How to play Pai Gow Poker
Pai Gow Poker is one of the most interesting online casino card games to try. As you can guess, this game uses cards, but its name comes from a classic Chinese dominos game. This poker game was created back in 1985 by Sam Torosian, but sadly he was misinformed about patent laws regarding card games, so he never made money off his invention.
While this is a relatively new game, it has enjoyed so much success thanks to the opportunity for big hands, side wagers, and a semi-wild joker card. Now that online gambling has taken over, this game has continued to grow in fame as virtual casinos now feature it.
If you have read a WeGamble casino review where this game was mentioned, then you may want to learn how to play Pai Gow Poker. This article has got you covered on how to get started, play, and know the rules.
The card game is played using a standard set of 52 cards plus a single joker. The joker here isn’t always wild, but it can function as an ace and can be used to complete any of these: flush, royal flush, straight, or straight flush.
Up to seven players at a time can enjoy a game of Pai Gow Poker. Each player is playing against the dealer (or banker). At an online casino, the house is almost always the banker. However, in land-based casinos, the role of the banker can sometimes be rotated amongst players, although the house dealer will handle card distribution. In such instances, the dealer will also play a hand.
The Basics of Pai Gow Poker
Each player starts by making a bet that is at least the table’s minimum amount. Once this happens, the dealer and players each get seven cards. The player will now arrange his cards into a two-card hand (“low hand”) and a five-card hand (“high hand”). The high hand always has a superior poker value compared to the low hand.
The standard poker rankings are the same used throughout this game. The only exception here is that a straight is comprised of A2345, and it is considered the second-best straight in Pai Gow. This rule may not be in place in certain casinos, so be sure to check before you start playing.
The best possible ranking for the low hand in this game is a pair. Otherwise, the strength will be determined by the value of each card.
Once every player has set their hands, the banker will reveal his cards and begin to set his hand. Casino employees will always arrange their cards following a predetermined set of rules called the “house way.”
Next, the dealer will compare his hand against that of each player, beginning with the high hand. If the player is lucky enough to win both hands, they get an even money payout, and a 5% commission is taken out for the dealer or banker. If a player ties or loses on both hands, then the house gets their entire bet. If the player ties one and wins one, then their wager will be considered a push.
Pai Gow Strategy Made Simple
There are so many Pai Gow poker strategies scattered across the web, and some are simpler than others. In this section, a few basic tips can help you play better and improve your winning chances without stressing too much.
- If you notice that your hand is poor with no pairs, flushes, or straights, make sure that your best card is in the high hand. The next best two cards must be allotted to your low hand.
- If you are holding two pairs, and the highest pair contains jacks through aces, you must split the pairs by adding the best one in your high hand and the other in your low hand. There is an exception to this rule, and it occurs when your second pair is deuces. If this happens, you should play the two pairs together in your high hand, and you can move the two highest remaining cards to your low hand.
- If you are holding two pairs of tens through deuces, proceed to split them unless you also have an ace. If this occurs, you should play the two pairs in your high hand together with the ace and move your next highest card to your low hand.
- If you are holding three pairs, you should move the highest pair into your low hand.
- If there is a three-of-a-kind, you can play them together if they are not aces. If there are aces, move one ace to the lower hand and leave a pair of aces in the high hand. Also, move the next highest card you have into the low hand.
- If there are four-of-a-kind face cards or aces, then always split them. There is an exception here when you also hold another pair. In this case, you can leave it in the low hand instead.
- If you are holding a four-of-a-kind that is comprised of sevens through tens, you can split them. There is an exception when you have an ace or better. In such a case, keep all four cards in the high hand, and you can move the others to the low hand.
- If your four-of-a-kind comprises sixes or lower, then the cards should always be kept together.
- If you have a full house, the pair must be moved into the low hand. There is an exception when you hold an extra pair. In this case, the highest pair should be used in the low hand.
- If you have a flush or straight, you should add it to the high hand.
- If you have five-of-a-kind, always split them. The exception is if you also hold a pair of kings. Under these circumstances, you can move the pair of kings to your low hand.
There is no fool-proof strategy for playing Pai Gow Poker, but knowing how the game works and mistakes to avoid can take you far.
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