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Pai Gow Poker – Learn how to play

It is a unique game which is considered to be a more advanced version of Chinese dominoes and seven-card caribbean stud poker. With a twist of rules that binds most games, it is a challenge and a thrill you should not pass. It is offered in most casinos nowadays as proof of its growing popularity the world over. Whether an expert or beginner, playing it and doing well is what turns the opportunity into money. Like all forms of competition, practice makes perfect. With a bit of understanding about the games, any player can turn from a beginner to a seasoned champion.

How To Play Pai Gow Poker Like A Pro

It has a variance in the game detail, depending on the platform you choose. Even though playing it online is just as interesting, there is a difference between the online version of the game and the one in land-based casinos. It is played on an oval table which is more similar to a Blackjack table than a Poker one. A classic form of the game allows for seven slots on the table, with one of those exclusively reserved for the dealer. The dealer is the primary opponent and the objective of the game is to topple the dealer’s odds to win.

The game is played with a deck of 52 cards plus a joker, with the aim being to form two hands. They both have to be stronger than the dealer’s hand. Otherwise, the house wins, and you lose. The game odds are always in the dealer’s favour so betting wisely and reading how the game is going, has an influence on the overall outcome. A roll of the dice is the second act of the game to determine who gets their cards dealt first after the bets have been initially placed. Just like in the other  games, the initial bet in the game is called an ‘ante.’

After the dice roll determines the first person to whom the cards should be dealt, the dealer gives seven cards to each player. An interesting fact about it regardless of any empty seats at the table, cards will be dealt out to the respective seating positions. If nobody has occupied the slots, they are then removed. After the players have settled down with the cards, they are then split into two hands, which are the front and back hands. The back consists of five cards, while the front contains just two cards. In the land-based casinos, the opponents are the other players and the dealer. In the online version, the only opponent is the dealer.

  • A dice-roll by the dealer determines the first person to deal to
  • An initial bet ‘ante’ must be placed at the start of the game
  • Each player receives seven cards
  • The board is oval with seven spots including the dealer position

Pai Gow Poker Rules

The rules of the game are the same for both online and land-based casinos during play. The only thing factored out is that in the online version, there are no opponents except the dealer. Once the game starts, an initial wager must be placed on the betting spot. Seven cards are dealt and the player is required to split them into two hands. In the strategies for playing, an unspoken rule is that the five card hand should always outrank the two card hand. The Poker bets fluctuate depending solely on these two hands. Whenever both of the player’s hands are compared, and the outcome is that both the hands are superior to the dealer’s, then the player walks away with the money. When only one hand of the player is better than the dealer’s as he plays the game, it results in a tie known as a ‘push’. It means that the player wins nothing.

Pai Gow Poker Strategies

Applying a winning Poker strategy is key to tilting the game odds in your favour. The house always has the upper hand, no matter how small, in all casino games. Implementing the strategies and skills available on any Poker guide reportedly slashes down the house advantage by 2.84%. The first point of note is to very carefully and strategically arrange your hands.  After that, a wise strategic move would be to arrange the highest cards in the low hand.

In the game, if among all the seven cards dealt, there exists a pair, it is always a smart move to place it in the back hand. If you have two pairs, the higher pair would be best suited on the back hand, while the lower one would be ideal in the forward hand. In the case of three pairs being available, the highest pair should be in the first hand while the two lower pairs would slot in the back hand. If you land the only joker in the game, you can use it to make up a pair.

  • Use the joker to complete a straight flush
  • If you have a pair, place it in the back hand

Different Types Of Pai Gow Poker

There are only two versionsof game, the one played in land-based casinos and the online version. Both share a majority of the rules, but the gameplay is slightly different. Depending on the type of strategies employed, these differences can have a significant impact on the game outcome. If the winning strategy involves reading the game and the opponents before making a move, then in the online version it is impossible, since all you have is the screen and the dealer. There are no opponents in the online version, unlike the land-based game. The dynamics are such that, in the land-based game, the dealer has divided attention towards the maximum six players at the table. All the players have their attention focused on the prize, which involves beating the dealer, rather than each other. There is also a lack of the banking option, a role that is passed on from one player to another throughout the land based game.


Tips And Tricks For Pai Gow Poker Beginners

Before thrusting yourself into the world of gambling, it is important to master the rules and muster the courage to sit at a table and play for money. Pai Gow Poker is a card game with a small possibility for a player to win. It is almost a game of luck and difficult to put a formidable strategy into place to allow the right moves towards toppling the strong odds. Beginners should learn the rules fully, which are quite basic compared to most card games. Once that is done, they should practice with that knowledge on the free versions available before sitting at the table to place real money.

Glossary Of The Common Words Used

  • House edge – the percentage made by the casino
  • Foul hand – a mistake of making the front hand bigger than the back hand
  • Dragon hand – refers to the empty seats at the table
  • G3 Bonus – a side bet which accumulates into a progressive jackpot if not won
  • Copy hand – when the players hand is the same as the dealer’s

Frequently Asked Questions

What Skills Are Needed To Play Pai Gow Poker?

It is a ‘branch’ of the more traditional  game. It has, however, adopted the rules and the basic framework of Chinese domino games. It does not detract from the Poker games affiliation in any way. It is, therefore, better to learn how to play Poker as it is a much-needed advantage here.

What Is A Proper Amount You Need For Playing Pai Gow Poker?

In playingpit, the finance greatly depends on the version that is chosen. The online version can go to minimums of up to 1.00. Keeping in mind that in most cases, the dealer and the player end up in a push (draw) with no loss, an amount of 50.00 can go a long way. Remember also to set a budget and stick to it.

How Can I Set Up A Pai Gow Poker Games At Home?

To set up a  pai gow game would require a Blackjack table, cards and playing chips. It is also crucial to know who will bank. A relevant point that most people ignore is that if the play is for real money, then it should be in a legally licensed environment.

The Online casino Review is a great site for acquiring information on the trends in the online casino world. It gives a comprehensive breakdown and analysis on games such as Pai Gow Poker. Players can find reviews and game description for all the latest slots too. Furthermore, it acts as a forum for gamblers and casino games enthusiasts to share and exchange ideas that are invaluable for winning.