Outside of Paplu, no card game in India is more widely played than the variation of 3-card Poker known as Teen Patti, which is sometimes referred to as Teen Pathi, Flash or Flush. Throughout most of the 20th century, it was enjoyed mainly in homes as a social game, especially during the holiday period known as Diwali, the five-day festival of lights.
Gradually, Teen Patti became a mainstay of private clubs from Goa to Mumbai, where gambling was conducted secretly. Indian migration spread the popular game throughout South East Asia and beyond. The photo to the right was taken in village Puj, New Delhi India, where a group of villagers were gambling at both Paplu and Teen Patti (Flush as they called it).
In 2010, a Bollywood film called “Teen Patti” was released, a fictional story of a math professor’s attempts to master the card game. Starring Ben Kingsley, the film has generated increased awareness and interest worldwide, as has the introduction of Teen Patti gaming on the Internet.
Legal versions of Teen Patti are now available in India. For example Casino Royale Goa offers Teen Patti but calls it India Flush. Other Goa casinos call it Flash.
Where Can I Play Teen Patti Online?
Teen Patti is available at several free online game sites; you can even play Teen Patti online on your phone. Unfortunately to the best of our knowledge it is not available for real money play online, neither at legal Indian gambling sites, nor at online casinos or internet poker rooms. If you want to play for money you’ll need to make a trip to Goa, find a club, or arrange a get together with friends. If you’re just looking to pass time or refine your skills, the free gaming sites such as those on Facebook are the way to go.
Teen Patti Real Money Alternatives
5 Card Stud: The closest alternative is 5 Card Stud at www.bet365.com and is enjoyed by many Teen Patti fans. The betting in 5 card is slightly different, but it is easy to learn. Hand rankings vary slightly as well which include Straight Run (AKQJ10 suited), 4 of a kind (AAAAx), Full House (AAAKK), Flush (All 5 cards same suit), Normal Run (AKQJ10 off-suit), 3 of kind (AAAxx), Pair (AAxxx) and High-card.
In 5 card stud, players play against other players like in teen patti.
3 Card Poker: Another option is 3 card poker offered at online casinos. It is more of a casino variety game where you play against a dealer instead of other players. Like Teen Patti, players play 3 cards trying to make hands from high card to a Straight Flush. In 3 card poker, the straight flush (straight run) is the highest ranked hand, followed by the trio, straight (normal run), flush (colour), pair and high card. You also play against a dealer similar to black jack. It is a fun option for fans of teen patti and poker.
Teen Patti Basics
With only three cards to consider, Teen Patti is an easy game to learn and play. A standard 52-card deck is used. As few as two players can have a game for fun, although wagering typically requires three to eight players, with four to seven being optimum.
Like 3-card Poker or Brag, the object of the game is to show a hand of a higher rank than those held by the other players or to “bluff” through aggressive betting and cause all of the competitors to fold.
The cards rank in order from Ace high to deuce low. The top-ranking hand is three Aces, followed by any other three-of-a-kind known as a “trio,” with three deuces being the lowest of such.
Next in order comes the “straight run,” which is three consecutive cards of the same suit. The highest straight run is the A-2-3, followed by the A-K-Q, K-Q-J, and so on down to 4-3-2. Note that 2-A-K is not considered a run.
The third highest ranking hand is a “normal run.” This is three consecutive cards not of the same suit. Again, the A-2-3 is the highest normal run, followed in order by the others.
Fourth among top hands is the “colour,” which is any three non-consecutive cards of the same suit. When two colours are compared, the one containing the highest card wins. If the high cards are equal, the second highest cards are compared, etc. The highest colour is the A-K-J, while the lowest is the 5-3-2.
The fifth highest hand is a “pair” or “double,” consisting of two cards of the same rank. When two pairs are compared, the one containing the higher cards wins. If they are equal, the odd cards are compared. The highest pair is the A-A-K, while the lowest is the 3-2-2.
Lastly comes the “high card” hand, with no pair, colour or run. To compare two high card hands, the highest ranking cards are considered first, then the second highest, and then the lowest. The top high card hand is the A-K-J, while the lowest is the 5-3-2.
Teen Patti Betting and Play
Each hand of Teen Patti begins with players placing a minimum stake—the “boot” or “ante”—in the centre of the table to form a collection of money known as the “pot.” The initial dealer, who is chosen from among the players at random prior to the start of the game, then deals out the cards face down, one by one, in a anticlockwise rotation until each player has three cards.
In most versions of Teen Patti, an additional stake is required prior to play called the “blind.” It is a forced bet that must be made by the dealer, equal to half the original boot. Some versions force the blind on the player who goes after the dealer, while others force it on two players, a “small blind” equal to half the boot and a “big blind” equal to the boot. The purpose is to ensure that a betting round will ensue.
Teen Patti betting differs greatly from other Poker variations in several ways. Once the antes have been made and the cards are dealt, players must decide whether to play their hands “seen” or “blind.” Those who wish to play “seen” may look at their three cards before betting. Those who play blind may not look at their cards, but they only need to wager half as much when they bet.
The player to the immediate left of the blind goes first, folding or adding a bet called “chaal” to the pot. The chaal wager must be at least equal to the previous bet (initially, the blind) or increase it by a multiple of two (2X, 4X, 6X, etc.). In turn, each succeeding player gets the same option to fold or add chaal.
The minimum bet to stay in the game is always an amount equal to the preceding chaal, not just the amount of the increase from the previous bet. In other words, if Player A wagers two units and everyone folds except Player B who wagers four, then Player A must wager at least four units to remain in the game, not just two.
In this respect, blind players have a slight advantage because they only need to wager half as much. However, a blind player may choose to become a seen player at any time, whenever it is his/her turn to bet. Wagering must continue until all but one player remains, the winner by default, or else two players are left and a showdown occurs.
To force the showdown, a seen player must pay for “show”—a final bet equal to 2X or 4X the previous chaal, which the other remaining player does not have to match. Blind players are not permitted to ask for show.
The hands are finally compared and the winner collects everything in the pot. However, if the two hands are equal, the player who did not pay for show wins. Then the game begins anew, with the winner of the hand becoming the next dealer.
In clubs, casinos and online versions of Teen Patti, the house may serve as the permanent dealer, deducting a small commission called the “rake” from each pot. Friendly games of Teen Patti often involve “sideshow” bets, too, in which a seen player may make a private wager with the immediately preceding seen player for a separate showdown that does not involve the other players or the pot. This does however benefit the other players because the person with the lower hand in a sideshow must immediately fold.