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What is Russian Poker?

May 30, 2024

Russian poker is also known as lunar poker and is a variation of Caribbean stud poker. Players of Pai Gow Poker should not have a hard time adapting to the rules of Russian poker, as it is very similar in some ways. Russian poker is not a game anyone is going to find when they log into an online casino, but it is still another exciting version of poker that can be played with some friends and enjoy offline.

Given that players are playing with three different hands it means that three different pots are available to win. It is a game that is played between two and four players, but one of the downsides to this version of poker is that only four players max can participate. Wild cards are not used in any variety the majority of the time, but that is up to the discretion of the dealer when playing. 

Unlike most poker games, the ultimate goal is to defeat the dealer and not the other players at the table. This throws a wrench into the strategy that a player approaches the game with, as they cannot see the dealer’s cards, and they are just trying to build their strongest hand from what they have to work with. 

Rules

Players are dealt three hands, and in order to have a strong hand, all three hands need to work together to form the best hand possible. 

After everybody antes into the pot, each player will be dealt 13 cards face down, and they will have to make three hand combinations out of these 13 cards. After a player makes their three hand combinations, they will have a top hand, a middle hand and a bottom hand. Both the top and middle hand will consist of five cards, while the bottom hand will consist of three cards and should be their lowest-ranked poker hand possible. 

Top Hand in Russian Poker

A player’s top hand should consist of five cards and create the best possible combination. 

Middle Hand in Russian Poker

A player’s middle hand will also consist of five cards, and it should be strong enough to defeat their bottom hand but not their top hand. 

Bottom Hand in Russian Poker

A player’s bottom hand will consist of their last three cards and it should combine to make their weakest possible poker hand. Due to the fact that it is their lowest ranked hand it will go in order of high card, pair, and three of a kind.

After a player’s hands are made, a final round of betting will take place, which allows players to wager for the final time before facing off with the dealer’s hands. 

Players will turnover their bottom hand first with the highest three card hand winning a fourth of the pot. Following the revealing of the bottom hand, the middle hand will be turned over next with the highest hand in the middle winning a fourth of the pot, and finally the top hand is revealed with the winner taking the remaining 50% of the pot.

Russian Poker

At first, Russian poker may seem rather confusing, but once you get the hang of it, it can be very fun and entertaining within groups of friends. It encompasses many different strategies and styles that traditional poker may not need. However, it opens players’ eyes to a wider range of techniques and strategies that can be used in other variations of poker as well.