Teen Patti is an Asian game that has its roots in places like Bangladesh, Nepal, India and Sri Lanka, but is now starting to make its way to Western shores, and is even popping up in live casino lobbies at some online casinos.
It is not dissimilar to 3 card poker, so despite the name, there may well be a lot in Teen Patti that you recognise.
In fact, it is thought that the game developed from 3 Card Brag, presumably when the English were over in India back in the days when colonising other countries was something of a national hobby.
Nevertheless, Teen Patti is extremely popular in casinos in India where a dealer would run the game but not take part (there are even National competitions), while in live casinos the dealer is the player’s opponent, so in effect there are two different games to learn about here.
We will focus on the real-life version first since this is the game the live casino version was developed from.
The Rules of Playing Teen Patti
Using a single deck of 52 cards, Teen Patti is best played with between 3 and 7 players, assuming you are playing in person.
There are online versions that we will cover later on, but for now, we will focus on the game as it would be played between friends; if you ever found it in a casino it may be slightly different.
It’s a game where strategy can be employed as well as bluffing, and although minimum and maximum stakes put boundaries around exactly how much can be bet at any one time, the way in which this is controlled means stakes can escalate quickly.
Aces are high in Teen Patti.
In terms of who acts as the dealer and how often/in which direction the dealer changes, this can be arranged however you and your fellow players prefer.
In a casino there will be a dealer whose sole job is to run the practicalities of the game, but in a game with friends one of the players will have to do it.
The typical way is for each player to take a turn and for the player on the dealer’s left to be next in line, but this is not set in stone and will not impact the game.
Before the deal even takes place though, each player must put in an ante bet for a pre-decided amount.
This is how the pot is started so that there is something to play for right from the off.
Once everyone has put in, the cards can be dealt.
One the cards have been dealt, the players have 2 choices as to how they want to continue:
This refers to whether or not the players look at their cards before they continue. However, if a player chooses to play blind, they can change their mind later if they wish to.
Of course, a player can also fold, but it would not make sense to do this until you had seen your cards, so folding would only take place once the decision to play seen or blind had been made.
The player to the dealer’s left goes first, and assuming they don’t want to fold, they must make a bet to stay in the round.
The amount they bet is dictated by whether they are a ‘seen’ player, or a ‘blind’ player, but the minimum and maximum amounts are in the table below:
If a seen player raises the bet to 4x the ante, the new minimum stake becomes 2x the ante for all blind players, and 4x for all seen players. Most often bet sizes go up in multiples of 2 since the blind players bet half of what the seen players bet, so odd numbers don’t really work.
The betting keeps going round until only two players are left in the round, so in effect, to win the hand you need to muscle or bluff everyone else out of it.
The show is when both players turn over their cards to find out who is the winner.
If both of the final two players are seen, then either of them can end the betting by paying 2x the current stake and calling for a ‘show’, ending the round.
However, if one of the players is still blind, then they may call for a show at the cost of 1x the current stake, but the seen player cannot.
The betting round simply continues until the blind players calls for a show, becomes seen, or one of them folds.
Assuming both players eventually show their hands, the winner is decided by the hand rankings as follows:
- Straight Flush
- High Card
A trio is obviously just the same as 3 of a kind, and with all hands the highest version of that hand will win if both players have the same hand ranking; so a flush with Ace, 10, 8 will beat a flush with King, 10, 8, for example, because Ace is higher than a King.
However, when it comes to a Straight Flush and a Flush, the best hand is actually Ace, 2, 3 before the ranking reverts back to normal (so Ace, King, Queen would be the next highest-ranking hand).
If the hands are equal at the show, then the player who did not pay for the show wins the pot, adding insult to injury.
The Side Show
One extra rule exists that enables players to get rid of each other towards the end of a round.
If there are only 3 players left in a round and the pot is piling up but no-one is backing down, then assuming all 3 players are seen, one of them could ask for a ‘side show’.
To do this, a player must bet the minimum amount and then immediately make the request, but it can only be made to the player who went before them, so the player on their right.
The player can accept or refuse, but if they accept, then both players privately show their hands, and the player with the lowest hand must immediately fold.
If both players have equal hands, then the player who requested the side show must fold.
If the side show is refused, then betting carries on as normal.
Example Game of Teen Patti
Hopefully you now have a pretty solid grasp of how Teen Patti works, but let’s run through an example round to help the information bed in.
This is a game with 5 players, using a single poker chip as the ante.
This means the minimum blind bet is 1 chip, the maximum blind bet is 2 chips, the minimum seen bet is 2 chips, and the maximum seen bet is 4 chips.
Everyone has put in their ante and the cards have been dealt.
Each player must now decide whether to play blind or seen, which is represented in the images by the cards either remaining face down for blind players, or face up for seen players.
Remember though, this is just to help us visually, in a real game no one would be able to see each other’s cards.
We can see which player is the dealer, so the player on their left is first to bet. Player 1 has decided to play blind for now, so puts in 1 chip to stay in the game.
Player 2 has also decided to play blind and does the same.
Player 3 chose to look at their cards but didn’t like what they saw, and folded rather than waste any of their chips in this round.
Players 4 and 5 have also chosen to look at their cards but want to play on, so they both bet the minimum for a seen player of 2 chips each.
The pot is now starting to build and Player 1 can stay in the game cheaply by simply adding another chip, however, Player 2 is looking to scare people off so raises the bet to 2 chips. Remember, they are still playing blind so this is the maximum they can bet at this point.
The new stake is now 2 chips, and as they have both looked at their cards, Players 4 and 5 must bet twice the stake amount to stay in the game.
Player 4 therefore adds 4 chips to the pot, but Player 5 is either very confident with their hand or they want to force the blind players to fold or look at their cards, and so raises to the maximum they can bet, which is 4x the stake. Remember, the stake is now 2 chips, so Player 5 adds 8 chips to the pot.
Because of Player 5’s raise, the minimum bet for a blind player is now 4 chips (2x the stake).
This is enough to make Player 1 fold, but Player 2 isn’t ready to give in just yet.
They decide to look at their cards and become a seen player.
Now, all remaining players are seen, so there is no ‘cheap’ way to stay in the game, meaning Player 2 also has to cough up a minimum of 8 chips to stay in the game, which they do.
Player 4 decides that the other two probably have better cards due to their aggressive raising, and folds.
Now there are just two players left, so one of them can call for a show at any point.
However, if they are very confident, they could also try to extract more chips from the opposition player before they do this.
Player 5 bets the current minimum of 8 chips, and Player 2 matches that.
It seems like neither are willing to raise any further, so Player 5 throws in another 8 chips and asks for a show.
Player 2 got incredibly lucky with a trio, beating Player 5’s straight, and takes the pot.
Player 5 was the dealer on that round, so Player 1 would be the new dealer for the next round, and once everyone had put in the ante and the cards were dealt, Player 2 would be first to bet.
*We also learned that we need to buy more chips for these photographed example games!
It’s actually a completely different game online, as there is none of the ability to bluff or raise the stakes, and even blind betting is pretty pointless – where this is even an option, it actually lowers the RTP.
In order to make the game playable and profitable though, it needed to be adapted so that many players could play with the same hand.
Therefore, instead of playing against other players, live casino Teen Patti players are up against the dealer. However, while hundreds of people could all be playing the same hand, the stake you choose for your ante is individual to you.
The player’s cards are dealt face up after the ante, and you have 12 seconds to decide whether to play or not.
If you like the hand and want to play, you must place another bet equal to the ante, if not, you simply do nothing and this is the same as folding.
From there, the dealer’s cards are revealed and the winner is declared, before a new game begins.
Due to the changes to the live casino game, players are given set payouts for the hands they create rather than adding more and more chips to a central pot.
It can get a bit confusing with the payouts, but essentially, your ante and your play bet both pay out separately and under slightly different conditions.
In live casino Teen Patti, the dealer must ‘qualify’ in order for you to officially beat them, so they need a Queen or higher in their hand for the ‘play’ bet to pay out; if they do qualify and you beat them, then your play bet pays out at 1:1 as does your ante bet.
If the dealer does not qualify, then so long as you have chosen to play your ante bet is still paid out at 1:1 regardless of your hand, but the play bet is a push.
Obviously, if the dealer qualifies and you lose then both the ante and the play bets are lost, while a tie will mean both bets are a push.
However, if you beat a qualifying dealer with a particularly good hand, then the payouts for the play bet get a bonus.
The bonus play bet payouts may not always be the same as the table below, it depends which game developer you use, but the biggest game providers will pay out very similarly if not exactly as follows:
These are on top of the 1:1 payouts you would already be getting, so the bonus of 1:1 on a straight would be added to the 1:1 on the play bet, making it a 2:1 payout on the play bet overall, as well as a 1:1 on the ante.
As you can see, winning with a flush, pair or high card just gives you a regular 1:1 payout with no additional bonus payout.
There are often side bets associated with live casino versions of Teen Patti, most commonly Pairs Plus and the Mega Bonus or 6 Card Bonus.
Pairs Plus will pay out on mini poker hands made from your own three cards, so if you got a flush you would be rewarded for it at around 4:1 with Pairs Plus, whereas the base game treats it as a regular win and just pays out 1:1.
Payouts for this can be as high as 200:1.
The 6 Card Bonus or Mega Bonus takes into account both your cards and the dealer’s cards, and pays out when traditional poker hands can be formed.
Payouts start around 7:1 for 3 of a kind and rocket all the way up to around 1,000:1 for a Royal Flush.
Of course, any payouts won from these side bets are paid out on top of the wins from your ante and play bets.
These side bets are lower value bets though, so while the payouts can be much much higher than in the base game, there is a very good reason for that.