Here are my abbreviated teen patti rules, since it turns out a lot of people don't automatically know it. More people should move to Delhi where this stuff is taught in your cradle.
1) Everyone gets three cards. (Not dealing with the variation version here, just straight up.)
2) You can win in a number of ways, but mostly by bluffing your way to the end. Unlike me, who never bets till I have good cards, which is a tell that most people figure out after round five. Oh well, I still won. Take that!
3) The lowest way to win is with a "tops" or a high card. Play with a face.
4) Then there's a pair, two of the same kind.
5) Then there's an impure sequence: 6, 7, 8 for example, but of different suits.
6) Then there's a pure sequence: same as above, but with the same suit.
7) And then there's a trail--three of the same card. An ace trail is as high as you can get, and if you get dealt this (VERY RARE) everyone has to give you a pre-stipulated amount of "luck money".
And that's pretty much it. No complexities, like poker, making it an easier game to play when you're drunk. (Unless I've left something out, in which case please add in the comments. As I'm sure you will anyway.)
I stopped playing cards during Diwali around the same time that the stakes started to go up in all the cards parties I attended. I'd go to a house party and wind up Rs 2,000 poorer, and that's only because I stopped playing after I lost that much. People wind up chucking their car keys in the middle of the table, and legend has it that Priya Cinema was won during a game of teen patti. Of course, there's no legal way to claim your winnings, but considering some people attend Diwali parties with briefcases full of money, I'm guessing legalities aren't really a consideration.
Back in the day, one of the best cards parties I attended was in college, at the house of a classmate. She had several games going on, and for the poorer among us, a table with Rs 1 and Rs 2 stakes. No one could bet higher than Rs 10. I cleaned up that night, even with my paltry winnings. People used to have two tables a lot, and then that practice slowly seemed to fade away. (For my own party in Bombay, we had Rs 5 and Rs 10 stakes, Rs 100 buy in, and no bets higher than Rs 50. Everyone--even people who lost--left without feeling bereft.)
Then it became less about the cards (which I couldn't afford anyway, not with no-cap tables, and people playing a round betting as high as Rs 5,000 on a Rs 100 game) and more about the socialising. You went for the kebabs and the chat. Someone else was always not into it and not playing. Once, when I lost all my money, I sat next to an ex boyfriend, who very kindly loaned me some more and I won it all back plus more. (But I didn't feel okay about keeping it, so I think I gave it all back? Or something.) It made me a bit pissed off though, people casually tossing large sums of money on the table. And OBVIOUSLY, everyone took it super seriously, so it became less about chilling with your friends and more this activity, where everyone got this serious, strained look and you bet like you were bartering away your life savings. And then someone always got very angry and had to be placated. All sorts of superstitions arose from then as well, like:
What I hope are the last few bombs are going off outside, and another Diwali is over. With it, another lot of card games too till next year. I'm sure somewhere in this city, in quite a few homes, some dude is punching a wall because he lost all his money. Some dude is buying an iPhone 5 because he won another dude's money. We're taking it as a portent that Lakshmi favours those who win (and I could do with some of that favouring!)
Not all parties are the same though, I have to add as a caveat towards the end. Some are just what they promise to be: a fun way to spend time with your friends and family. Food, drinks, sweets. Some cards, but that's not the highlight of the evening.
Happy Winter! Happy Festive Season! Welcome to Delhi!