Pai Gow Poker
Pai gow poker is an interesting combination of the Chinese game of pai gow with the Western game of poker.
History of Pai Gow Poker
The Chinese game of pai gow was probably brought to the United States by Chinese immigrants who came to work in the mines and on the railways in the mid-1800s. The Chinese game was played with domino pieces. As the game became more popular around the United States, the domino pieces were replaced with a standard deck of playing cards.
The modern game of pai gow poker was only invented in the 1980s when casino owners Fred Wolf and Sam Torosian created the game. It was also known as double-hand poker at this time. Its popularity spread from California to Las Vegas and Atlantic City and it is now played all over the world.
Playing Pai Gow Poker
Pai gow poker is played with a 53 card deck – that is, a regular 52 card deck plus one joker. Six players, plus the dealer can play at one table. Players may be required to pay a flat fee for playing the game. Alternatively, a commission or rake of 5% may be charged on winning bets. Before the game begins, each player must place a bet. The dealer then deals seven cards to each player, including himself.
Players must arrange their seven cards into 2 hands – a five card hand and a two card hand. The five card hand is ranked the same as poker and the two card hand is ranked as pairs or high cards. The Joker is used as an Ace unless it can be used as a wild card in order to complete a straight, flush or straight flush. The two card hand can never be higher than the five card hand. The players arrange their cards with the two card hand on top and the five card hand below and wait for the dealer to arrange his cards in the house way. All hands are compared to the dealer.
Hand Rankings in Pai Gow Poker
The five card hand is ranked according to poker. From highest to lowest, it ranks as follows:
- Five Aces – four Aces plus a Joker.
- Royal Flush – 10, J, Q, K, A of the same suit.
- Straight Flush – five successive cards of the same suit. The Joker can be used as a wild card.
- Four of a Kind – four cards of the same numerical value, but different suits.
- Full House – three cards of one numerical value and two of a different numerical value.
- Flush – any five cards of the same suit. The Joker can be used as a wild card.
- Straight – five successive cards of different suits. The Joker can be used as a wild card.
- Three of a Kind – three cards of the same numerical value.
- Two Pair – two cards of one numerical value and two of a different numerical value.
- Pair – two cards of one numerical value.
If none of the players hold a ranking hand, the winner is determined by the highest held card.
In Nevada, the highest ranking hand is A, 2, 3, 4, 5, however in Michigan and California this is in fact the lowest ranking hand. Be sure of the rules before you begin to play. The two card hand is ranked according to pairs. If no pairs are held then the highest ranking card wins.
Winning at Pai GowPoker
In order for a player to win their bet in pai gow poker they must beat the dealer in both the five card hand and the two card hand. If a player wins one hand, but loses the other, the bet is a push. If the player loses both hands, he loses his bet. If the player and the dealer hold identical hands, the game is referred to as a copy and the dealer wins. If the player's two-card hand is higher than his five card hand then both hands are considered foul and the player loses.
Online Pai Gow Poker
The rules of online pai gow poker are the same as land-based pai gow. The only difference is that the online version has added a feature to make the game more exciting. Players are able to place a bonus bet in the hopes of winning more.