Everything Beginners Need to Know about Pai Gow Poker
Pai Gow Poker has its roots in China, and the current version of Pai Gow Poker available in land and online casinos is an Americanized version created by Fred Wolf and Sam Torosian.
Instead of the traditional Chinese dominoes, the game uses playing cards. To play a game of Pai Gow Poker, players need a standard deck of 52 playing cards and one joker. As many as six players can play a game of Pai Gow Poker, and the aim of each player is to defeat the house.
How to Play
Playing Pai Gow Poker is incredibly easy. Like all variants of poker, it begins with the placing of a bet, after which each player receives a hand of seven cards and is challenged to create two different poker hands using their seven cards.
- A five-card hand – This hand is called the “bottom hand,” “behind hand,” “high hand,” or “big hand.”
- A two-card hand – This hand is called the “front hand,” “small hand,” “low hand,” “top hand,” or “minor hand.”
The five-card hand must be better than the two-card hand. For example, if a player is dealt a pair of Aces, a three, a five, a seven, a ten, and a joker, he/she must use the Ace pair to create the five-card hand, not the two-card hand. The best two-card hands that players can create are the pairs, especially a pair of Aces.
Once players have created their two hands, they must place their two-card hand in front of the five-card hand.
Learn how to play Pai Gow Poker using the following video
This video has been produced by Winstarcasino
About the Joker
Unfortunately, the Joker does not play his traditional role of the wild in case of Pai Gow Poker. However, players can use a Joker to create a Flush or a Straight. In all other cases, the Joker can only substitute for the Ace.
Who is the Winner?
The hands of each player are now compared with the hands of the banker. To beat the dealer, both the hands created by the player must be better than both the hands created by the dealer. If only one of the hands created by the player is better than the dealer’s hand, the game is considered to be a tie and the player gets back his/her bet amount. Needless to say, if the dealer’s hands are better, the dealer wins the game and the player loses his/her bet amount. If one of the player’s hands is equal to the dealer’s hand, the dealer is considered to be the winner, which is how the casino makes money out of Pai Gow Poker.
Learning the Strategies
Pai Gow Poker is slightly tough as players have to make two different poker hands. However, if players learn and implement some of the following strategies, they can play a better game.
- The players’ goal is to create two strong hands. Each hand should be better than the hand created by the dealer.
- If players’ hands do not have the potential for flushes, straights, and pairs, they must put their best cards in the five-card hand. The next best cards must be used to create the two-card hand and the rest of the cards must be used to create their five-card hand.
- If players get a pair, they must use that pair to create a five-card hand, and the next best cards must be used for the two-card hand. The other three cards must be used to create the five-card hand.
- If players have three pairs, the best pair must be used to create the two-card hand.
- If players have three Aces, they can use two of these Aces to create their five-card hand and the other Ace pair can be placed in the two-card hand.
- The house advantage of Pai Gow Poker is 1.5%. Although it is much lower than that of Roulette and Keno, players will still find themselves losing more often than winning. By implementing some strategies, players can play for a longer time and avoid losing more money.
- If the casino gives players the chance to become the dealer, they must grab the chance.
- On no account should players’ two-card hand be stronger than their five-card hand. If players make this mistake, they might lose both their hands.
- Players should also avoid blowing their entire bankroll on Pai Gow Poker.