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Chinese New Year (CNY) Card Games Guide_ How to Play Ban Luck, In-Between and Poker

Chinese New Year (CNY) Card Games Guide: How to Play Ban Luck, In-Between and Poker

profileJunel Seet

Chinese New Year (CNY) Games Guide

Happy Chinese New Year (CNY) from the Seedly team!

It’s that time of the year again, Seedly smells money in the air.

To save you all the searching, we have put together the instructions on how to play Blackjack (Ban Luck), Poker, and In-Between, three popular card games played during CNY.

CNY Card Games: Click to Teleport


How to Play Ban Luck (Black Jack) How to Play

“Ban Luck”, or Chinese blackjack, is the most commonly played card game at any house during visiting. 

This is probably because it is a relatively simple game of drawing cards to reach the closest to 21 points.

Step 1: Dealing of Cards

After the dealer shuffles the card, one of the players will ‘cut’ the deck, splitting the deck into two. This is to ensure fairness in the game.

The dealer will then give out two cards to each player, including himself. Note that Blackjack can be played by as many players as you want.

Unlike blackjack in the casino, Singaporeans usually deal with two cards face down.

Step 2: Counting Points — Black Jack Ace Value and More

As mentioned previously, the goal of Ban Luck is to get 21 points without exceeding.

The player with the highest score (not >21) wins the round

After you open your own two cards, start adding up your score:

  • For cards two to nine, the numerical value on the cards represents the number of points
  • Cards 10, J, Q and K represent 10 points
  • Ace cards represent different points depending on the number of cards you have:
    • If one has a total of 2 cards in hand, the Ace can be 10 or 11
    • If one has a total of 3 cards in hand, the Ace can be 10 or 1
    • If one has more than 4 cards in hand, an Ace represents 1.

Step 3: Ban Luck Rules To Take Note Of

Now that you know how to count your points, each player must have at least 16 points to play.

Card combinations lower than 16 points will mean that the player or dealer has to draw from the pile when it’s their turn

Should a player or banker have exactly 15 points in his first two cards, he can choose to surrender.

Step 4: Special Card Combinations = Win More $$

There are special combinations that allow the dealer or players to get back more than 1X of their bet amount as follows:

  • Ban Luck (Ace with J, Q, K or 10): The player wins 2X his bet unless the dealer has 15 points or Ban Ban. This is the same for the dealer
  • Ban Ban (Ace pair): Wins 3X the bet amount
  • 7-7-7 (Triple 7): Wins 7X the bet amount
  • Dragon (obtain five cards without exceeding 21 points):
    • Should a player wants to hit after receiving his fourth card, they will have to reveal all four of their cards
    • If the total value of all five cards the player has in their hand does not exceed 21 points, they will receive 2X their bet.

If you would like to take your Ban Luck skills to the next level, we made a cheat sheet on increasing your chances of winning Blackjack (Ban Luck) with a little bit of math:

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How To Play Poker

We found out that many people actually don’t know how to play poker!

If you don’t want to lose money playing poker during CNY, here’s how the game is played.

Step 1: Dealing of Cards

After the dealer shuffles the cards, one of the players will ‘cut’ the deck, splitting the deck into two. This is to ensure fairness in the game.

The dealer will then give out two cards to each player, including himself.

Note: The dealer changes after every round and the game can accommodate up to fourteen players.

Step 2:  Card Combinations Rankings

This is the most important part of poker: How to win.

If you know how to play “Tai Ti” or Big Two, the combination of cards is similar. But for Poker, do note that the highest value card is Ace instead of Two.

Here are the combinations:

  • Royal Flush: 10, J, Q, K, A, all in the same suit 
  • Four of a kind: Four cards of the same number
  • Full house: A combination of three of the same numbered cards + one pair
  • Flush: Five cards of the same suit 
  • Straight: Five cards of consecutive numbers
  • Three of a kind: Three cards of the same number
  • Two pairs of cards
  • One pair of cards
  • Highest card: If no player has any of the above combinations, the player with the highest card points wins.

Step 3:  Big Blind, Small Blind

This is to ensure that there is enough money in the pot at the beginning of each round to pay off the people who win.

The player on the dealer’s left is the small blind, and the player on the left of the small blind is the big blind.

The big blind puts in twice the amount of money that the small blind puts into the pot of money. The amount of money is typically determined by what your group is used to.

Step 4: Starting The Game

If we continue from Step 1, after each player opens their own two cards, they will determine if they stand a good chance to win according to the combination rankings in Step 2.

The player to the left of the dealer will choose to either:

  • Bet: Bet a certain amount of money
  • Check: Do nothing.

The game is then continued in a clockwise fashion where the rest of the players can choose to:

  • Call: Follow the first player’s bet
  • Fold: Give up
  • Raise: Raise the first player’s bet. When a raise happens, everyone else will have to either call, fold or continue raising until everyone playing has the same bet.

The dealer will then deal, which means laying out three cards for everyone to see:

  • Players can bet, call, raise or fold.

The dealer deals the fourth card for everyone to see:

  • Players can bet, call, raise or fold.

The dealer deals the fifth card for everyone to see

  • This is the final time players can bet, call, raise or fold.

The player with the highest card combination rank (refer to step 2) wins!

Now that you know how to play poker, here’s a quick probability guide to help take your game one step further and ensure you earn big bucks at the poker table:


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How To Play In-Between Card Game

In-between is a fast-moving card game with relatively simple rules. But watch out, fast-moving means your money will be moving fast too!

Step 1: Dealing of Cards

After the dealer shuffles the cards, one of the players will ‘cut’ the deck, splitting the deck into two. This is to ensure fairness in the game. This game can also be played by as many players as you want.

Step 2: Contribute to the Pot $$$

Each player will put a standardised amount into the pot of money to start the game

Step 3: Starting the Game

The dealer will open two cards for the first player on his or her left

The player will then bet an amount of money according to the chance of the third card falling in between those two numbers. Step 4 will teach you how this thought process works:

Step 4: Rule Of Winning/ Losing

Winning or losing money depends on the third card the dealer opens for you. If the card:

  • Falls in between the two cards: You win the amount you previously bet from the common pot of money
  • Falls outside of the two cards: You lose the amount of money you bet to the common pot
  • Is exactly the same number as either two of the opened cards: You lose 2X the amount you previously bet to the common pot of money.

If you would like to take your In-Between skills to the next level, check out our In-Between probability guide:


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CNY Card Games

Small gambles are fun during CNY with your friends and family, but be careful not to play with what you cannot afford to lose or spend all your winnings in a hurry.

Have a huat 2023 everyone!

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