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Chinese Poker: What It Takes to Win

Chinese poker has been a favorite game in the Asian poker community. It is also rapidly becoming popular around the world, especially in casinos and on the Internet. It is a very engaging game and makes use of multiple poker hands in its play. A maximum of four players can play with one deck of fifty-two cards, each having thirteen cards to form into three hands. In a way, it is like an extension of draw poker which only used five cards to form one poker hand. The goal of Chinese poker is to arrange the thirteen cards the best way you can to form the most powerful hands you can make out of the cards dealt to you. The poker hands should be arranged in such a way that the "back" or the first group of five cards will be the strongest, the "middle" or the second group of five cards to have less strength than the first, and "front" or the group of three is to be the weakest in strength. Here are the possible arrangements you can make for a hand of five or three cards. This is listed in the order of strongest first, down to the weakest possible combinations.

  • Royal Straight Flush. This involves Tens, Jacks, Queens, Kings, and Aces all of which should have the same suit.
  • Straight Flush. This is a strong hand containing five cards of the same suit and in order, like 5 hearts, 5 spades, 5 diamonds, and 5 clubs.
  • Four of a Kind. This is a poker hand containing four of the same card plus one to complete the 5-card poker hand.
  • Full House. This one has three cards that have the same number and one pair, regardless of the suit.
  • Flush. This involves a hand that has five cards all of which have the same suit and don't have to be in any order.
  • Straight. You need to have five cards in order regardless of suits to get this poker hand.
  • Three of a Kind. This poker hand has three cards of the same number or rank and two other cards to complete the poker hand of five cards.
  • Two Pair. Two pairs of cards of the same number or rank, and one extra to complete the poker hand of five cards.
  • One Pair. Two cards that match, like K and another K. This is mostly used for the front hands but sometimes also in the back and middle if you have very unlucky cards.
  • High Card. A single card that can win over the other player's poker hands that cannot form any of the combinations above.

During the three rounds in the game, each level is announced. All bottoms will compete with each other, the same with all middles and fronts. The bottoms should be the strongest hand in your thirteen cards while the front should be the weakest. A disarrangement means that you have to pay each of the other players an amount agreed upon before the start of every game.

It's just a matter of knowing these basic combinations by heart, applying a little strategy, and relying on some luck to win a Chinese poker game.