Chinese Poker is a poker variant
that really isn't like most forms of poker, since there are no betting
rounds. Its relationship to poker
comes from the fact that it uses the standard
ranking of poker hands
Two to four players are each dealt 13 cards from a standard 52-card deck. Each player then separates their hand into a 5-card front hand, a 5-card middle hand, and a 3-card back hand. The front hand must outrank the middle hand, which in turn must outrank the back hand. If not, the hands are considered a foul. Note that flushes and straights do not count for the 3-card hand.
The game is scored by individually comparing your hands to each other player. Each part of the hand is assigned 1 point. For example, the player with the higher ranking front hand gets 1 point, the player with the lower ranking front hand would lose 1 point. Same thing for the middle and back hands. Ties score no points. Out of the three rankings, the player with a majority of hands won will get an additional point. Thus, winning all three hands will net the player 4 points. If your ranking is foul, you will automatically lose all the hands, and lose 4 points to each player.
The score is typically represented by chips, usually with some cash value attached to the chips.
Chinese Poker started becoming popular in the 1990's. Many of the casino card rooms were offering Chinese Poker at the time. It was even offered as an event in the World Series of Poker in 1995 and 1996. It was discontinued after that, most likely due to the state of the game. Since there is no betting, all of the strategy of the game is determined by which cards you select for your hands. Due to computer analysis of the game, most of the best players in the world know how to play with near perfect strategies. That turns the game into more of a game of luck, rather than skill.
Chinese Poker is still seen in many card rooms. Often, they increase the luck portion of the game by giving out bonuses for premium hands. Such as a straight flush in the middle hand, or three-of-a-kind in the back hand.
The game can also be played with more than 4 people by using multiple decks. However, this does require special rules to account for special hands such as 5-of-a-kind and flush-with-a-pair.