Chinese poker is a poker variant for 2 players or 4 players.
Each player gets dealt 13 cards
The players then spend a little time going through their cards and arranging them into 3 poker hands. Two 5-card hands, and one 3-card hand. The 5 card hands are ranking like any normal poker hand. With the 3 card hand flushes or straights do not count.
You then arrange the hands in decending order by value. IE your best hand goes at the top, your second best hand in the middle, and then your worst hand at the bottom.
Ac Jc Tc 6c 2c (top or "back" hand) --- Flush
Qh Qd 3h (middle) --- Pair of Queens
8d 8s 4s 5s Ks (bottom or "front" hand) --- Pair of eights
You then compare your hands to the other player(s). IE compare your top hand to their top hand, your middle hand to their middle hand, and your bottom hand to theirs.
You decide on how much to play for per point before a game. Lets say $10 a point for example.
You get one point for every hand that wins. EG in a 2 player games, if all 3 of your hands beat the corresponding hands than you get 3 points. If 2 of your hands win, and one loses, then you get 1 point (ie you effectively get 2 and they get 1, thus making it a +1 point for you).
With a 4 player games each hand is scored against every other. Therefore the top hand (sometimes called the "back" hand) for player A gets compared against the top for B,C and D. You note down for example +1,+1,-1.
Then player B compares his top hand to A,C,D..scoring (for example) -1,-1,+1
The max score therefore for any one player per round would be +9 (winning top, middle, and bottom against all the other 3 players). The worst score per round would be -9 (losing top, middle and bottom to all the other 3 players)
The scoring might seem confusing but really it isnt. Just go about things methodically and obviously have pens and paper to hand.
The skill in Chinese poker is obviously partly in getting the most out of your 13 cards, but also in observing your opponents tendancies and arranging your hands accordingly.
A good way to find your best combination of hands is to firstly arrnage the 13 cards by suit. Here you will see clearly if you have a 5-card flush (or flushes). Commonly you often have one. And you will see what sort of cards lie outside this flush.
Then secondly to rearrange the cards by number eg 2,3,44,5,6,88,JJJ,K,A. Remove any full houses (eg JJJ88) and then look at the remainging 2,3,44,5,6,K,A and pull out a straight 2,3,4,5,6. Leaving AK4 for your final hand.
If there isnt a full house, it is worth going back to the suit you found for a flush (if there was one), and then use that for your top hand and look for straights for the middle.
On occassion you may pick up some game-play reads from your opponents and maybe decide not to even play your full-house on top, but break it and use a straight, followed by trips, followed by 2 pairs. IE looking to sacrifice the top hand, but try to win both middle and bottom.
Chinese Poker is a fun game to add a little spice to a home game and is good when you are a little limited on space. Eg Train or Plane journeys. Several minutes is spend each round just playing around with the cards in your hand. Therefore there is less time spend shuffling and dealing cards.