Pai Gow Poker Rules and Strategy
Have you ever went to a casino and saw Pai Gow Poker spread? If not, it is a game that you should definitely check out if you’re looking for some casino games to try. Today, we will give you the lowdown of what Pai Gow Poker is and whether it is worth your time as an online poker player.
What is Pai Gow Poker
Pai Gow Poker is a poker table game that you’ll find at many live and online casinos. At first glance, you’d think that players were playing either Seven Card Stud or Seven Card Draw. In reality, the game is closer to a dumbed-down version of Chinese Poker.
The game’s concept is simple. You need to make two poker hands out of seven cards. One hand is a five-card poker hand while the other is just two cards. Similar to Chinese Poker, the two-card hand must be lower than your five-card hand.
Unlike Chinese Poker, the only person you’re playing against is the dealer, also known as the banker. In some games, players can act as the banker. In these games, you’re playing against the banker.
Before receiving cards, you will make a bet on your hand. After you bet, you’ll receive cards. At this point, you’ll set your hands. The two-card hand must be lower in rank than the five-card hand.
Poker hands are the same in this game as all other poker games. However, there is a joker in the deck. The joker can be used only as an ace or to complete a straight or flush.
After you set your hands, your hands are compared to the dealer’s hand. In order for your bet to pay off, both of your hands must beat the dealer’s hand. If only one hand wins, the bet is a push. When you win, you will get 1 to 1 on your money minus a 5% commission.
Here’s a quick strategy for playing Pai Gow Poker:
High Card Hands – When you don’t have anything other than high cards, you will take your second and third highest card and make those your low hand. You’ll take the highest card and the others to make your primary hand.
One Pair – In this case, you’ll make your pair and three lowest cards your main hand. The two highest cards besides your pair is your low hand.
Two Pair – In most cases, you will be splitting two pair with the higher pair in your high hand and your lower pair in your low hand. However, if you have an ace in your hand and two pair, you can opt to play your two pair for the high hand and the ace for your low hand. The exception is when you have aces-up, two high pair, or a high pair and a medium pair. In those cases, you will always split those pairs.
Trips – You’ll l generally play trips in your high hand. However, if you have trip aces, you will put a pair of aces in your high hand and an ace in the low hand.
Straights / Flushes – In most cases, you’re going to play your straight or flush in the high hand. The exception is if you have two pair. You’ll then play the two pairs according to pair splitting rules.
Full House – You’re going to chop up your full house into trips and a pair.
Quads – For all quads jacks and up, you’re splitting the hand into two pair. With medium quads, you will split the pairs unless you have an ace. For low quads, you’re playing the quads.
Hand Setting Strategies Will Help You Win More
While Pai Gow Poker seems pretty straightforward, the strategy is a bit different. Similar to Chinese Poker, you need to be able to set your hands properly to give yourself the best chance to win.
Even if you don’t set your hands like above, you are not giving a huge edge to the house. However, if you are playing games where you can act as the banker, setting your hands properly can reduce your house edge to less than a half of a percent.