also come out in profit.
With the 2-4 scoring method, an additional “overall unit” is given if a player wins two of the three hands, or all three (known as a scoop). With the 1-6 scoring method, there are three bonus units for winning all three hands.
Another concept unique to Chinese poker is that of royalties or bonuses awarded to players with very strong hands of cards. Players should claim this royalty before revealing their hands. Hands that win a royalty may include a straight flush, four of a kind, three of a kind or a full house.
There are also special kinds of royalties known as naturals. If a player claims a natural they don’t even have to set their hand. Naturals are freakishly good combinations of hands such as three straights, three flushes, six pairs, three straight flushes, four times three of a kind, and 13 unique cards, known as a dragon (or if they are all from the same suit, a clean dragon).
A setting of all picture cards (including aces) is another type of natural, sometimes known as All Broadways. Other naturals may be awarded, depending on the limitations of the game being played.
We can see that Chinese poker is a very distinct poker variant. If you’ve never played it’s worth a try, and although it may not be to everyone’s tastes, many find it to be extremely enjoyable.