Pai Gow Poker is an interesting poker game that involves all 52 cards plus the joker. The presence of the joker makes an appealing play since it can only be used in the place of an Ace or a card to complete a straight or flush.
Your five-card hand has to be of a higher total rank than your two-card hand. Also, the Ace-2-3-4-5 straight is the second highest, only after Ace-K-Q-J-10. With these specific guidelines, there are some tips to help you along.
Pai Gow is all about your hand setting. The hands are compiled into a high hand made up of five cards and a lower value low hand of only two cards.
Due to the many possibilities with using seven cards, a high hand might be a straight, and the low hand could be a pair, or you might be dealt an actual pai gow, which is just a hand with no straight, flush or pair.
The top five tips for betting/playing Pai Gow are:
If you are new to this game, there are a few scenarios to keep in mind. So not let it discourage you. Your task is to set your cards into two hands.
You want to make sure the five-card hand is the highest. Once the dealer hands out the banker hand, using a casino chosen house way, the hands are then compared.
If your two-card hand beats the banker's two-card hand and if your five-card hand beats the banker's five-card hand, you win. When only one wins and then one loses, it is called a push.
In the case where either of the player's hands is the same value as the banker's hands, it is considered a tie or "copy," and the banker wins. Of course, if the banker's two hands beat both of your hands, then you lose.
Remember the "copy" outcome? That is what gives the house an edge. Since two hands will copy about 2.6 percent of the time, the banker (or house) wins 29.9 percent of the total outcomes and you win 28.6 percent.
On top of that, when you do win, the house charges a five percent commission. Some variations of the game may not have that much, it all depends on the casino. But there will be an overall tie about 41.5 percent of the time.
If you have a good understanding of the game, you want some quick guides to go by, here are a few scenarios that will help you decide what to do:
In addition to those, you should use these two pair rules below:
So if you have that last part figured out, there are some additional hands that you will encounter. This is a more detailed approach, but useful if you happen to apply the knowledge. Here is what to do with them:
|Three Pair:||Play your highest pair in the low hand.|
|Three of a Kind:||Always play them together, except when the cards are aces, then you should play a pair of aces in the high hand and use the single ace with the next highest card in the low hand.|
|Full House:||You should always split with the pair in the low hand, unless you have a second pair also, then play your highest of the two pairs in the low hand.|
|Straight and Flushes:||Keep your straight or flush in the high hand, and choose whichever gives you the highest card for the low hand. The exception to this is when you also have two pairs, then split according to the two pair rules. |
Straights and flushes should always be kept together in the five-card hand unless you also have a pair of 10s or better. In the cases where you have a pair of 10s for a five-card hand, in addition to an Ace, King, or better for the two-card hand, you could consider splitting up a straight or a flush.
|Four of a Kind:||If you have four of a kind with sixes or lower, keep them together. In the case of seven through tens with four of a kind, split them unless you have an ace or better to play in the low hand.|
If you have four of a kind with your face cards (Aces, Kings, Queens, or Jacks), you need to always split them, unless you have another pair to play in the low hand.
|Five Aces:||You need to always split them. Unless you also have a pair of kings, then you should play the kings in the low hand.|
Finally, your bank account needs to be checked, or wherever you keep your money for gambling. How much are you willing to play or bet with? What are your limits to losing or gaining money?
These are some examples of questions you should ask yourself before any poker game. Knowing a simple checklist like this could prevent you from losing too much money or gambling away everything.
A bonus bet on a poker game, sometimes called a side bet, is a wager on a set of cards that you have either split or are using to beat the dealer. You see this often in blackjack.
Even though the payouts are nice, the odds are typically not in your favor, and if you want long-term success in Pai Gow, you should avoid the bonus bets.
If you are given the chance to bank in Pai Gow, it could be profitable for you. If you have the bankroll, take the option to bank, which means you will be putting your money against every player on the table.
The best part of banking strategy is that you are winning when the other players make mistakes setting their hands, which in turn gives you a powerful edge.
Yes, you can play this game online. I would recommend you find a free version and test out your skills with that first to get a feel for the game. This way, when you walk into a casino, you have already tested your skills.
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