Also known as Struggle Against the Landlord, Dou Dizhu is a well-known card game played in China. In fact, it is a popular gambling game in the country with huge rewards. So if you want to know how to play Dou Dizhu, read on.
How to Play Dou Dizhu
Dou Dizhu is a card game played by three players. It has several variations that use either one or two decks of cards. Remember that regardless of what version you play, there are always two teams: the landlord (one player) and the workers (two players). The workers, as usual, must work hand in hand to compete against a landlord following a bridge-style method of gaming.
Preparing for Dou Dizhu
You need to prepare one deck of cards (depending on the version you want to play). The deck of cards must include Jokers that must be one black and one red.
- Card suits bear no importance in playing Dou Dizhu.
- Disposal of useless cards is possible by using them as Singles or as Singles to add to an existing combination such as Triple Run (more on this later) plus the Single.
- Players with excellent hands must have high bids in order to get the position of the landlord.
- It is important for workers to cooperate to defeat the landlord.
Playing Dou Dizhu
The order of the cards are as follows (from lowest to highest): 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King, Ace, 2, Black Joker, Red Joker. For the card combinations:
Single – this could be any card
Double – this could be any kind or two of a kind
Triple – three of a kind
Triple + Single – consists of a three of a kind plus any card
Full House – similar to poker, consists of a Triple plus a Double
Run – similar to a straight in poker or except Aces and 2s
Double Run or Sisters – consists of three Doubles in a row or a pair of 4s, a pair of 5s, and a pair of 6s.
Triple Run – consists of two or more Triples in a row. It can be three 4s and three 5s, for instance.
Triple Run + Single – consists of two or more Triple in a row plus any single card.
Quadruple + 2 Single – consists of a four of a kind plus any two cards.
Quadruple + 2 Doubles – consists of a four of a kind plus any two pairs.
Bomb – consists of four of a kind. This beats every combination except for a Nuke.
Nuke – consists of both Jokers. This beats every possible combination.
Starting the Game
After shuffling the cards, the dealer will give out 17 cards for each player. The three extra cards will remain on the table. After all the players have their cards, it is time to determine who will become the landlord and who among the players will be the workers. This is done by looking at the cards and auctioning off the spot. Players cannot show their cards to other players.
Depending on their hands, the players will start bidding one, two, or three with one being the lowest hand and three for the good hand. Players can also choose to pass. The player with the higher bid almost always becomes the landlord. Note that this also increases the chance of losing more money but it could mean more earnings depending on how well you play. A player who passes always have the lowest risk. If all players pass, the cards are then reshuffled and dealt again.
To know which among the players will be the first to bid, the dealer must turn over a card and look at the number then counts off each player and the player where the count stop becomes the first player to bid. For example, the face-up card shows a five, player two will start the bidding. The one with the highest bid becomes the landlord and receives the last three cards left on the table and turns them face up. Even though the cards are now face up, they are still part of the landlord’s hand.
The landlord gets to go first. He must place a combination of cards on the table. Following a counter-clockwise direction, the next player must answer the landlord’s card combination with the same combination type with a higher value.
A round of game ends when two players in a row choose to pass. The winner is the last person to place a combination down on the table and will be the one to start the next round.
The game ensues until a player uses up all the cards. If the landlord ends up winning the round, both workers must pay. Even if only one of the workers wins, the landlord must pay both workers.
Payout for Dou Dizhu
The total amount payable to the winner depends on the bid amount before the start of the game and who wins. The use of a Nuke or Bomb also affects the payout.
Firstly, the bid value is equal to the corresponding number of points. For instance, the high bid was three and the landlord wins, the landlord will receive three points from each worker. If the high bid was two and one of the workers win, each worker will receive two points.
If a Bomb or Nuke was used during the game, then each score is doubled. For instance, if one bomb and one nuke were played, the points earned during the bid is multiplied by two. So if the landlord wins three points, the payout should be equal to 27 points from each worker.
Moreover, points become double as well if the landlord wins by placing the combination on the table without any succeeding combinations from the workers.
Strategies for Playing Dou Dizhou
One of the most effective strategies of playing Dou Dizhu is by making a pass even if there is a combination with greater value than the one placed before. This is to ensure that they can use this combination for a higher one later on.
Playing Dou Dizhu Online
Dou Dizhu is available for online play using a Flash player. Some online casinos catering to Chinese locals offer this game as one of their more popular card games.