Russian poker originated in Russia back in the 1990s (hence the name) and has found its way into casinos throughout Europe.
While it is not as popular as some of the other varieties such as 3 Card Poker, Caribbean Stud or Ultimate Texas Holdem, you will still find a decent number of establishments distributing it both online and live.
The game may seem a little daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it, you will realize that Russian poker is quite simple, even with the fairly large number of options that you can choose from after receiving the first five cards.
Each option has a specific price, so you need to make sure you have enough chips for any scenario, depending on which cards you are dealt and what the dealer is showing.
Some of the main features of this game are listed below:
Russian poker is played at a table with a place for the dealer and six places for players or “boxes”. The dealer plays at home and there can be up to six players at the table. If there are fewer than six players, a player is allowed to play in more than one adjacent box, but whoever plays on more than two boxes must play the third and subsequent boxes blindly. It is not necessary that all boxes have been played. So, for example, there can be four players at the table playing one box, or only two players playing three and two boxes, or any other combination.
One standard 52-card deck is used.
As with all other types of poker, in Russian poker your only goal is to beat the dealer.
Even though there may be a few other players playing at the table, you only care about how your hand plays out compared to the dealer’s hold.
In Russian poker, the standard classification of poker hands is used, where the highest card is the lowest possible hand, followed by one pair, two pair, three cards, etc., up to a king flush. Thus, there will be no surprises.
The distribution begins with the fact that you place an ante in a specially designated field. The dealer then deals five cards face down to each participating player and draws five cards for himself, leaving one of his cards open.
Up to this point, the game is very similar to Caribbean Stud Poker, a much more popular version of pot poker. However, after you get your initial set of cards, you have several options, and this is the difference between the two games.
As you can see, the rules of Russian poker are a little more complicated than the rules of other similar varieties.
These rules also make the game a little more expensive, as sometimes you will have to place additional bets due to the nature of payments.
Players take turns, starting with the box farthest to the left of the dealer – this is the rightmost box when viewed from the players’ side. Boxes are played in turn from left to right. All actions on the box must be completed before the next box is played.
When playing boxing, the player looks at five cards and decides on one of the following actions.
In some casinos, the rule is that if a player pays to exchange only one card of his hand, then after discarding and receiving a new card, he has three options: fold, place a bet, or exchange one card again. To re-exchange the player must pay one more ante, after which the same three options remain. The player can exchange as many individual cards as he wishes, paying one ante for each exchange.
If all six boxes are played at the table, there is a possibility that the cards may run out, in which case the dealer will shuffle the discarded cards to form a new deck from which new cards can be dealt for replacement. To avoid such a situation, a limit on the number of cards that can be exchanged at the table can be set, for example, no more than two cards per box.
Some casinos allow a “bonus bet” to be placed instead of or in addition to the original ante. This bet placed on a box before the cards are dealt is a bet on the original five-card hand dealt to that box. The paytable varies from casino to casino. There are two versions here: one pays out on three cards or better, and the other on a straight or better.
After all bets have been placed, the dealer deals his hand. The first thing to look out for is if he has a qualified hand, that is, ace-king or better.
If the dealer does not have a qualified hand, you will be paid 1 to 1 on your ante, but your play bets will be returned to you with no profit.
The only way to ensure that you get paid regardless of this is when you have a strong stake and pay insurance.
If the dealer qualifies and has a stronger hand than yours, you will lose all your bets. If they qualify and you have a stronger hand, your game bets will be paid out according to the following payout table:
Therefore, when you have a strong hand, it is in your best interest to make sure the dealer qualifies. Otherwise, no matter how strong your hand is, you will only get paid on ante bets.
Unlike Caribbean Herd, Russian Poker offers you several additional options to help you secure a payout.
When you are faced with a hand of three or more cards, you expect to be paid 3 to 1 or more.
However, if the dealer is not eligible, you will not see this money. If you want not to sweat or get annoyed, the Russian poker rules suggest that you buy insurance every time you have trips or better.
The minimum insurance price is the ante amount, and the maximum is half the amount of the game.
If you decide to buy insurance, you will be paid 1 to 1 of the sum insured if the dealer fails to qualify, or according to the payout table if it passes. However, if he has a qualified hand, the sum insured will be lost.
If you decide not to buy insurance and the dealer deals his hand, you have another option if he does not qualify.
For the price of antes, you can replace their highest card with a new card from the deck. If this new card gives them a qualified hand, you will receive a payout according to the paytable as if they had qualified on the original draw.
Since Russian poker gives you the opportunity to buy a sixth card, from time to time you will have two ready hands.
For example, you might have two different full houses, or two pair plus ace-king, etc.
Although this rarely happens, from time to time, and when it does, you will be paid for both combinations separately. For example, two full boats are paid 14 to 1. Two pair and an ace-king are paid 3 to 1, and so on.
In addition to the regular game, some Russian poker games also give you the option to place a bonus bet. Basically, you are betting that you will get three triplets or better in the original hand.
Threes are paid at a rate of 5 to 1, straights – 50 to 1, etc., up to a royal flush, which is paid at a rate of 1,500 to 1.
If you make a qualified bonus hand, you will be paid out immediately, regardless of whether the dealer qualifies or if your hand beats him.
Anyone who plays more than two boxes must play the third and subsequent boxes blindly. In a blind game, the player simply places an ante and bet on the box before the deal. There is no way to buy or exchange cards.
After all players have made a move for each box on which they play, the dealer’s hand is placed. The dealer qualifies if he holds ace-king or better.
If the box is surrendered, the dealer has already received an ante and any payments for the exchange of cards or the purchase of cards, and no further payments for the surrendered boxes are made.
For the boxes where the player made a bet, the outcome depends on whether the dealer qualifies, and if so, whether the player’s hand is better or worse than the dealer’s.
All insurance premiums are lost.
The player’s best five-card poker hand is compared to the dealer’s hand using the normal ranking of five-card poker hands. If the player’s best hand beats the dealer’s hand, the player is also awarded any second qualified hand, even if the other hand did not beat the dealer’s hand.
If a player’s hand beats the dealer’s hand:
The player who bet on his original hand and beats the dealer’s hand gets 1: 1 for the ante, and also pays his bet according to the odds indicated in the table. Example: a player bets $ 100 ante + $ 200 bet, the dealer has a pair, the player has a flush. The dealer returns $ 300 bets plus $ 100 for the ante and $ 1000 for the flush, and the player’s profit is $ 1100.
A player who made a bet after buying cards or exchanging cards returns his original ante and loses the amount paid for the purchase or exchange. The bet is paid in accordance with the table of coefficients. Example: A player bets $ 100 ante, pays $ 100 for the 6th card, and bets $ 200. The dealer has a pair, the player has a flush. The dealer returns the original $ 100 ante and $ 200 bet and pays $ 1000 for the flush. Ante winnings are not paid if the player bought a card or exchanged cards, and the $ 100 paid for the 6th card is lost, so the player’s profit is $ 900.
If the player’s hand equals the dealer’s hand, the ante and the bet are returned, and if the player bought a card or exchanged cards, then the payment for the 6th card or the exchange is lost. Thus, the player leaves the game even if he bet on his original hand and loses the amount equivalent to one ante if he bought a card or exchanged it.
If the dealer’s hand beats the player’s hand, the ante and bet are lost, as well as any payment for buying a card or exchanging cards.
For any box that has been insured, the insurance is paid in a 1: 1 ratio. For example, if you insured your flush for $ 500 (maximum if your ante was $ 100), then the unqualified dealer will refund your $ 500 premium plus another $ 500.
The owner of any box that has not been insured may decide to pay an amount equal to the ante for that box to force the dealer to exchange one card in the hope that the dealer will be eligible for the exchange.
Before making an exchange (if paid), the dealer first pays money for all boxes that have not been paid for the dealer to make the exchange. The dealer returns the bet for these boxes and pays the ante 1: 1. Any amount paid to buy a 6th card or pay for a card exchange is lost. Therefore, the player who bet on his original hand will make a profit of one ante, and the player who bought the 6th card will be profitable, since the payment for the ante cancels the payment for the 6th card.
If one or more boxes paid the dealer to exchange a card, then the dealer now discards the highest card from his hand and draws a new card from the deck to replace it. If this new card does not change the dealer’s hand (the new card is of the same rank as the old one and does not give the dealer a flush), the exchange is repeated without further payment until the dealer’s hand changes: either a different rank is drawn or the dealer does flush.
If, after the exchange of cards, the dealer still does not qualify, the dealer pays out the remaining boxes in the same way as those that were not paid when exchanged. If the dealer qualifies as a result of the exchange, payments to the boxes that paid for the exchange are made in the same way as in the “Dealer qualifies” section above. In any case, payments for the dealer’s exchange – one ante for each box – remain with the dealer.
Due to the many different possibilities that players have when playing Russian poker, the optimal strategies for this game can be somewhat complex. However, no matter which place you choose to play from the list of operating casinos, you will know better at least the basic strategy.
Purchase of the sixth card:
There are other basic strategies you can introduce into your game, but for now, these strategies should help you play well enough and not lose too much money in situations where you don’t need to.
If you have a hand that has no chance of success, there is no point in exchanging five cards. Just fold the cards and move on to the next one.
After you have finished all the exchanges and bought cards, as a rule, you should continue if you have at least ace, king and queen in your hand.
If you do not have a hand that is even as strong as this one, you should give up the game.
When it comes to other options, not much seems to have been done to figure out when the time is right to insure or get the dealer to trade his high card.
In general, side bets always increase the house edge, so they should be used sparingly at best.
If you have a big hand in your hand, you will only hurt yourself by putting money on insurance. Getting the dealer to trade his card when you have a really big hand, like fours or better, may not be such a bad idea.
Russian poker will provide every player with real pleasure from the game. It will help you relax after a hard day at work, or maybe give you a great win. You have nothing to lose, it’s definitely worth a try. If you don’t know what it is, try to play it and everything will become clear. Don’t miss this great opportunity!
Every self-respecting player must leave feedback on all the gambling games that he plays, because by doing so, he helps other players to make a truly correct choice. Reviews guarantee a truly honest opinion about the game. If you play Russian poker, share your opinion with other players, maybe thanks to your feedback, other players will be able to avoid negative experience.