Seventeen Card Chinese Poker was created by Greg “Fossilman” Raymer in the summer of 2005 in downtown Las Vegas. Fossilman added Badugi and Lowball to the traditional Chinese Poker game.
Each player receives 17 cards and must make four hands. The bottom hand contains 5 cards. It is ranked by traditional poker hand rankings. The middle also contains 5 cards and but is ranked by 2-7 lowball rules. The top hand contains only 3 cards and must be not be better then the bottom hand. The top hand only ranks high cards, pairs and three of a kind. Straights and flushes do not count. Finally the last hand is a Badugi hand. Badugi hands are ranked first on the number of distinct suits, with pairs not counting as two suits, and then ties are broken by A-5 lowball-style rankings. The best Badugi hand possible is A234 rainbow (all different suits).
There are three scoring options available.
By default each hand is worth 1 point. Ties are worth nothing. If you sweep another player by winning all four hands against them you get 4 extra points.
In the extra card scoring method an extra card is dealt face up after the deal. If both players win two hands, then the player with the higher card of the suit of the face-up odd card in his 2-7 lowball hand wins 1 point. If neither player has a card of that suit in his 2-7 lowball hand it is a push. See the website or help screen to see the full scoring table.
Finally the last scoring method is by hand size. You get the number of points based on the size of the winning hand. For the bottom five card hand and the middle 2-7 lowball hand you get 5 points. For the top hand you get 3 points. The badugi hand is worth 4 points. Surrender is available for 7 points.
Existing Chinese Poker players will find Seventeen Card Chinese Poker to be challenging but fun with lots of additional stragic choices to make. You will never want to go back to just thirdteen cards again!