Pai Gow Poker Gambling Information by CRP

If you're looking for a different game, played slower than others and you want to enjoy a relaxing gambling time without throwing big sums of money on the table play Pai-Gow Poker.

Basics of Pai Gow

Pai-gow poker is a variation of poker, played with standard playing cards including a joker.

A Pai-Gow Poker table has six players' seats and a dealer, similar to a blackjack table. The game requires that the player set two hands, one of two cards and second, higher, of five cards. The aim of pai gow is to beat the banker's two hands.

The player's high hand is displayed closest to the space in front of them, while the 2nd highest or low two-card hand is placed on top of the high hand towards the dealer. A marker is set in front of the banker.

Pai-gow play starts by placing two bets of equal size. Then, in a counterclockwise order, the dealer shuffles and deals seven hands of seven cards face down, which equals 49 cards, therefore, 4 are left in the deck. A dice throw from a cup containing three dice determines who will be the receiver of the first hand. After all the players receive their seven cards face down, they must form two hands.

The two poker hands are formed from one high hand made up of five cards and one low hand containing two cards. Based on poker rankings the highest five-card hand consists of five aces and the highest two-card hand consists of two aces. The cards in pai gow poker are ranked like usual poker hands with one exception. In pai gow one joker is included in the deck and can be played as an ace or the high card to finish a straight, flush, straight flush or royal flush.

The five-card hand is ranked the same way it is in poker, with the exception that an A - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 straight is the second highest straight. The two-card hand will either be a pair or two individual cards. The highest two-card hand is a pair of aces and the lowest is a 2 - 3.

All players play against the banker. He could be the dealer, or a player putting up the required funds. In order to win your bet you must win both hands. The rules as to how many times a player can act as banker varies between the casinos. Usually, the dealer will ask each player in turn if they wish to be the banker and the same player cannot bank two consecutive hands. If you don't want to bank you simply refuse the offer. There is a player advantage if the casino allows you to be banker every second or third hand. In casinos, the banker must have sufficient chips to cover all the other players' wagers. Some books say that at some casinos the banker may co-bank with the house, in that case the house is a 50% partner in the dealer's hand, however we have never seen any casino that offers this option.

Once all hands are set, the dealer will compare the player's hand rank with banker's hand for payouts.

Betting options and results

Unless you are banking, one of your two bets is betting that your five-card hand is superior to that of the banker. The other bet is the same, betting that your two-card hand can beat the banker's. There are four possible outcomes:

It is beneficial to bank because the banker wins on ties. The player may pass the chance to bank if they want.

Pai gow rules

The most important rule to remember when playing is that the rank of the five-card high hand must be higher than the two-card low hand. Any player's hand that is set incorrectly will automatically lose. Most casino dealers will assist in this placement; and dealer sets bank hand according to fixed house rules.

The joker can only be used to complete a straight, flush, or straight flush; otherwise it is treated as an ace.

The house collects a 5% commission when the player wins both bets and on the net win of the banker.

The house receives a commission on all winning hands, collected immediately. A win pays even money.

If the player wants to bank they must have enough money on the table to broker their share of the bets. The player must have played a previous hand against the house banker to bank.

When the player banks, the dealer will also play against the banker with a bet equal to the player's last bet against the house banker.

At some casinos if there is an empty seat the dealer will also deal a "dragon" hand. Another player may use the dragon hand if they wish to play two positions rather than one.

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