Pai Gow poker was invented by Sam Torosian, a casino owner, in the 1980s. He should have patented it because Pai Gow became a classic at casinos. Even today, you will find this poker in most casinos.
Pai Gow House Rules
We will start with the basic Pai Gow House rules.
The goal is to make two strong poker hands and beat the dealer’s two hands. In Pai Gow, you have to make a 5-card hand and a 2-card hand which goes against the dealer’s similar two hands. If one of your hand wins, it is a push. If the two of your hands lose, you lose.
The rules are easy to understand and follow. If you are already acquainted with poker, you won’t find Pai Gow intimidating to learn at all. Pai Gow is a relaxing game to play at a live casino, perfect for a lazy evening. In this post, we will walk you quickly through the Pai Gow house rules, bets and tips!
How to Play Pai Gow Poker
As you are now familiar with the basic Pai Gow House Rules, we will dive straight into the game.
A lot of pushes take place in this game, and your bankroll will last you for quite a while. Pai Gow is slow-paced, which enables you to relax and even have a chit-chat with other players at the table.
The odds are more inclined towards a push (meaning: at least one of the two hands would be good). This makes Pai Gow a low-risk casino game. Moreover, each player is playing against the dealer, so the players win or lose together.
If you have no idea how to set your hand, you can place your cards face up and ask the dealer. The dealer will help you set the hand, and you are good to go!
Generally, six players (the seventh person is the dealer) are seated on a Pai Gow table. After the bets have been placed, everyone receives seven cards, faced down. The deck has 52 cards and a joker. All the players will receive seven cards even if some seats at the table are empty.
The four cards that are left are placed facedown as the muck pile. The players can start setting their two hands, once the dealer has picked up the unused hands.
You might also be interested in Pai Gow, the Chinese tile game.
How to Bet in Pai Gow Poker
Pai Gow kickstarts after the players place their bets and then they are dealt with the cards. Only one bet is to be placed within the betting range (that is, the minimum requirement and maximum limit) for the hand.
On some tables, you can even make some bonus bets. This means you can bet on whether or not you will make a premium hand. The casino will pay out more for the better premium hand. And this bonus wager is not dependent on whether you win your main bet or not.
As attractive as this sounds, most of the experts will advise you against making any bonus or side bets. The casinos have an enormous house edge on these bets.
How to Arrange a Pai Gow Poker Hand
Arranging the Pai Gow hands the right way is simple. And you will get better and quicker with practice.
- The big hand (also called the back hand or high hand) is your good old 5-card hand. While the small hand (also known as the front hand or low hand) is a 2-card hand. This small hand can be made up of only a pair or two high cards.
- Well, what about the joker? The joker can be substituted in three ways. To complete a straight, the joker can be used as any card. The joker can be any suit to complete a flush. If you cannot make a flush or straight, the joker will be an ace. And in the small hand, the joker is always an ace.
- Separating your two hands is easy. Just remember that the big hand must outrank your small hand. If your small hand outranks the big one, you are doing something wrong (and this is a foul). You will lose your bet with a foul hand.
Basic Pai Gow Strategy
Once you get the hang of the Pai Gow House rules, you can develop your strategy.
Most of the players try to make a strong small hand. You can alter this strategy and make the big hand stronger. A straight or better big hand will enable you to assemble your small hand with the remaining cards.
If you receive no pairs, then, put the highest card in the big hand and the second-highest card in your small hand.
If you have one pair, then place the pair in your big hand and the two highest cards in your small hand.
However, you should split the pairs if you get –
- A pair of Aces
- Two high pairs like JJ-AA
- A high pair and a medium pair (77-TT)
If you do not have an Ace, you should also split –
- Two medium pairs
- A high pair (JJ-AA) and a low pair (22-66)
If you do not have a king or an Ace, split these too –
- A low pair and a medium pair
- Two low pairs
And you should always –
- Place 3-of-a-kind in the big hand. If you have 3 Aces, place one in the big hand and one in the small.
- Place flushes and straights in your big hand. If you have pairs, then split them as mentioned above.
- If you have quads as two pairs, split them if they are JJ and plus.
- Keep low quads together.
- Keep medium quads together if you have an Ace.
If you have a Full House –
- Place the pair in the small hand and 3-of-a-kind in your big hand.
- If you have a second pair, place the higher pair in the small hand.
In case you get five Aces (with a joker), split them. But if you have a pair of Kings, then put all the five Aces in your big hand.
So, this was our quick guide that covered Pai Gow House rules, bets, and tips. You can sharpen your skills at Australian online casinos that offer Pai Gow for free. Once, you learn the rules, Pai Gow is fun to play.