How to Play Pai Gow Poker?

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You must be aware of the game called Domino. This is the same tile-based game, the same used in performing many creative activities. Not coincidentally, there are many variations of poker that also starts with the same idea. In America, they have their own form of poker based on Domino, called Pai Gow Poker. The game has been derived from a Chinese version of domino called Pai Gow. To learn the same and play it, you will need to know the rules first, and this is what we have compiled here.

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First, let us introduce to you some other famous names and nicknames of this game. This is also known as Double-Hand Poker. Pai Gow is also considered as a combination of 7-card stud and the domino game. The story of its origin goes back to the early 1980s, around 40 years ago. A guy named Sam Torosian was a casino owner, and he suddenly hit upon the idea of creating an American version of the game. He called it Pai Gow. Over the years this has become a staple diet of all casinos and gamers. This game style was never patented by the owner, and that is how we know it today. You just have one goal here.

  • Make two poker hands.
  • One is a 5-card, others a 2-card.
  • If both your hands beat the dealer, you win.
  • If one hand wins, the other loses, it is a push.
  • If both lose, you lose your bet.

Everything is simple and that is what has made it stand so far in the time machine.

How did Pai Gow Poker grow?

As you just read, the game is all about making pushes, as many as you can, but never losing a bet. It is simpler to win by one hand, actually, but very difficult to win by both. This is where all the tricks and ideas come into the picture.

There is a cool thing about the game. Whether you are playing it in an online casino or offline, you can find yourself doing a lot of things. You can play for quite a while on the same stake. You can move money around the table at ease. It seems that the player is engaged quite brilliantly all the time. This is the motivating characteristic of this poker game. Secondly, as mentioned above, winning by one hand is fairly simple.

This makes the Pai Gow Poker to another reason of existence. The game is a relatively low-risk game. The odds are definitely in winning one hand per deal, and this means you have a low risk of losing. Alternatively, you can interact with your fellow gamers quite well. This game allows one to enjoy and play poker, simultaneously. So, now we know one more reason for its durability.

But, there is more. Let us say, you do not know how to set your hand. What you can do is just turn it face up and ask the dealer. Now, something really cool would happen. The dealer will tell you exactly how the house will set it or would set it and there you know what to do. Things are relatively simple. It is simple to understand, simple to follow, and low risk. These were the brilliance behind the Pai Gow Poker that Sam had introduced some 40 years back.

How to Place Your Bet in Pai Gow Poker?

Certainly, having understood what the game is all about, you want to learn the act of placing the right bet. Some things in casinos never change. In Pai Gow Poker too, the game shall begin with a player placing a bet even before receiving any cards. This will remain unchanged for the current hand. Again, never try to go beyond the range of that table. Each table has a minimum and maximum range for placing bets. The bet once placed is done for the entire duration of the hand.

There are some exceptions. In some casinos or some tables of the same Pai Gow Poker, you can make additional bets. Though they are called “bonus bets”. So, at some tables, you can place a bonus bet whether you will make a “premium hand” or not. Mostly that will be 3-of-a-kind or higher. Here is something to consider though. Regardless of whether you win your main bet or not, the higher is the premium hand, the more the casino will pay out to you.

There are several tips and tricks that the House will employ to make you lose your main bet. Over the long duration, it can become extremely difficult and you will end up losing a huge amount too over the bonus premium hand.

How do You Set Your Hand?

Before moving to something else, let us introduce to you the basic formation of a hand. It is important to know this, now that we have mentioned this thing over and over again. The basic strategy in making your hand in the game is not that simple.

First things first, you do not want to lose money. That means you must try your best to have one hand at least better than that of the dealer. What you are supposed to do is try to make your strongest possible two-card hand on one side, without sacrificing the other five-card hand. If you can split your cards in this way, there is a great chance of decreasing the chances that you lose. And, making your 2-card the strongest is far simpler than making your 5-card hand the big deal. So, go for that right away.

But, we will also mention an exception here. Consider this not an exception really, but a fact that can be easy to ignore. If you can build a perfect straight 5-card hand that means there is no way one can beat you at this hand, which means that it is almost as if you will win. The next thing is to have any 2-card because you can free-roll on that hand. So, it is up to the player, if he or she wants to play safe and risk-free or take the risk of losing everything. That is why it is called Pai Gow Poker.

What are the Pai Gow Poker Dealer Rules?

It is a standard that every casino practices. And, they cannot change it. This also refers to a line added above which tells you to turn your card face up and the house will tell its strategy. So, the “House-Way” is the procedure that the dealer in the casino would follow to set up the two hands of the card. This will certainly vary from one to another casino. But, it is nothing secret. You can check with your local casino to understand their method.

How will You Find the Winning Hand?

In the Pai Gow Poker game, it is all about the winning hand. If you can recognize it, you can do something about it too. Here are some rules to remember.

Once all hands are set, you can compare your had to that of the dealer

  • If both your hands are better than the dealer, you make a 1:1 on your bet.
  • If just one of your hands is better, it is a push.
  • If both are worse, you have lost your bet.

Now, if you are wondering the case of a tie. As you can imagine a tie means the dealer wins. This is where you can see the business side of the poker game.

The Big Deal of the Game

Here is a description of what will happen at the table. After all the bets have been placed, then each of the 6 players and one dealer, seven of them will receive 7 cards from the deck of 53. It includes the joker too. The rule says that even if the seats are unfilled, the dealer will give out 7 cards to each of the seats. The number 6 has been followed for a long time and is deemed standard. So, the cards you receive are all face down. After 7 cards are dealt out, 4 remain as a pile. Once the dealer has picked up an unused card, the players can set their two hands.

How do You Arrange a Poker Hand in Pai Gow?

So, setting the first time and arranging your cards are not the same. Arranging means you have to arrange your cards into two hands, one 5-card, and one 2-card. They are also known as back and front hand, respectively. The bigger 5-card is called the backhand, and the smaller one is called the front.

Here is a rule to recall. The front hand can only be two higher cards or a pair. Other formations are not allowed.

What is the Use of a Joker in Pai Gow Poker?

This is a great thing to understand since we had mentioned it above. The joker is actually a powerful card. If you have it, you have a new life kind of situation. It means, if you have been dealt a joker by the dealer, you can use it, substitute it and take advantage of it.

There are three things that you can do.

  • You can take any card you wish to complete a straight.
  • You can take any suit to complete a flush.
  • Else, the joker is always an Ace.

The thing to consider here is that knowing the cards and their formation is important. But, knowing that joker is useful is a boon. Since many casino games do not use a joker, this is an ignored fact. Well, before we miss, if you had made a front hand using the joker, it stands for an Ace. The rule that a joker is always an Ace holds here.

How to Avoid Fouling Your Hand?

In the above lines, we had asked you to make the strongest 2-card first, but we also said without outranking the 5-card. At any point in the game, the 5-card must always be higher and better in rank than the 2-card. If you end up making, deliberately or not, the opposite, you lose your bet too.

So, the situation when your front hand has outranked the backhand is called “fouling your hand”. This means you have lost your bet.

Written by Shane Pickrell

Shane PickrellShane Pickrell is a seasoned expert in the world of online gambling, with a profound passion for enhancing the gaming experience through his deep knowledge of online live dealer games. With over a decade of involvement in the industry, Shane has established himself as a respected authority on the intricacies of live dealer gaming and its dynamic impact on the gambling landscape.

Shane’s journey into the realm of online gambling was paved with a solid educational foundation. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from a prestigious university in the United States. His academic pursuits not only honed his analytical skills but also provided him with a well-rounded understanding of the business and technological aspects of the online gaming industry.

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