One of the best chances to outsmart the house in casino gambling is with Pai Gow Poker. The house edge can be lowered to 1.46 percent by using sound Pai Gow Poker strategies. But how can you execute this Pai Gow Poker strategy?
Discover all you needed to win in Pai Gow poker, including:
- The goal of the game
- Pai Gow Poker Strategies
Pai Gow Poker’s History
The traditional Chinese game of Pai Gow and the popular card game of poker are combined to create Pai Gow Poker. This popular casino game uses a standard 52-card deck. Plus, you can use one joker as an Ace or complete a straight or flush.
In essence, Pai Gow Poker consists of two distinct poker hands ranked by established poker conventions. Accordingly, the best two-card hand is two Aces. In addition, five Aces is the highest five-card hand, which consists of four Aces plus the Joker.
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Learning Pai Gow Poker isn’t particularly challenging. You are going to be fine with a little practice and a fundamental understanding of how to beat the dealer.
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A seven-card hand will be dealt to every player. The players form two hands out of their seven cards: a five-card hand and a two-card hand.
Always have the five-card hand higher in poker rank than the two-card hand.
If i-verify is not available, the dealer will shake a cup holding three dice to choose which player will get the opening hand. Whether a player is present or not, the dealer will deal the seven hands (each comprising seven cards) in a clockwise direction starting at the banker position (number one) and counting counterclockwise from there.
The “House Way” is a method that a player may request be used to set their hand. It is a preset technique of setting the hands. In addition, the House Hand will always be set by the dealer using the “House Way.”
Then, the dealer will reveal the banker’s hand once all players have established their hands. Also, the banker’s hand is established by the dealer. This is following the “House Way,” which is then compared to each player’s hand to determine wagers.
Pai Gow Poker’s Goal
Each player must arrange their cards into two hands in Pai Gow Poker. So, they both rank higher than the banker’s two hands. Both the two-card and five-card hands must be better than the banker’s two-card and five-card hands, respectively. Moreover, it is a tie if one hand has a ranking that is precisely the same as the banker’s hand. Copies are termed ties, and the banker always prevails in a copy hand.
All bets are lost on losing hands, and winning hands are paid out at even money. Meanwhile, a “Push” or a “standoff” occurs when one hand wins but the other one loses. In this situation, the wager is not honored.
Pai Gow Poker Strategy
Playing Pai Gow isn’t all that challenging in terms of strategy. This is due to the absence of any on-the-go betting choices. Also, you’ll only ever place one bet at the start of the hand. So, you’ll never have to consider making more wagers or deciding whether they are worthwhile.
However, you still have some options for how you want to arrange the cards you have in your hand. Keep in mind that your top hand must always rank lower than your bottom hand, which should always rank higher. At the same time, you must think about the ideal result.
Furthermore, you must outscore the dealer’s hands in Pai Gow to prevail. Making a strong hand in the rear while holding, say, a 9-high at the top won’t cut it.
Note: It is far preferable to have two hands that are decently powerful than one really powerful hand combined with air.
The Basics of Pai Gow Poker Strategy
You can make this game as easy or difficult as you like. An entire 150-page book on the topic, Optimal Strategy for Pai Gow Poker, was even written on the subject by renowned gambling author Stanford Wong.
We won’t go into depth because the fundamental approach can get you quite close to the optimal outcomes. Here is a quick lesson on how to use each hand that is given to you.
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|Hand||Basic Pai Gow Poker Strategy|
|No Hand||No pair? Your highest card must go in the 5-card hand. Then, your next 2 highest cards be in the 2-card hand.|
|Pair||You must play your pair in the 5-card hand. But, you must play your next two highest cards in the 2-card hand.|
|Two Pair||Your 5-card hand should have your highest pair, while your 2-card hand contains your lowest pair. Kings and 2s are the only cards that should never be used in the 5-card hand.|
|Three-Pair||Play the highest pair from your 2-card hand. Use the lesser pairings in your 5-card hand to create a two-pair.|
|Three of a Kind||Keep the five-card hand’s three-of-a-kind combination. If you have two Aces, you’ll play both of them in the 5-card hand; if you only have one, you’ll play the 2-card hand.|
|Full House||Put the three of a kind in your 5-card hand and the pair in your 2-card hand. Except when you hold a full house together with another pair. With this, the highest pair is added to the 2-card hand.|
|Straight||With a 5-card hand, you can apply this Pai Gow Poker strategy. Except if you have a pair of 2s, which can be split into strong hands of 2 cards and 5 cards.|
|Flush||The rules for straights also apply to this hand.|
|Four of a Kind||If the 5 cards in your hand include 6s or less, keep your four of a kind. Otherwise, if the hand comprises 7 or more, divide it across your two and five-card hands.|
|Five Aces||Make a two-pair hand and a three-of-a-kind hand with this hand. If you hold 5 Aces and a pair of Kings, that is the only hand that is free from the 2-card rule. Never divide 5 Aces unless you have a pair of Kings to place in the lead (if you have a Joker)|
Have fun playing Pai Gow Poker.
Pai Gow Poker isn’t as popular at live casinos, presumably because it might take a while for hands to finish (and casinos don’t like that). But, there are many venues online where you can play the game for both free and real money.
Furthermore, you will likely appreciate Pai Gow if you enjoy Open Face Chinese Poker. The way Chinese Poker is played today essentially evolved from this game.