How to play Chinese Poker Online with Friends

chinese poker

Maybe people aren’t aware of how many options they have to play poker.

This article is written for those of you who have never heard of the great game of Chinese poker, and explains its history, fundamentals and differences to the traditional game of poker as we Westerners know it.

Sometimes we are bored with the same routine and just want to try new things.

It can definitely fit the bill for enthusiasts who want a change, but with some of the same elements of their familiar game. And, of course, you can easily play online.

The History of Chinese Poker

China, perhaps more than any other place on earth, has a very deep and wide history of games of chance. Many people feel that it’s a big part of the Chinese national character to love these games.

The earliest version of the game is unclear because this all started so long ago. But the current game of Pai Gow, as it is known today, has existed in various versions and forms for centuries now.

The modern version, Pai Gow, is a hybrid, incorporating many aspects of Western poker.

Chinese Poker and the Modern World

Many people in the West heard about the game for the first time back in 1995, when it was introduced to the Bracelet event put on as part of the WSOP (World Series Of Poker).

Unfortunately, it was dropped from the event two years later, but that did not stop curious people from wanting to know more about this fascinating game.

Casinos, first in Las Vegas, and then shortly after all over Europe, started picking the game up and including it in their offerings. The game caught on particularly all over Europe and is a staple feature now in many casinos worldwide.

Chinese Poker Goes Online

Despite the fact that the WSOP still hasn’t seen fit to re-integrate the game into its proceedings, it continues to surge in popularity, especially in the online casino sphere.

As a matter of fact, many of the world’s most famous players have given the game glowing endorsements.

Phil Ivey, Phil Helmuth, and Doyle Brunson have all expressed an affinity for the game, saying that they like the added layers of complexity and the skill and patience required to play properly.

In today’s internet-based world, these words of praise quickly went across the globe and people are now following suit.

The Rules of Chinese Poker

chinese poker rules

In its present-day version uses the same 52-card deck of cards as Western one does. It’s a 4-player game, where each player gets 13 cards, which means the whole deck is used.

Players then have to make 3 different hands out of their cards:

  • Three-card front hand
  • Two five-card hands
  • Being the middle
  • Backhands

Values are similar to Western version (although in some variations there is a strict points system), and the main rule is that your backhand has to be the strongest, followed by the middle hand, then the front hand.

Differences in Strategy for Chinese Poker

Because of the fact that you are managing three hands instead of one, strategy (online or otherwise), varies greatly; it’s not just a matter of the complexity being tripled!

The other factor worth noting here is that you have a lot more control over what you do with your hand than you do with any Western variations.

This requires a lot more thought and patience in order to produce winning hands.

Games typically take a very very long time, especially compared to Western games, for this very reason.

Scoring In Chinese Poker

There are some variations in scoring, especially counting the infinite possibilities of online games, but generally scoring is determined as follows:

The four players form two sets of opponents, that is to say, one person plays against another person of the four, and the other two against each other.

Each hand competes against the corresponding hand of the players’ respective opponents. The winning hand gets awarded one point. In the case of a tie between two hands, no points are awarded whatsoever.

In the case of one player winning all three hands, the points are doubled for a total of six points.


We hope you enjoyed reading this brief introduction to Chinese poker and we encourage you in these trying times to check out many of the online offerings of this game.

This is truly a great game, and if you are in the category in which many people have found themselves at this present date (lots of time on your hands), we cannot recommend you enough.

It helps occupy your time and at the same time it’s not mindless entertainment; it keeps your grey matter sharp and well-exercised!

We’ll be seeing you on the other side of the virtual table.


How do you play Chinese poker?

To learn exactly how to play, watch this video.

What is Chinese poker called?

It’s most often called Open-Face Chinese Poker or OFCP.

How do you win in Chinese poker?

You get 1 point for each hand of your opponent you beat. If you manage to do a sweep you win against all three hands of your opponent and get awarded 3 points. Since there is no betting or raising in this game you have to agree on a point value, for example, 1 point = $1. At the end of the game, you summarize your points and a winner is selected.