How to Play Pai Gow Poker
Developed in 1985, based on the Chinese tile game of Pai Gow, by card club owner Sam Torosian, a man more skilled at card games than legal ones, by all accounts, Pai Gow poker is a more leisurely and low-stakes affair than many other variations of poker. Since all players at the table compete against the dealer’s hand together, it tends to suit players who are looking social card games, rather than those concerned first and foremost with a healthy rate of winnings.
To play, you will need to be familiar with the conventional winning hand variations in poker, with the exception of “the wheel”, or A2345 combination, which in Pai Gow Poker is the second highest of all winning hands. After placing initial bets, each player, as well as the dealer, is dealt seven cards to begin with: a roll of a dice determines the order in which each person is to be dealt. Usually, hands are dealt and then allocated to seats, rather than being given to individual players.
The player then separates his cards into two hands of five and two cards, respectively the High-ranking and Low-ranking cards. The dealer does likewise, usually based on a set of standard house rules. It is this separation that can often result in a win or draw, in which case no bet is collected.
Players then take each have the opportunity to compare these hands against the player dealer. The five high-ranking cards follow standard five card draw pattern, while the two low-ranking cards can only be a pair or nothing, in which case the highest value card wins. In order to beat the dealer, both hands must win; otherwise the round is a “push”, or draw.
Pai Gow Variants
A Pai Gow variation on standard poker is that every player may request to be the Bank: this is usually rotated, but the opportunity can also be refused. In this instance, the player would make and collect all bets with others at the table, while the house would still collect on this, as though the player was playing on its behalf. Another is that since each player competes, in order, against the dealer, not all players may get a chance to play in any given hand, if the bank has already paid out the full amount of its stake, in which case it “does not cover”, and the round ends.
Pai Gow Poker allows for backline betting, where people other than the players may place wagers on each hand: since the highest wager is allowed to determine the setting of the two hands of cards, essentially anyone can buy into the table, or a player may be representing several punters at each turn.
Playing Pai Gow Poker Online
Pai Gow Poker is probably the best way to spend the most amount of time as a player in any casino for the least investment: it’s a great social variation on classic poker, and represents a true fusion of Eastern and Western traditional gaming.