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How To Play Pai Gow

A Simple Guide to Pai Gow

Pai Gow Poker is one of the most gruelling yet fun-to-play casino games. Many beginners and first-time players think that the game in itself is conquerable in a one-time basis, but they actually need to understand the odds and ins of the said game prior to even emerging as winner in a round or two. Unlike other casino games that may get very noisy and loud because of the tension in the gameplay, Pai Gow players are more often than not seen quiet and thinking or calculating carefully on their next move, as every gesture is very crucial in winning the game. In order for one to learn the game, focus and a clear explanation of the nature of the game are highly essential.

How to Play Pai Gow – Simple History

Pai Gow is actually a traditional Asian game. The original materials or objects used in the game are small brick-like tiles that appear as dominos with Chinese characters and certain elemental calligraphy. However, since most Westerners get confused on the values of the inscribed characters, an American version was developed and released to suit the American player’s taste. Thus, mark the creation of Pai Gow Poker. Instead of using the same type of bricks, the American version used a standardized set of playing cards with ranking patterned after the poker hands.

How to Play Pai Gow – The Setup

As mentioned earlier, Pai Gow Poker uses a standardized set of cards. The game is played with atypical 52-card deck with the addition of a single joker only. The use of the joker card is a bit tricky though. One must take note that the joker can only be used either as an ace substitute or a wild card option in order for a player to complete a flush, a straight, or a combination of both. A blackjack-size table is used in this game; however, the number of players is limited to a maximum of six and one dealer. There is also a banker, who will play against all the players. In most cases, the banker is someone from the casino. In special cases, the players may choose to bake the game themselves, as in the case of its Chinese counterpart.

How to Play Pai Gow – The Gameplay

At the start of the game, the players are requested to come up with their bets in relation to the table minimum. The cards are shuffled by the dealer and are dealt out to seven stacks of seven cards each. This is a standard procedure regardless of the number of players on the table. Then, the banker will shake three dice for him to determine the first player on the said round.

Players will then be requested to check their cards and strategize in coming up a two-card hand and a five-card one. There are areas on the table where the said hands are to be placed. The two-card hand is to be placed in front while the five-card hand should be following which. If both hands beat the hands of the banker, the player automatically wins. If only one hand out of the two winds, the round is said to be a push and the player will neither win nor lose. However, if the player’s hands have the same value as the banker’s, the hand is said to be a tie and the banker automatically wins the round over that certain player. Consequently, if both hands of the banker beat the player’s hands, the player automatically loses.

In preparing the two sets of hands, one must take note to prioritize the five-hand card when it comes to value. If the two-card hand is higher than the five-card hand, by mistake, the player is said to have a foul and he automatically loses.

How to Play Pai Gow Poker – Jargons and Strategies

Back refers to the five-card hand
Front refers to the two-card hand
No Pair requires the player to place the highest card at the back and the other two highest in front
One Pair requires the player to place the pair at the back and the two highest cards in front
Two Big Pair having Jack thru Ace requires one to put the small pair on front
Two Big Pair having 7s thru 10s requires one to put both pairs at the back, and if applicable, the ace should be in front
Two Big Pair having 2s thru 6s requires one to put both pairs at the back, and if applicable, the king should be in front; otherwise consider a split
Three Pairs requires one to put the big pair in front
Three of a Kind Aces requires one to place one ace in front together with the next highest card
Three of a Kind Kings and Below requires one to put the three at the back and the highest cards in front
Straight, Flush, and Straight Flush with No Pair requires one to put the highest cards in front and leave the others at the back
Straight, Flush, and Straight Flush with One Pair requires one to put the highest cards – whether or not it is the pair itself – in front and the rest shall follow at the back
Straight, Flush, and Straight Flush with Two Pairs requires one to use the two pair strategy
Straight, Flush, and Straight Flush with Three Pairs requires one to put a pair in front and the rest at the back
Full House requires one to put a pair in front and the three of a kind at the back
Four of a Kind with Jacks thru Aces requires one to split and put a pair in front and one at the back
Four of a Kind with 7s thru 10s requires one to put four of the kind at the back and, as much as possible, put the ace or the king in front, or split if otherwise
Four of a Kind with 6s or Below requires one to put a card higher than the four of a kind in front
Four of a Kind with a Pair requires one to put a pair in front and the four of a kind at the back
Four of a Kind with Three of a Kind requires one to put the full house at the back and the highest pair in front
Published:
Apr 13, 2016
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