to play Pai Gow
original version of Pai Gow used special dominos and dice. It's said to be a
rather complicated game, played slow enough to serve as a social event and is
rarely seen in gaming houses outside of Asia.
modern, Westernized version is played with a deck of 53 cards -- regular deck
plus a Joker -- and uses poker-like hands for ranking. It's still a complex game
but the changes make it more approachable, as indicated by its success in
casinos throughout the world. And it's still a rather slow game with showdowns
often resulting in ties. This serves as a fine counterbalance to the faster
playing casino fare, and it allows a player with a modest stake to last longer
at the table than would be possible with other games.
Gow is often a multi-player game where the deal rotates around the table much
like regular Poker. One of the traditional rules is that the dealer also acts as
banker for that hand. In online play all of this is simplified to the player-vs-house
are placed and the player receives seven cards. From these seven cards the
player forms two hands: a two-card hand called the "low" or
"front" hand; a five-card hand called the "high" or
"back" hand. The goal is to beat the dealer on both hands. The back
hand is ranked as in Poker with the exception that A-2-3-4-5 is the
second-highest straight beating K-Q-J-10-9. The front hand is singles or a pair,
with A-A being the highest.
are a few additional rules. First, your front hand should not beat your back. If
it does, this is called a "foul" and both hands lose. Second, the
Joker can be used as a wild card to complete a Straight, a Flush, a Straight
Flush or a Royal Flush. Otherwise it is treated as an Ace.
in most online games is very simple in that you make a single opening bet and
that is the end of it. In some Pai Gow games there are separate bets for the
front and back hands, but this is unusual in on-line play.
both hands lose to the dealer, you lose your bet. If both hands win, you win
even money. If one hand wins and the other loses, it's a push. If your hands are
the same as the dealer's, called "copies", the dealer wins. Obviously
thatís an attraction of playing dealer/banker in multi-player games. In such
games, you minimize your losses by betting low when you are a player and being
dealer/banker whenever possible.
the player wins, the house takes a 5% commission: you get $4.75 of a $5 winning
are a number of issues related to the multi-player games when it comes to the
dealer/banker question. Keep in mind that none of this applies to typical
single-player on-line play.
In multi-player Pai Gow games the bank rotates from person to person, where a
player may pass the deal if they choose. If you want to deal you must have
enough money on the table to broker all other bets made. If you are
uncomfortable with the full risk of banking, another player may co-bank with you
as dealer and the two of you will split the wins and losses. The house will bank
if no player is willing to do it. If a player is banking, the dealer can be a
player, wagering as the banker asks. If a player is the banker then the dealer
will first compare their own hands to that of the banker and make the
appropriate payments. Then the dealer will take the banker's cards and compare
them to the other players, using the banker's money.
wins in Pai Gow are at even money, less the house's 5% commission.
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