Categories: All Poker Games
| On Updated : Jul 7, 2020 1:01 PM IST

Chinese Poker: Origin, Game Play, Variations

By Dheeraj Singh

Chinese Poker is quite different from all the other poker variants. This is an exciting form of poker and doesn’t follow any of the traditional patterns. It is a beginner-friendly game and only requires a basic understanding of poker hands.


Chinese Poker was arguably popular during the mid 1990s. WSOP events in 1995 and 1996 hosted Chinese Poker but since then, there have been no Chinese Poker events hosted at the WSOP. Typically played as a four-person game, it can also be played with two or three people also.

Game Play

  • The game is played with four players. Each player is dealt 13 cards and must arrange them into three different poker hands.
  • The front hand also referred to as top hand, is made up of three cards and must be the lowest-ranking poker hand of the three.
  • The middle hand is made up of five cards and must be a higher-ranking hand than the top hand.
  • The bottom hand is also made up of five cards and must be the highest-ranking hand of the three.
  • Each player’s top, middle and the bottom hand is compared to his opponent’s top, middle and bottom hand.
  • A player wins the hand based on how the hand measures up against the opponents
  • You win one point for each hand you win against each player.
  • There are also options for special royalties for big hands or scooping all three hands.

Pros and Cons


  • It’s more of a recreational game than other variants of the game


  • The scoring system can be difficult for beginners to understand
  • Not many platforms host this variant of the game


There is one variation to this form which is known as Open-Face Chinese Poker. The gameplay is quite similar with just a couple of changes to make it more interesting.

  • Instead of getting all 13 cards at once, each player starts with only five cards
  • Each player then draws one card per turn from the deck and continues to build their hands.
Dheeraj Singh

I believe Life and Poker work on the same principle. The more you learn the better you become.