Online poker is here to stay and this can be seen in the number of variants offered and the growing pool of prizes offered to top players. You can even find different types of tournaments with varying prize pools that are intended to attract and engage different types of players. A popular variant of the game is Chinese Poker, a game that’s popular among players from Hong Kong, the Philippines, and other parts of Southeast Asia.

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chinese pokerThis poker variant is known in different names depending on the region where the Chinese Poker game is played. In Cantonese, this game is called Sap Sam Cheung and in Chinese, it’s also called Luosong Pai Jiu. This game is also played in some parts of the United States and Filipino gamblers know this card game as ‘pusoy’ in the local language.

The names of Chinese Poker may vary in different regions but its primary objective remains the same. When you are playing Chinese Poker online or offline, you are tasked to arrange the assigned cards into three hands with the intent to beat the poker hands formed by the other players on the table. We take a closer look at the basic Chinese Poker rules and features, as played in many leading online Philippine casinos today.

How the Table is Set and Played

In this popular variant of poker, four players take part in forming the best hand which can win the pot. The play requires the use of a standard deck of cards and calls for an agreement of the stake to be made before the actual play starts. Just like in other table games, the bets or payments are expressed in ‘units’, with one assuming a variable worth depending on what players have agreed on. A unit of bet may range from $1 to $100 or even bigger depending on the needs and preferences of players participating in Chinese Poker.

Once the terms have been set, the casino dealer will assign 13 cards to each player participating in the table. The player will then arrange the 13 cards into three hands, with the two hands featuring five cards, and the other containing remaining cards. In Chinese Poker, the first two are traditionally called the middle and the back, and the last is called the front.

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In the preparation of the hands from these 13 cards in Chinese Poker, you need to make sure that the cards in the back must be your best-ranking hand, with the cards in the front as your ‘weakest link’. Here’s an important reminder when playing this game at this stage: the flush and straight are not counted when designing your three-card hand.

Once you have decided on how to separate the cards in the hands, all hands should be presented face down, with the cards in the backhand placed in front of the other player and the cards from the middle hand just in front of the backhand. The front in Chinese Poker should be situated in front of the middle hand. After all of the participants have prepared and laid out the hands, each one is given the chance to announce to the group if they are willing to play. This is also the opportunity for the player to announce if they have royalties or bonuses that they can collect before playing (More on the Chinese Poker royalties or bonuses below).

If you managed to form three straights or three flushes, you automatically win in your Chinese Poker session regardless of the hands formed by the other participants.

chinese pokerScoring and How the Showdown Works

The action happens when all players are done with the hands and they are ready to play. When you play classic Chinese poker online, you can earn one unit for each hand of the other players that you can beat, and you lose a unit for every hand that beats you. In determining who wins against who, Chinese Poker uses the same hand rankings used in the standard poker game.

This means that the best hand of them all is the Royal Flush which will beat out Straight Flush and a Four-of-a-Kind. And a Four-of-a-Kind in this card game will beat out Three-of-a-Kind and so on. You may want to check our guide on playing online poker to learn more about the different hand rankings that are used as the basis for this game.

What are Royalties

As mentioned, this game comes with royalties or bonuses that are announced before the play of the hands. These are additional units that may be earned by the players for receiving and forming strong hands. Some of the popular and strong hands that may be awarded a bonus in the Chinese Poker are:

  • Four-of-a-Kind. You have collected this high-valued hand if four of the cards are of the same value, say all 4s, with the other card can be anything.
  • Straight Flush. This is a high-ranking hand in Chinese Poker which involves a sequence in the same suit, like Jack to 7 of hearts.
  • At least a Full House in the middle hand Dubbed as the ‘boat’ in Chinese Poker, this includes three cards of the same rank and two of similar rank as well, like 8-8-8-A-A.
  • At least a Three-of-a-Kind for the front. This refers to a set of three cards of the same value.

The amount of bonus or unit that can be collected for holding one of these hands during your Chinese Poker online session will ultimately depend on the agreement of the players. This is often agreed upon or indicated on the game before the round starts.

On Naturals

When playing Chinese Poker, you will also encounter the naturals or special bonuses that will reward the player. The bonuses are given before the surrender of a player in the game. Some of the most popular and important naturals that can pay out in Chinese Poker are Three Straights, Three Flushes, Six Pairs, and 13 unique pairs or called the ‘Dragon’. In Chinese Poker, the player who collects the stronger natural will win and collect the bonus. If both players of the game announce a six pair, the player who shows the highest six pair collects the bonus in Chinese Poker. If not, a tie is observed, and no one shall be awarded the bonus.


When learning how to play Chinese Poker, you should know that this popular card game has a surrender feature. A surrender is a costly option in the game of Chinese Poker. If a player decides to take this option, he is required to pay an amount that’s greater than the amount given when losing at least 2 hands. If a player decides to surrender in the game of Chinese Poker, he is not obligated to pay off the bonuses or royalties of the other players. In some online casino Philippines websites, this action is not an option which means you need to go through the process of playing the game.

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Where to Play Chinese Poker Online

Chinese poker is a relatively new addition to the growing family of online poker games, but it’s one of the fastest-growing cards game in terms of popularity and the prizes offered. You can find this specialized game in selected Chinese poker Philippines online casinos and offer alongside other popular variants of the game. To find a reputable online casino that offers Chinese Poker or other variants of the game, simply use our website and read our expert guides and tips.


🥢 What is “Mis-Set” in the Chinese Poker?

This is when the player places his cards in the wrong order.

🔢 What is a hand of 13 unique hands in Chinese Poker?

For example, a hand of 13 unique cards could be 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K, A also known as a “Dragon”.

🃏 How many cards are in a hand in Chinese Poker?

There are 13 cards in a hand.