Pai Gow Poker

Pai Gow Poker is a casino table game where players try to make the best possible 5-card and 2-card poker hands after being dealt 7 cards. The game is played using a 53-card deck that includes one joker. This joker is treated as an ace unless it can be used to complete a straight, a flush or a straight flush. The object of the game is to make better 5-card and 2-card poker hands than the banker.

How to Play Pai Gow Poker

Play begins with the player making a wager. Each player receives 7 cards face down. Each player then arranges the 7 cards into a 5-card and a 2-card poker hand. Both hands are ranked in terms of their poker hand rankings, for example a pair beats an ace high. The banker also arranges his 7 cards into the two hands and then the bankers hands are compared to the player’s hands. If the player loses both hands then they lose their wager. If the player wins one hand and loses one hand then the bet is pushed, and if the player wins both hands then they win even money minus 5% commission. If both the banker and the player have the exact same 5-card or 2-card hand the banker is said to have won that hand.

Example

Let’s say you were dealt (6,6,7,7,9,10, Q). In this case the best way for you to choose your hands would be making (7,7) the two card hand and making (6,6,Q,10,9) the five card hand. In this case when you are dealt two low pairs you should split unless you also have a king or higher. You then compare your five card and two card hands with the banker’s hands. If you win both then you earn even money on your wager minus 5%, if you lose both you lose your wager and if you win one of the two your wager is pushed. Knowing the best way to split every hand is very difficult and your results will improve with practice.

Basic Strategy

In Pai Gow Poker players are able to be the banker. It is very advantageous to be the banker because you win any ties and the 5% commission is charged after your losses are set against your winnings. Players are given the opportunity to be the banker in turn and you should always accept the banker responsibilities when the opportunity presents itself.

Also, a good strategy is to bet more when you are the banker because the house edge is much lower at this time.

Of course the way you set up your hands will also affect the house edge. If you set up your hands through the fixed rules known as the “house way” then the house edge would be approximately 1.46% as long as you were accepting the banker responsibilities when possible.

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