Chinese Poker Instruction

Game Objective

Chinese Poker is a card game with the objective being to arrange 13 cards into 3 poker hands to maximize their combined value. There are often many ways to arrange the cards, and most of the time, there is no single best way to arrange. Chinese poker is a game in which both luck and skill are equally needed to win.

Chinese Poker has a few other names such as Rusian Poker, Xap Xam, and Xap Xam Chuong.

Playing Chinese Poker

When you first enter a chinese poker game room, you are an observer. To reserve your sit, you can click on one of the empty seats (denoted by [None]) or click on button "Sit". If there is no seat available, consider open a new table, or wait for someone to leave, or go to a different table. Double click on a table will let you to go there.

Once you have a sit, you can play the next time the cards are dealt. If there is no game in progress, you can click on "Deal" to ask the server to deal cards. There must be at least 2 people to play.

At the beginning of a new game, each player is given 13 cards, all in the bottom card slots. You can click on the cards to select them. Once you have selected 3 or 5 cards, you can click on "Move Up" to move the set to the upper card slots.

Once you have moved up all your cards, and the poker hands form a valid arrangement, you can click on the "Submit" button to send your arrangment to the server.

For convinient, the program offers "Rank Sort", "Suit Sort" to help you order the cards in lower slots according to rank or suit. You can use "Deselect All" to deselect all selected cards. For beginners, it's recommended that you use suit sort to look for flush, then use rank sort to organize the rest of your cards.

At any time prior to your submission, you can click on the "X" on the left of any upper card slots to move the cards in those slots down to lower slots.

When all players submit their arrangment, the server will show all the cards and compute the winning/losing amount for each player. The cards of each player is compared with those of other players according to the game rule.

Legal poker sets and value

The top set has 3 cards. It is of 3 types, in decreasing value:

  1. Triple: 3 cards of the same rank
  2. Pair: 2 of the 3 cards have the same rank
  3. Trash: all the cards are different

The middle and the bottom sets each has 5 cards. Each is of 9 types, in decreasing value.

  1. Straight Flush: 5 cards of the same suit forming a consecutive sequence
  2. Quadruple: 4 cards of the rank and a extra card.
  3. Full House: 3 cards of the same rank, and 2 remaining cards also of same different rank.
  4. Flush: 5 cards of the same suit.
  5. Straight: 5 cards forming a consecutive sequence
  6. Triple: 3 cards of the same rank and 2 extra cards
  7. Two Pairs: 2 pairs of cards with the same rank and 1 extra card
  8. Pair: a pairs of cards with the same rank and 3 extra cards
  9. Trash: all cards have different rank, and not all have the same suit.

When comparing 2 cards, and when determining if a set is a consecutive sequence, only the ranks of the cards count. The order of the card rank in increasing order is 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A. The only exception is that, the set A 2 3 4 5 is considered a valid consecutive sequence, with the Ace counted as a card with smallest possible value.

Please note the subtle difference between Chinese Poker and Paigow. The set "A2345" in Chinese Poker is the smallest straight.

When 2 sets are compared, their types are compared first. A set with better type is better. If the type of the two sets are the same, the cards making up the sets are compared in lexicographic order, first, those determine the set type, then the extra cards.

In a hand, the 3 card sets must be in increasing order. The top must have smaller value than the middle, and the middle must have smaller value than the bottom. Arrangements violating this rule is labeled "Invalid", and are not allowed to be sent to server.

When a hand is compared with another hand, the top set is compared with the top set, middle with middle, and bottom with bottom. Each win is counted as +1 and each lost is counted as -1 with a few exceptions. The over all winning of a hand is a sum of all 3 winning.

Counting exception: A Straight Flush in the bottom wins +5, a Quadruple in the bottom wins +4, a Straight Flush in the middle wins +10, a Quadruple in the middle wins +8, a Full House in the middle wins +2, a Triple in the top wins 3. Further more, if both players have Straight Flush (or Quadruple, or Full House in the middle, or Triple in the top), the amount of money win/lose for that particular set is double.

Free hands: The following hands are free hands. Players do not need to arrange cards. These hands are rare, and they don't have a meaningful arrangement in general. The server will automatically credit players having free hands appropriate winning amounts.

  1. straight of 13 cards, win 13*bets
  2. 13 black (or 13 red) cards, win 13*bets
  3. 12 black and one red (or 12 red and 1 black) cards, win 3*bets
  4. 6 pairs, win 3*bets from each other player.
  5. 3 straights (i.e. the middle and bottom are straights, and the top is trash resembling a straight), win 3*bets
  6. 3 flushes (i.e. the middle and bottom are flushes, and the top is trash resembling a flush), win 3*bets

Suggestions to beginners

If you are new to this game, you may find the game to be confusing at first. Once you get to know the game, you'll find that it is quite simple to play. Here is some hints that may help you to start. You'll develope your own strategy later.

The first thing you may want to do is to organize the cards by suit. If there is no suit with 5 or more cards, you have no flush. You should then sort the cards by rank, looking for sequence (5 consecutive cards), tripples, and pairs, and move up the sets. In general, try to fill up the bottom set then middle, then top. If you have full house, you most likely want to have it at the bottom.

If there is a suit with 5 or more cards, you often have more options on how you arrange your card. In general, you should try at least 2 possible arrangements, one with and one without flush. The arrangement without flush can be found using the same strategy, as if your cards have no flush. To find the arrangement with flush, you first select all the cards with the same suit, then click on "Rank Sort". If you have 6 or more cards with the same suit, deselect the cards that do the most benefit to the remaining cards (say giving you one more pair, triple, or sequence), then move up the flush. You can then rearrange the remaining cards.

It takes some time to play well. The interesting feature of this card game is that, you often have 2 or more options, and one is good against a particular opponent's hand, and one is not. Once you can analyze the strength and weakness of a particular arrangement over another arrangement of the same cards, you've mastered the game.


Before the cards are dealt, the player in sit #1 can change the betting amount by selecting a new betting amount from the box at the bottom left corner. There is a limit on how much you can bet. Click here for more details.