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Blogging Ain't Easy and Chinese Poker Explained

It's been a bit difficult to blog lately. Two nights ago, I lost $220 or so due to some donkalicious play at the very moment I decided to take a shot at $200 max No Limit. Sometimes I wonder if I am destined to be a tournament player. At least in tournaments, when I make a stupid move my losses are capped. Sure you can double up quick and win $200 in a cash game, whereas it may be a lot more difficult to make the same scratch in a tournament. But the exposure in a tournament is usually a lot less given a $200 prize.

That said, I continued to work off my PokerSourceOnline bonus at Dream Poker, and won over $70 yesterday. This was all before 10pm, but after I stopped, I never went back. I was happy to lock in a profit, and I didn't want anything to mess with that feeling.

When I'm in the mood to play poker, but I'm not in the mood to THINK about poker, I've been playing Chinese Poker at, a site that I first started playing through a promotion. The site allows you to deposit as little as $10, so I essentially deposit $20, which is the minimum to play $1/point Chinese Poker. If I lose any amount and come back later (with less than the minimum buy-in), I move to the less .50/point or .25/point games. Ironically, this was also my system for hold'em when I first started playing. Back in the day, I would allow myself $20 per month, a number I could rationalize as an entertainment expense, akin to a videogame. I was a student at the time, and I heard about Golden Palace Poker from the Howard Stern Show (and the backs of various boxers). Golden had/has a minimum deposit of $20, so I stuck to that amount. I'd play a $5 or even $10 SNG and if I lost, I'd switch to the lower $2 or $1 stakes until I was eventually felted. By the end of the month, I'd be playing .10 SNGs, where the first place gets a whopping $0.45. This was maybe two to two-and-a-half years ago. Now, I'm back to doing it with Chinese Poker.

I've explained the game on this site before, but I really want to direct you all to's Chinese Poker Rules page. For anyone who will be at the Bash, I sincerely plan on finding a dark corner table and sitting down with some booze and cards. Chinese Poker is not a betting game. You set your hand up, showdown all at once and then calculate how many points you win. A point can be $.25, $1 or $100. It's up to you. For the bash, I'm thinking the ideal would be to have $1/point, with $20 buy-in. We can keep track on a sheet of paper and then settle up after, so that the fuzz won't be in on it.

Even with the Rules Page, I should probably mention how the game is played here. Each player (up to 4) are dealt 13 cards. The player then sets the cards into 3 hands, called a Front, Middle and Back Hand. The Back Hand consists of 5 cards, and must be the Strongest of the three hands. The Middle Hand is also 5 cards, and must be Weaker than the Back Hand, but Stronger than the Front Hand. The Front Hand consists of 3 cards, and must be the Weakest of all Hands (flushes and straights don't count in the 3-card Front Hand).

Once you set your hands, all players showdown at once. You compare your each of your Hands with each of the other players' Hands, individually. For instance, I'm playing with TripJax, slb and Veneno (all of whom are expected at the Bash). I am dealt Ah Kh Ks Qd Js Ts 9c 8d 8h 8c 7h 2s 2d (I picked these at random). I might set my Back Hand as 88822, for a Full House. My Middle Hand will probably be KQJT9. My Front Hand will then be AK7. After I set the cards, we all show them down. Now, let's assume Trip has an Ace-high flush, a King-high flush, and a pair of tens. We compare Back Hands (my full house to his flush) and I win 1 point. We compare Middle Hands (my straight to his flush) and I lose a point. We then compare the Front Hand and his pair beats my Ace-high. So he wins 1 point from me in total. I then compare with slb. He has AAA33, two pair (7755x), and Q-high, so I lose to his higher full house, but beat his two pair (with my straight) and his Q-high (with my Ace-high). I win two points, and lose one, for a total of one point. Now onto V, who has two pair (9944x), two pair and a pair of Jacks. I win a point because I beat her Back and Middle Hands but lost to the Front. I have +1 for the hand. The problem is, we now have to compare the others, so scoring might be tedious with multiple players. For Slb v. Trip, Trip wins 1 point. Trip v. V, Trip wins 1 point. V v. slb, V wins 1 point. So in total, I win 1 point (1 from slb, 1 from V, -1 to Trip). Trip wins 3 points (one from each player). V loses 1 point (-1 to me and Trip, but +1 from slb). Slb loses 3 points (one to everyone). And repeat...

If that sounds complicated enough, it does get a bit more complicated. In Western Chinese Poker, you get a bonus point for winning a majority of points against each player individually, but I don't usually play Western Chinese. In Eastern, you get bonuses for certain types of hands, such as Four of a Kind in the Back Hand, or placing 3 of a Kind in the Front Hand. But we'll also skip those for the Bash.

What we probably should not skip are the Clean Sweep Hands. If you are dealt one of these, you don't have to set your hand. When showdown occurs, just announce your hand and you win a certain amount. They are in descending order (with points per player in parenthesis): Dragon aka one of each rank (13 pts); 13 Colors aka all red or all black (13 pts); 12 Colors (3 pts); 6 Pairs (3 pts); 3 Flushes (3 pts) and 3 Straights (3 pts). Note that flushes and straights don't count in the Front Hand (3-cards) unless you have 3 Flushes or 3 Straights.

Hopefully, that is enough to chew on. Read up, play some on Nine (preferably through VPP, while you are at it), and meet me at the Bash. Until then, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 9:46 AM,


At 11:01 AM, Blogger slb159 said...

Okay, I'm in...I'm about as familiar with Chinese poker as I am with Peruvian poker (hehe), but I'll give it a shot.

At 11:04 AM, Blogger slb159 said...

Oh and thanks for the foreshadowing of how it'll work out. "slb loses one point to eveyone." Great.

At 11:22 AM, Anonymous Tom said...

As long as you know hand rankings, you can play Chinese Poker. It's very much a luck game, not a skill game.

At 12:03 PM, Blogger chipper said...

Chinese Poker sounds like fun. Going to try that out at my next home game.

At 12:45 PM, Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

So you have to keep score for each player to settle up? So J vs Slb: 5p, and Slb v J: 4 points at the end of the night? Sounds like keeping score is the most complicated part of this whole game.

At 12:49 PM, Blogger TripJax said...

I'm down with it...

At 1:01 PM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Tom, there is some skill, as far as setting hands. Some people go for the obvious and end up shortchanging their Front and Middle hand. But overall, it is more of a luck game.

SirF, in my example, we'd just have a sheet of paper with our names on it and right under Trip +3, under me +1, under V -1, and under slb -3. We don't have to worry abotu who pays who. Let's just say at the end, Trip is +19, I'm +7, V is -10 and slb is -16. Then slb would give me $16, V would give me $10, and I'd pay out me and Trip from the $26.

At 2:15 PM, Blogger Joaquin "The Rooster" Ochoa said...

I will make sure and play chinese poker. Also, like the new banner.


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