How to play

Russian Poker

Introduction

This is not a poker game in the usual sense, but a casino game based on poker hands in which players play against the house. We do not know exactly where and when it was invented, but it first appeared in Russia in the early 1990’s, soon after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. At this time there were many newly rich Russian gamblers, and casino managers were naturally eager to give them VIP status and to provide them with every possible encouragement to play, including new games.

In this context, Russian Poker was developed. The basic idea is that the player places an ante, is dealt five cards, and decides whether to bet on his hand being better than the dealer’s. The dealer needs to qualify with a hand of Ace-King or better, otherwise all bets are cancelled. If the dealer qualifies, the player is paid according to a fixed scale of payouts if his hand is better than the dealer’s or loses his bet if his hand is worse than the dealer’s. There are options for the player to stake extra money to exchange cards or buy an extra card or insure against the dealer failing to qualify. This game has the unusual feature that a player who collects two poker combinations within a hand can be paid for both of them.

Setup

Russian Poker is played at a table with a position for the dealer and six player positions or ‘boxes’. The dealer plays for the house and there can be up to six players at the table. If there are fewer than six players a player is allowed to play more than one adjacent box, but anyone playing more than two boxes must play the third and subsequent boxes ‘blind‘. It is not necessary for all the boxes to be played. So for example a table could have four players each playing one box, or just two players playing three and two boxes, or any other combination.

A single standard 52-card pack is used.

Payout Table

If the dealer qualifies with at least Ace-King and the player’s hand is better than the dealer’s, the player wins and the house pays out according to the size of the player’s bet using the following table of odds.

Player’s Hand Payout on bet
Royal Flush 100:1
Straight Flush 50:1
Four of a Kind 20:1
Full House 7:1
Flush 5:1
Straight 4:1
Three of a Kind 3:1
Two Pair 2:1
One Pair 1:1
Ace-King 1:1

If the player has six cards, any set of five cards can be used to make a hand.

If a player can make two different hands from his five or six cards, both are paid. Different means that there must be at least one card in each 2-card, 3-card, 4-card or 5-card combination which is not used in the other combination. Kickers are ignored for this purpose, so two combinations are possible in a 5-card hand. Not more than two combinations will be paid for in a single hand. The possible cases of two combinations are as follows.

Combinations Total payout Example Hand
Royal Flush + Straight Flush 150:1 clubA clubK clubQ clubJ club10 club9
Royal Flush + Flush 105:1 heartA heartK heartQ heartJ heart10 heart7
Royal Flush + Straight 104:1 spadeA spadeK spadeQ spadeJ spade10 diamondK
Straight Flush + Straight Flush 100:1 diamond10diamond9 diamond8 diamond7 diamond6 diamond5
Straight Flush + Flush 55:1 clubQ club7 club6 club5 club4 club3
Straight Flush + Straight 54:1 heartJ heart10 heart9 heart8 heart7 spade6
Straight Flush + Ace-King 51:1 spade5 spade4 spade3 spade2 spadeA diamondK
Four of a Kind + Full House 27:1 club6 diamond6 heart6 spade6 heartJ spadeJ
Four of a Kind + Ace-King 21:1 clubK diamondK heartK spadeK diamondA
Full House + Full House 14:1 club8 heart8 spade8 diamond3 heart3 spade3
Full House + Ace-King 8:1 heart7 spade7 club7 diamondK heartK spadeA
Flush + Flush 10:1 diamondK diamondQ diamond9 diamond7 diamond6 diamond3
Flush + Straight 9:1 clubJ club9 club7 club6 club5 heart8
Flush + One Pair 6:1 heartA heart10 heart8 heart7 heart2 spade7
Flush + Ace-King 6:1 spadeK spadeJ spade8 spade5 spade3 diamondA
Straight + Straight 8:1 club8 diamond7 spade6 club5 diamond4 heart5
Straight + Ace-King 5:1 club5 spade4 club3 diamond2 heartA spadeK
Three of a Kind + Ace-King 4:1 diamond9 heart9 club9 diamondA spadeK
Two Pair + Two Pair 4:1 clubQ heartQ spade6 diamond6 heart3 spade3
Two Pair + Ace-King 3:1 clubA diamondA heartJ spadeJ clubK
One Pair + Ace-King 2:1 diamond