Chinese Poker Explained
When writing about online chinese poker, I come across all kinds of variations on this game and while some players may believe that casino games are poker, they are not if they are played against the bank. This means that video poker has an element of skill and poker, but cards cannot be surrendered which means this is slot machine only with a poker display.
Any poker game played against the banker such as Pai Gow Poker, Caribbean Stud Poker and Let it Ride are not true poker games, they are casino games, but Chinese Poker is truer to poker as during play a hand may be surrendered and players don’t play against the house.
You can find Chinese Poker online, but only at highly specialized sites and it is popularly played in South East Asia, Hong Kong and parts of the United States. It is also known by various different names; like in Hawaai they call it Pepito, in the Phillipines it is called Pusoy and in the USA it may be called Russian or Chinese poker. In Cantonese it is Sap Sam Cheung and a very similar name in Vietnamese. But this game is similar to Pai Gow Poker in many ways apart from the ability to surrender a hand.
Sap Sam Cheung basically means 13 cards and this is how the game is played, with each player dividing these cards into three poker hands. There are two five card hands and one hand of three cards. These hands obviously have to beat the hands of opponents in terms of poker hand hierarchy.
Four players each play for themselves and a standard deck of 52 cards is used. Prior to playing this game, a stake needs to be agreed between players, so they do this in advance, for the sake of this exercise let’s call it $10 = 1 wagering unit. Cards are then shuffled, cut and 13 are dealt to each individual player – singly.
There is a back hand = 5 cards, a middle hand = 5 cards and a front hand = 3 cards and the player has to arrange them with the object of winning the game. The back hand has to be the best, middle hand second best and front hand worst. Poker rankings are used, there are no wild cards, and surrender must be agreed on prior to playing.
With the front hand it is obvious that only three kinds of hand are possible and this is three of a kind, one pair and high card. There are no straights or any kinds of flushes in a three card poker hand. As soon as all the hands have been sorted the player exposes their cards and compares all corresponding hands.
The simplest way to calculate payment is to win one unit or $10 for hand a player beats and lose one unit for each hand they lose.
There are often additional payment measures taken, and there are some special hands that earn extra while others win outright. It is always important to agree in advance exactly what these hands and payments will be. An online casino will obviously provide their own structures for payment and rules regarding specialty hands.