Pai Gow Poker online mixes together features elements of the ancient Chinese game and American Poker. It stands for one among the numerous kinds of poker, but with some significant distinctions in the rules from the classic one. A major strength of Pai Gow poker is the requirement for the player to beat only one opponent – the dealer. Together with uncomplicated rules, this game is presented as a pretty pleasant way of spending your leisure time with no extra effort and real chances to win impressive sums of money.
How to play?
Pai Gow Poker is played with a deck of 52 cards plus the Joker. The Joker is used in straight, flush, straight flush, royal flush, or can be used as an ace. Up to 7 players and one banker can participate in the game. And the banker in Pai Gow poker is not only the croupier, but each player in turn. But to become a banker player should have a fund that can cover all bets of other players, otherwise he skips the turn.
Then, once all players have placed their bets, the croupier hands each player 7 cards face down. Both the players and the banker must separate their cards into two hands: the first hand of 5 cards, the second hand of 2 cards. At the same time, the first poker hand must be higher than the second poker hand. If the player does not adhere to this rule, he automatically loses.
The seniority of hand combinations remains the same as in regular poker, but one difference still occurs. A straight with an Ace is higher than the other straights. As the game comes to the finish, the winner is identified by comparing the player’s and the banker’s hands according to the seniority of the poker combinations. For both the player and the banker, both the first and the second hands have to prevail in order to win.
Speaking about the payouts, it must be mentioned that it’s determined by the results of both hands. The ideal situation is to beat the dealer with both hands, then the payout is 1:1. When a player wins one hand but loses the other, it’s a draw and he gets his bet back.
The optimal strategy
In Pai Gow Poker the optimal strategy involves the correct division of cards between the top and bottom hand. As a rule, in most online and real casinos, the player is allowed to ask the dealer to split the cards in accordance with the rules of the establishment. In fact, many patterns of the ideal strategy exist, but let’s distinguish the main and most common of them:
- No combination: leave the highest card on the top hand, the next two cards on the bottom hand.
- One Pair: leave a pair on the top hand, the two highest remaining cards on the bottom hand.
- Two Pairs:
- Do not split if you have a point total of nine or less with a king or ace;
- Do not split if you have a point total of fifteen or less with an ace;
- Exception: Split sevens and twos with a king or higher;
- Exception: splitting kings and twos with an ace;
- Exception: to separate jacks and fours with an ace;
- Exception: do not separate sevens and eights (nines) with an Ace, where points correspond to the face value of cards (2 is for twos, 11 is jack, 12 is queen, 13 is king, 14 is ace, i.e. jacks and fours give a sum of points 4+11=15).
- Three pairs: the high pair to the bottom hand.
- Three: leave the three at the top, the two highest cards to the bottom hand, except for the three aces: two aces remain in the top hand, one in the bottom hand.
- Two threes: A pair from the top three to the bottom hand.
- Straights and Flushes: Leave the straights and flushes unless there’s a pair, otherwise split two-pair rules.
- Full-House: Split by a three and a deuce (if there are two pairs or two threes, put the highest pair down).
- Four of a kind: a two to six-bet – do not divide; a seven to ten-bet – divide if there is no king or higher; a jack to king-bet – divide if there is no ace or higher; ace-bet – divide if there is no other pair.
Tips for Playing Pai Gow Poker
Certainly, bigger part of this game is based on your luck, however, some recommendations for playing might noticeably increase the chances of winning, among them are:
- First of all, you should become a banker as soon as possible, because following this way you will have a better chance of winning than the other players at the table. Nevertheless, keep in mind to check the amount of your bankroll, as you will be required to cover the bets of all the players at the table.
- Be careful to balance both your 2-card and 5-card hands to improve your chances of victory, because both of them have an influence on the outcome at the end.
- Place the joker mindfully. Taking into account the feature of making two hands, you have to realize where the joker should be placed. The desire of collecting a straight or flush with a joker is a nice idea, however, be sure not to ignore your two-card hand. Occasionally it is advisable to have a pair of aces to keep your small hand on a presentable level.
Pai Gow is an intriguing casino game which can offer many specific features to make your gambling process extraordinary and profitable. However, it’s compiled in such a way that even newcomers can feel themselves in the right place. The good thing is that the rules of Pai Gow poker can be learned with a little practice, allowing everyone who has such a desire to improve skills and tactics in a very short period of time.
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Review Pai Gow Poker: Rules and Strategies.