How to play

Chinese Poker is a great game for beginners. You can play it as long as you have basic knowledge about Poker hand rankings. Aside from that, the format makes room for frequent unexpected outcomes. There is also a significant element of luck associated with this game. That means a beginner has a better chance of winning against experienced opponents compared to other types of poker.


In 1995, people saw Chinese Poker played for the first time at the World Series of Poker. Steve Zolotow won the five-thousand-dollar-event. In the 1996 World Series of Poker, Jim Feldhouse won the five-thousand-dollar-event. Since 1996, there are no more Chinese Poker Events at the World Series of Poker.

How to play

Chinese Poker is usually a four-person game. Though there are times that there are only two or three players.

To start, each player will get a thirteen-card hand from the usual fifty-two card deck. Then, each player has to divide their cards into three sets of Poker hand combinations. Two with five cards each, then the last one will have three cards.


When the player receives the thirteen cards, he or she has to group them in three sets. That is what you call setting.

  • Back

first five-card combination

contains the highest-ranking hand

  • Middle

second five-card combination

has a lower-ranking hand

  • Front

three-card combination

Take note that in the three-card hand, the Straights and Flushes do not count.

The game

After the players finish setting their hands, each will announce if they will play their hand. The players will then make it known if they have Royalties. Then they will reveal their hands.

If the player creates three straights or three flushes, he or she will immediately win the hand. That is regardless of what the other players’ hands are.


These are the stakes played for in Chinese Poker. Players agree on an equal amount of money per unit before the game starts.


Sometimes also called as Bonuses. These are extra units given to players with strong hands. Players should declare Royalties before revealing the hands. Here are some hand combinations where you can have Royalties:

  • Straight Flush
  • Four of a Kind
  • Full House or a better hand combination in the middle
  • Three-of-a-kind from the front
  • Naturals

The following are special types of Royalties. A player having one of these will receive the reward or bonus in an instant.

  • Three straights
  • Three flushes
  • Six pairs
  • 13 unique cards / also known as dragon (A, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q,K)
  • Natural variants
  • No picture cards
  • Six and above
  • 12 or 13 of one color


If the player decides to surrender, he or she will pay a higher amount when losing two out of the three hands. But, the player will pay less than the amount if he or she loses three hands (also known as scooped). After surrendering, the player does not need to pay Royalties to their opponents. Some Chinese Poker variations do not have an option for quitting.

You can also play Chinese Poker, along with other Poker variants, on your mobile phone. There are a lot of DewaPoker games you could try. Be careful when choosing a game to play. It is better to know more about the game first.