3 Regional Variations on Poker From Around the Globe

According to research conducted by Statista, there were some 7,791 poker tables in casinos around the world in July 2020. And that’s before the digital tables hosted by the increasingly large online market are taken into account! Clearly, poker is one of the most popular card games in the world today.

It’s perhaps unsurprising, then, that a similar game has sprung up independently in different parts of the world. It’s likely that the game was played by sailors, merchants, and other itinerant individuals in times gone by and that the rules were fudged, tweaked, and changed slightly in different ports. But however the phenomenon arose, it’s interesting (and perhaps beneficial to your game) to learn more about these regional variations. Here are three for your amusement and education.

Teen Patti

Hailing from the Indian subcontinent, teen Patti is a hugely popular game throughout South Asia. Its rules originate from the English game of three-card brag, though it does carry many remarkable similarities to poker, too.

Players are dealt three cards and can bet on whether or not they think their hand is stronger than those of the other plays based upon a hierarchy that closely mirrors the rules of poker. However, the differences arise in the gameplay; players generally bet blind (without looking at their hand) and can request sideshows (also called back shows) with the player immediately before them. The lower hand from such instances must immediately fold in a private showing, while the person who requested the sideshow must fold if the hands are equal.

Chinese poker

As the name suggests, this variation on poker was invented in China. It’s an extremely simple version of the game which makes it an ideal entry method for beginners since only a rudimentary knowledge of scoring hands is required to play and win.

With Chinese poker, players are dealt a 13-card hand (meaning there can only ever be a maximum of four players at one time) and must arrange those cards into three separate poker hands, which are known as the front and the middle (both containing five cards) and the back (containing three cards). The front must be the strongest hand at the player’s disposal, while the back must be the weakest. Straights and flushes do not count in the back. Points are scored based on the number of hands won by each player.


The exact origins of Badugi are unknown since there are reports of it being played in the 1980s in both Canada and South Korea. The fact that the name means “black and white spotted dog” in Korean suggests that it may be Asian in origin, but in any case, it’s certainly one of the more recent incarnations of poker, with only a few decades under its belt.

That doesn’t make it any less enjoyable or engaging, however. It’s further removed from traditional poker than either of the other two options on this list, in that players can discard cards and take up new ones across three “draws”, with a round of betting preceding each one. What’s more, the hierarchical scoring system is completely different from poker, adding extra complexity and intrigue to the game.

Think you know your poker variations? Why not try one of these different takes on the classic card game to expand your knowledge even further.

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