Knowing how to play Pai Gow Poker starts with a basic appreciation of the rules and regulations. The game is played using a 53-card deck, comprised of the usual 52 playing cards plus one joker. The joker is termed semi-wild because it can be used either as an ace or to complete any straight or flush.
A rule of Pai Gow poker that is sometimes forgotten is that the A2345 straight, which is known as the wheel, ranks as the second highest possible straight. In land-based casinos there are obviously more players, but online players generally play one-on-one with the dealer. The game is played with seven cards. This includes the dealer.
The Rules of the Game
During this game, players separate their cards into a five-card high hand and a two-card low hand. Generally speaking, casinos insist the high hand has to be of a higher poker value than the low hand. The player and the dealer now compare cards in standard showdown style. The dealers’ cards are arranged according to the published house rules. The five-card hand is ranked according to standard general poker rules. The two-card hand, which can at best comprise a pair generally ends up being ranked by the individual cards.
In the event of a tie on any hand, the dealer wins. Should the player win both the high and low hands in a round of Pai Gow poker, they will be paid out at even money. If it happens that the player wins one and loses the other the bet is pushed. However, anything less than this will be a loss to the player since one of the key aspects in how to play Pai Gow poker is the fact that a draw favours the dealer.
Playing Customs and Betting
As opposed to many other casino games, in Pai Gow Poker, players have an additional betting option, called banking. Here they can bet against the dealer and other players in the game. Another aspect of the game players need to be aware of when learning how to play Pai Gow Poker is that the role of banker rotates around the table. At some casinos it zigzags between the dealer and each player in turn. However, the norm is for the player turning this role down and it generally reverts back to the dealer.
Pai Gow Poker was first devised by Sam Torosian in 1985. The game is based on the Chinese domino game of the same name, and learning how to play Pai Gow Poker is straightforward and easy.
Properties and Popularity
The properties of this game are that it is largely social in land-based casino play due to this being a relatively low risk game that is played at a moderately slow rate of play. Still considered a game of skill due to the wide variety of choice technically available, most hands nevertheless need to be played in a designated manner.
When learning how to play Pai Gow Poker, players will also find this game remarkably popular. Pai Gow poker is now provided at many Canadian mobile casinos, as well as the brick and mortar variety to much acclaim. The internet growth means players from all over the world can now enjoy high quality casino gaming that includes Pai Gow poker from the comforts of their own home.