Pai Gow Poker

Pai Gow Poker can be found today in the majority of online poker venues and is one of the fastest growing gaming trends, often preferred to some of the more familiar, traditional poker versions. Using a 52 card deck and a joker, Pai Gow poker contains all the elements of the age old poker game whilst providing a twist in the game which makes it fresh and new. As the name may suggest Pai Gow was originally an Asian game that used tiles rather than cards but has been adapted during its time in America, and many today would not even know that it wasn’t originally an American game.

Aim of Pai Gow

The object of the game of Pai Gow Poker is for 2 poker hands to be created out of the 7 cards that the player is dealt. These two poker hands must be a 5-card hand and a 2-card hard and the former must always have a higher value than the latter. The 2-card hand may be referred to as the “small”, “minor”, “in front”, or “on top” hand, whilst the 5-card hand will be referred to as the “behind”, “bottom”, or “big” hand.

How to Play Pai Gow

This game is a stud game, and up to 7 people can play; only one deck is used, which is the 52 standard cards plus a joker. Each player receives 7 cards face down, so there are always at least 4 cards not used in this game. The betting positions of 1 through 7 are assigned with the player who’s acting dealer in the number 1 position and then going counter clockwise. These betting positions determine where the deal begins, either with the aid of 3 regular dice, or with an electronic device. The former works by counting the sum of the 3 dice around the table until it is reached and thus the starting position is found.

Unlike any other poker variation, the dealer position is something that is requested in Pai Gow; it follows no order and who ever requests it gets it. However, it can not be requested at any time. The dealer must announce his attention to be dealer before wagers are laid down, so you must get in there pretty quick. The sequence of events is; dealer position is called, wagers are laid, start position is determined, and only then are the cards dealt. There is only one betting round, and so Pai Gow is a game of skill, and in order to be successful you must have a clear mind for determining hands.

As we said, 2 hands must be made. The Small Hand can only be a pair or a high card. The Big Hand follows largely the regular rules of poker rankings. However, this is one of the few games with a joker, and the only one with a set-rule joker. The joker is always an ace; unless it can be used to complete a straight or flush in which case it must be used for that purpose.

Winning in Pai Gow

Winning in Pai Gow Poker is to do with what the players hand does against the dealers hand. If both of the players hands beats the dealer, he wins and get’s paid out at 1:1 with a 5% commission for the casino. If only one of the hands beats the dealer it is considered a tie, and the player gets to keep his wager but wins nothing on top. If both hands are beat by the dealer the player looses his wager.