Chinese poker is a version of usual poker; in order to play it you don’t need play chips and even a table, a card deck is the only thing you need. The combinations in Chinese poker are exactly like in usual Texas Hold'em. According to the rules, from 2 to 4 players (3 players in "Pineapple" version) can participate in the game.
Every player has three boxes in front of him:
Right at the beginning, each player gets 5 cards and lays them out faceup in any of the three boxes as he likes.
Then, depending on the type of Chinese poker, the turns occur as follows:
Each player gets one card faceup and puts it in any of his boxes. The turns take place until the players fill all their boxes (8 circles).
All players get 3 cards facedown. A player must lay out two cards in his boxes and the third one has to be sent into the muck and it remains closed for opponents (4 circles).
There are no rounds of trading and betting in Chinese poker. The game is played on units (bonus points). In a live game, the value of one unit is agreed by players before the game starts and on the Internet, there are limits that are similar to the limits of the usual cash-game. The calculation between the players occurs after the game ends.
If the combination in any of the boxes has turned out stronger than in the previous one (the middle box is higher than the bottom one, the top box is higher than the middle one), then your hand will be considered as "dead." In this case you will lose to all your opponents and will not get bonus points (units).
Therefore, sometimes it will be more profitable for you not to improve your hand on the middle box if you don’t have a formed combination on the bottom one.
In Chinese poker, the main strategic accent is focused on your cards but the open cards of your opponents can also give you a lot of information.
For example, you collect a flush of hearts in the bottom box and your opponents have already opened a lot of hearts. In this case, it will be more profitable for you to refuse an idea of collecting a flush and try collecting another combination.
Fantasy is an additional game option that becomes available to the player when he collects a combination from a pair of queens and higher in the youngest (top) box. He will play the next hand as a fantasy.
How to play a fantasy:
The player places all his cards facedown simultaneously at the beginning of the hand and doesn’t open his cards until the other players complete playing a hand. After the rest players finish the actions, a player with a fantasy-hand opens the cards and scores are counted.
You can get a fantasy again if you are able to collect a combination from the quads and higher in the bottom box, from the full-house and higher in the middle box or the set on the top one.
Currently, just a limited number of rooms offer Chinese poker game since it is difficult to get a license for it.