The objective of Chinese Poker is to arrange the 13 cards into three poker hands that will be ranked against the corresponding hands of the other players. Two of the hands are to be of five cards. These are known as a “back” hand and a “middle” hand. The third hand known as “front hand” is to be of three cards. The standard ranking of poker hands are royal flush, straight flush, four of a kind, full house, flush, straight, three of a kind, two pairs, one pair, and high card in decreasing order of rank.
According to the ranking of poker hands, the back hand must be higher ranked than the middle hand, which must be higher ranked than the front hand. The front hand merits special discussion since it has only three cards. The only allowed combinations for the front hand are three of a kind, one pair, and high card. Straight and flushes do not apply to the front hand. After making their hands the players lay them face up as follows. The back hand is placed closest to the player, the middle hand in the middle and the front hand farthest away from the player.
The scoring for Chinese poker is usually done in units. The players decide before hand how much a unit will be worth. Typical values for a unit are $1, $10 or $100. The common system of scoring is as follows. For every corresponding hand that a player beats he wins one unit and for every corresponding hand that he loses to he loses one unit. First the front hands are compared. The player whose front hand is highest ranked wins three units and does not lose any; hence he has a net winning of 3 units. The player whose front hand is the second highest ranked wins two units and loses one unit; hence he has a net winning of 1 unit. The player whose front hand is the third highest ranked wins one unit and loses two units; hence he has a net loss of 1 unit. The player whose front hand is lowest ranked loses three units and does not win any; hence he has a net loss of 3 units. The other two hands are similarly scored.
In a modified version of Chinese Poker, three players play against the house. In this case comparisons are made against the house only. If a player’s front hand is higher ranked than the house’s he wins one unit and if his other two hands are lower than the houses then he loses two units, his net loss being one unit.