Pai Gow Poker can allow for up to seven players to play on each table and there is a full 52 card deck used with an added joker. The joker can be used only as an ace or to assist you in completing straights, flushes and straight flushes. Before every hand you’ll need to place a wager on that hand and your goal is to beat the dealer and not the other players on your table. The house always has the advantage and in this casino game the house advantage is found in the form of ties. If your hand ties the dealers hand then they win and you lose which is where the house gets their advantage in the hand.
Once every player has placed their wager for the hand the dealer will deal every player seven cards. Each player will be able to look at their hand and make two separate hands, one with two cards and one with five cards. The value of your hand is the same as in poker except a straight of A-2-3-4-5 is the second highest straight rather then being the lowest possible straight. For your two-card hand the best hand is obviously a pair and a pair beats any unmatched cards.
When you do split up your seven cards into two different hands you must not say anything about how you split your cards up to any of the other players. You also got to make sure that your five-card hand is better then your two-card hand. So if you have a pair in your two-card hand then you need to ensure that you have at least a higher pair in your five-card hand.
Once every player is done with organizing their hands into two hands the dealer will flip their cards over and start making their two hands in front of you. At this point you will not be aloud to touch your cards anymore until you’re showing it for the final time. Once the dealer is done making their two hands all the players flip over their hands and start seeing who wins against the dealer.
If you win both hands you win the amount that you staked.
If you win one hand and the dealer wins one hand it’s called a push.
If the dealer wins both hands then you lose the amount you bet on that hand.
When you tie the hand the dealer automatically wins so this means that if you tie one hand and lose the other hand the amount you bet will be lost.
The odds of at least breaking even and pushing each hand is fairly good in Pai Gow, which makes it a popular poker game. It’s very easy to play as long as you know the rankings for each poker hand, so make sure that you become familiar with those. When making your hands you want to get the highest possible pair in your two-card hand without breaking the rules so that you have a chance of breaking even at worst. When you get good hands you’ll be able to win both hands and this is where the money is made.
Based on the ancient Chinese domino game sharing the same name, Pai Gow poker is a challenging, yet initially complex poker variant enjoyed at casinos worldwide and through most online casinos. The object of the game is to construct two hands, one five card hand and one two card hand both with the intention of beating the dealer’s hands. If you beat both the dealers’ hands you win even money minus a commission. If one of your hands wins and one loses, the result is a push. Pai Gow is a fairly reasonable game to play at the casino because the house edge is pretty small. It can range from two to three percent with good play, keep in mind though, it takes a lot of practice and knowledge of the game to play at an optimal level. While there is no way to discuss all the strategy considerations for Pai Gow Poker in one article, we will give you some pointers to make things easier when you first start playing.
After you are dealt seven cards, it is time to construct your two hands. There is a front hand and a back hand. The back hand is your five card hand and it must be more powerful than your front, two card hand. If your back hand is not more powerful than your front hand then you foul and forfeit your bet. Listed below we have a chart that provides a good strategy for beginning players. On the left it shows what you have been dealt in your seven card hand, and then it shows you what to do for both your two and five card hand to have the best chances of winning:
|You have been dealt||Make your five card hand||Make your two card hand|
|High card||Your highest card||Your second and third highest card|
|One pair||Your pair||Your next two highest cards|
|Two pair^||One of your pairs||The other pair|
|Three pair||Your second and third highest pair||Your highest pair|
|Three of a kind*||Your three of a kind||Your second and third highest cards|
|Straight (5, 6 or 7 cards)||Your lowest cards needed to make the straight||Your remaining highest cards|
* If you hold three aces, put a pair of aces in your five card hand and one ace in your two card hand
^ If you hold a pair of aces, put the aces in your five card hand
As you can see the amount of combinations and possibilities in Pai Gow poker are quite complex and it will certainly take some time and practice to learn to see the patterns that develop and just how each hand should be distributed.
Hands like flushes and four of a kind get a tad more complex in Pai Gow poker. Note that a full house is rather simple to play. Put your pair in the two card hand and your three of a kind in the five card hand. As for four of a kind, the general strategy is to split them between the two hands if they are jacks or higher and to keep them together if they are sixes or below. With sevens through tens you want to keep them in your five card hand if you can put an ace or a king in the two card hand. If you can’t, it is best to split them.