Chinese Poker & Octopus Balls

January 22, 2012  |  games

We haven’t seen John and Jen since 2008 when we all lived in Vegas. They now live in Carlsbad, so Friday we met up for dinner at Yu Me Ya Sake House in Encinitas and then we went for dessert and played Chinese Poker at Village Kitchen & Pie Shoppe.

Yu Me Ya was great, it’s a tiny little noisy restaurant with a fun atmosphere. I boldly tried the Octopus Balls that John ordered, and after a bite gave it to Brian to finish. It was edible, but probably wasted on me.

Chinese poker was fun, we’ve played before, but for some reason never remember the rules, so this time I’m going to write them down. Everyone gets 13 cards and you have to make 3 poker hands with those cards. (2) 5 card hands and (1) 3 card hand. You have to make your best hand with 5 cards, then a 2nd best hand out of the next 5 cards, and then your worst hand out of the remaining 3 cards. The thing that took me a few rounds to catch on to was the 3 card hand can’t be a flush or a straight and you can’t reveal your hands out of order where the 2nd hand beats your first hand, or 3rd hand can’t be better than the first or second hand.

If you think that’s confusing, try scoring. I think I finally understood scoring by the end. Someone correct me if I’m wrong but this is what seemed like was happening. First you start with one player and you compare hands with another player starting with the best hand. So does my best hand beat Brian’s best hand, if it does I get a point, if it doesn’t I get minus a point. Then we compare second best hand and score me only, then third. We go round the table comparing my hands to everyone and then I get my final tally. Then the next player does the same thing until everyone has been scored for the round. All of the totals are noted and the next round is dealt by that round’s loser. You can play up to a certain score or for a certain number of rounds. We ended up calling it quits when they were closing, and in spite of my confusion I ended up winning. Pictured to the left is my final hand.

Oh and PS, John refused to pose pretty for the camera.


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  1. OK, I’m confused, but it looks like you had a very fun evening.

  2. this game would be difficult after a few glasses of wine and octopus balls…I hope the octopus balls are not what it sounds like they could be……

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