One card game that has seen its popularity increase substantially over the past few years is open-face Chinese poker. Its popularity has been aided by the unique Chinese poker scoring system that allows players to win part of a round and, therefore, lower the variance experienced.
It is a game that made its way to the United States during 2012 and since then has seen major card rooms such as Bellagio and Wynn casinos in Las Vegas spread Chinese poker at its poker tables, and TonyBet Poker open the only real money open-face Chinese poker online site.
The relative simplicity and the fact a single round can be over in five-to-ten minutes have helped the game spread around the world faster than any other card game played today. All you need are a deck of cards and at least two players, and you’re ready to go.
Like its rules, open-face Chinese poker scoring is also easy to understand. While there are several variations of the Chinese poker scoring system, the most commonly used is known as the 1-6 method, and it is this that we will look at today.
Before you can work out how to calculate points in Chinese poker, you have to complete a round of it, meaning that you and your opponent will have a board that looks similar to the one shown in the image below, one that has all 13 cards of the players face-up.
In the popular 1-6 Chinese poker scoring, players receive a single point for winning each row: 1 point for winning the top (or front) row, 1 point for winning the middle row, and 1 point for winning the bottom (or back) row. Should a player win all three rows, that player wins three bonus Chinese poker points and is said to have “scooped.” However, if you only win two of the three rows, you win 1 point overall.
In the example above, Thomas won all three rows — helped by the fact that Tony fouled his hand — and was awarded a total of 6 points.
Chinese Poker Scoring: Bonuses
To encourage players to try and make big hands, there are a number of ways to earn bonus Chinese poker points. These bonus points are awarded regardless of the player winning or losing the hand.
We’ll use an actual example of a hand to show how to calculate Chinese poker points.
Thomas loses the top line because his jack-high is weaker than Tony’s queen-high, so he loses a point and Tony wins a point. Thomas then wins the middle because he has a pair of sevens to beat Tony’s ace-high.
The bottom line is where things become interesting because Thomas has a higher straight and wins. As he has made a straight at the back, he should receive 2 points, but because Tony also has a straight (albeit a weaker one), the bonuses cancel each other out.
Bonus points are awarded based on the strength of the hand and its location on the board.
Having a pair of sixes on the top line gives a +1 bonus and this increases by one as the hand increases in strength, up to a maximum of +22 should you manage to have at the top.
Meanwhile in the middle three-of-a-kind awards +2, a straight +4, a flush +8, a full house +12, quads +20, a straight flush +30, and a Royal Flush +50.
There are also bonus Chinese poker points awarded for strong hands on the bottom line in the 1-6 Chinese Poker scoring method. There a straight gives +2, a flush +4, a full house +6, quads +10, a straight flush +15, and a Royal Flush +25.
Chinese Poker Scoring: Fantasyland
Those of you who have been researching open-face Chinese poker will no doubt have heard of the term Fantasyland. While it may sound like a theme park opened by a pop star, it serves as a bonus round in Chinese poker.
To enter Fantasyland, you need a pair of queens or better on top. Making a pair of queens on the top line itself nets you a +7 bonus, but getting to Fantasyland can prove even more profitable.
Once in Fantasyland, the usual Chinese Poker scoring system still applies except here you receive all 13 cards at once instead of the starting five and then one at a time. You are able to set your cards all at once, then wait for your opponent to play his or her hand according to the standing rules.
Being in Fantasyland gives you a massive advantage over your opponent because you can quickly see if it is possible to make strong hands in each row and therefore potentially win large bonuses.
You can stay in Fantasyland for another round by making at least three-of-a-kind deuces on top, or a full house in the middle, or quads at the back. Do this and you’ll soon see the Chinese poker points rack up and earn you big wins at the table.