Pai Gow is one of the lesser known games enjoyed in a casino, and is more complicated than the more popular 3 card version, or any of the other well known poker games played online in dedicated poker rooms.

Pai Gow Poker

In Pai Gow poker, you are dealt seven cards which you arrange into two separate hands to try to beat the dealers two hands.It's a one on one game against the chosen banker, not the dealer/house.

Pai Gow poker only uses one deck of cards with a joker which can be used as an ace, to complete a flush, straight, or straight flush.

How To Play Pai Gow Poker

A dice is rolled to determine which player gets the first 7 card set. These 7 cards are arranged into one standard 5 card poker hand, and one 2 card hand on its own, obviously this will be either a pair or two single cards. Each set of two hands is compared to the bankers hands.

If you beat both the bankers hands, you win. The casino keeps a commission of 5%.

If you win one, and lose one, the bet becomes a push, and your stake is returned. Your two card hand must not be higher than your 5 card hand. Any player can choose to be banker, the dealer will also play, betting amounts equal to the last bet that the player made when the dealer was the banker.

Basic Pai Gow Strategy

Although it can be a complicated game, there is one simple tip that will give you an advantage in pai gow poker - be the banker as often as you can. The rules of pai gow poker specify that each player must be given the option of assuming the banker role. However, many players pass on this opportunity because their bankroll is not big enough to cover the bets of the other players. This is unfortunate because players gain the largest advantage when they are in the banker role.

If you have the funds to assume the banker role, it is recommended that you do so as often as possible.

The chances of winning both hands is 28.61%, winning one hand is 41.8%, and the banker has a 29.91% chance of winning. So, it pays to be the banker with the odds slightly in your favour.

As the banker you also win on any copy hands which are exactly the same, plus the house commission is charged after losses are offset against winnings.

Can I Be The Banker?

If you want to be the banker, you must have enough cash to cover the possible winning bets on the table of other players and the dealer.You must also have played at least one hand as a regular player.

The rules on how often a particular player are allowed to be the banker varies from casino to casino but in general it is discouraged for any one player to dominate this role.

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You can get a lot more useful info at the Pai Gow page on Wikipedia

Introduction To Pai Gow Poker