Russian Poker: Basic Rules, How To Play, and Pro Tips

Russian Poker: Basic Rules, How To Play, and Pro Tips

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One of the finest games at a Casino is Russian Poker, where the term ‘house wins, or house loses’ is as real as it gets.

Russian Poker is a game variant where all the players at a poker table play a 5-card draw to beat the dealer instead of each other. Everyone with a better hand than the dealer wins the amount they wagered.

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H.O.R.S.E. poker is a mixed-game format that combines several different variants of poker, including Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo, Razz, Seven Card Stud, and Eight or Better (Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo). In Horse poker, the game type rotates after each orbit, with each letter representing a different variant. This format requires players to be proficient in multiple poker games, adding an extra layer of challenge and strategy compared to playing a single variant.

Rules Of Russian Poker

The rules of Russian poker may seem a little complicated at first, but with multiple hands, you grow accustomed to the following rules:

  • Each Russian poker player in that particular hand sets an ante or prior bet.
  • Each player can choose their betting amount anywhere between the bottom and top limits that the house specified.
  • After the first betting round, the dealer offers 5 cards to each player.
  • All the player’s cards are dealt face down, whereas the dealer's last card is dealt face down.
  • Each player has a box where they place their bets. A proportionate amount is doled out in winnings based on the amount they wagered.
  • A player must never issue their turn unless the previous player has finished exchanging their cards, betting, or folding.
  • If players fold after seeing their cards, they lose the amount wagered in the ante.
  • In Russian poker, players can purchase a 6th card slot by offering an amount equivalent to the ante.
  • The players can also bet the amount of ante again to replace any four cards from their dealt hand.
  • The bet amount after the cards are dealt double the initial ante.
  • If a player has a good hand, i.e., anything above a 3-of-a-kind, they can insure half their potential claim with an additional amount. This is done in case the dealer doesn’t qualify.
  • After two boxes, the player is in a Blind position where they must place a bet with the ante and be disallowed to exchange their cards, buy additional slots, or insurance.
  • If a player has more than one qualifying combo, their payout is much higher.
  • The dealer must hold an Ace-King for their hand to qualify. The player loses insurance if the dealer’s hand qualifies, but if it doesn’t, the player gets the insured amount back plus an equivalent amount on a 1:1 ratio.
  • Players can also pay to exchange the dealer’s unseen cards to improve their odds of qualifying.

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Mexican Poker, also known as Stud Mexican, is a variant of five-card stud poker. In this game, each player is dealt five cards face down, followed by a round of betting. Players then reveal their cards one at a time, with betting rounds interspersed between each reveal. The objective is to have the best five-card poker hand to win the pot.

Showdown And Payout In Russian Poker

During a showdown, all players must display their cards to be compared with the dealers. If the dealer has a better hand than all other Russian poker players at the table, then the house wins everything. The chances for this are low when multiple players are at the table.

All the players show their cards together, and the ratio of their winnings is based on if they are holding the following hands:

  1. 100:1 for Royal Flush, which is a rare hand.
  2. 50:1 for Straight Flush
  3. 20:1 for Four a kind
  4. 7:1 for Full House
  5. 5:1 for Flush
  6. 4:1 for Straight
  7. 3:1 for Three a kind
  8. 2:1 for Two pairs
  9. 1:1 for One pair, which is pretty common
  10. 1:1 for Ace-King, which is equivalent to the dealer’s qualification cards.

A player with 6 cards is likely to have more than one winning hand, although a player with five cards may also qualify for combinations. In such cases, the payouts are doled out on both hands, beating the dealer. If only one hand happens to be better, then only the winning hand is paid out despite a combination.

Here are the proportions for combination payouts:

  1. 150:1 for Royal Flush and Straight Flush
  2. 105:1 for Royal Flush and Flush
  3. 104:1 for Royal Flush and Straight
  4. 100:1 for two Straight Flushes
  5. 55:1 for Straight Flush and Flush
  6. 54:1 for Straight Flush and Straight
  7. 51:1 for Straight Flush and Ace-King
  8. 27:1 for Four of a Kind and Full House
  9. 21:1 for Four of a Kind and Ace-King
  10. 14:1 for two Full Houses
  11. 10:1 for double Flush
  12. 9:1 for Flush and Straight
  13. 8:1 for double Straight
  14. 8:1 for Full House and Ace-King
  15. 6:1 for Flush with Ace-King
  16. 6:1 for Flush with One Pair
  17. 5:1 for Straight with Ace-King
  18. 4:1 for Three of a Kind and Ace-King
  19. 4:1 for double Two Pairs
  20. 3:1 for Two Pairs with Ace-King
  21. 2:1 for One Pair and Ace-King

Pineapple Poker is a popular variant of Texas Hold'em where players are dealt three hole cards instead of two. From these three cards, players must discard one card after the flop, leading to strategic gameplay decisions and exciting possibilities.

Betting And Poker Strategies

When betting in Russian Poker, remember the house is already at an advantage because

  1. They need a qualifying hand of Ace-King, which are high cards.
  2. If they don’t qualify, it is a problem for you.

Therefore, you must be careful while betting on a round of Russian Poker. We have a few strategies and tips to help you determine when it is good to play and when to fold.

  • If you don’t have any prayer of a winning hand when the cards are first dealt, fold. Oddly, your exchange cards can come up the same, and you’ll have invested double the money already for nothing. Instead of losing it all, stay to play another hand.
  • If you have an Ace-King when your cards are dealt but no other combinations, keep those two to draw with the dealer and exchange the remaining three cards for better odds.
  • If you have three-of-a-kind and the dealer is not showing the fourth in the suite, exchange the two remaining cards for odds of making 4-of-a-kind or a Full House.
  • If the dealer’s showing card is anything less than a 5 and you have no possible value-hands, keep the Queen if you have one and exchange the remaining four for better odds. You can fold if you don’t even have a Queen or higher.
  • If three or four of your cards are already lining towards a royal flush or straight flush, exchange only the remaining one or two cards.
  • Consider purchasing the sixth card if you have a Straight or Flush led by Ace-King.
  • If you already have a strong hand, i.e., Flush and above, consider buying the sixth card to make a combo, thus improving your winning amount.


If you understand the gameplay of Russian Poker and develop your strategy, you will win more cash than you can count. The important thing for Russian poker players is the same as for Hold ‘Em. You should know when to hold and know when to fold.

Don’t play hands simply because you have already invested. Remember, you’re not playing against contestants where you can bluff. The house will ultimately show the cards and determine the winners.

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Question Answer
What is Russian Poker? Russian Poker, also known as Russian Poker or Rusky Poker, is a popular card game that combines elements of traditional poker and blackjack. Players compete against the dealer's hand, aiming to achieve a better poker hand to win.
How is Russian Poker Played? In Russian Poker, players are dealt five cards face down, while the dealer receives six cards with one face up. Players can choose to fold and forfeit their initial bet or raise by placing an additional bet. The goal is to beat the dealer's hand by forming a stronger poker hand from your cards.
What is the "Box" in Russian Poker? The "Box" refers to the player's initial ante bet in Russian Poker. It's a separate wager from the optional raise that players can make later in the game. Winning hands against the dealer's hand can lead to payouts based on the strength of the player's hand and the game's specific rules.
What Are the Winning Hands in Russian Poker? The standard poker hand rankings apply in Russian Poker. The strongest hand is a Royal Flush, followed by a Straight Flush, Four of a Kind, Full House, Flush, Straight, Three of a Kind, Two Pair, One Pair, and High Card. Understanding these hand rankings is crucial to making strategic decisions during the game.
Can You Explain the "Exchange" in Russian Poker? After deciding to raise, players have the option to exchange any number of their cards for new ones from the deck. This strategic aspect allows players to improve their hand in hopes of beating the dealer. However, exchanging cards comes at an additional cost, as players must pay an amount equal to the original ante for each exchanged card.