Unlike most casino games, the player may bet against the dealer, and other players in pai gow poker. This is known as 'banking.' The turn to act as banker is supposed to rotate around the table, but at some casinos it zig-zags between the dealer and each player in turn. Casino Games Pie Gow, free doubledown casino promo codes, 10 no deposit bonus at tropica casino 13, 100 casino bonus 15 free spins at inetbet eu casino 4.

Basics of PaiGow Poker

By HenryTamburin

Paigow poker (pai is pronounced like pie, gow rhymes with now) is across between the ancient game of Chinese dominoes and the American game ofpoker. The game is played on a blackjack-size table with up to 6 players and acasino dealer. A single deck of playing cards is used plus one joker. The jokercan be used as an ace or it can beused as a wild card to complete a straight, flush, or straight flush.

Thegist of the game is this. You’ll be dealt 7 cards from which you must create a5-card poker hand and a separate 2-card poker hand. The dealer or banker willdo the same. Your objective is to have your 5-card poker hand and your 2-card poker hand be higher inrank then the corresponding banker’s 5 and 2-card hands. If you do, you win!

Aquick word about dealers and bankers. In pai gow poker, players compete againsta banker who may either be the casino dealer or a fellow player. In fact thisis one of the few casino games where players can act as the banker, which asyou can imagine can be advantageous. For the time being, let’s assume thecasino dealer is the banker and later I’ll go over the rules of how players canbecome the banker.

Theplay of the game varies slightly from one casino to another. Here is thetypical way the game is played. An automatic shuffler shuffles the cards andafter every player makes a bet, the dealer will activate a random numbergenerator with a digital readout. The purpose is to determine which playerreceives the first hand from the shuffled deck of cards and it also ensuresthat the hands are randomly distributed to players. The dealer is number 1, theplayer position to the right of the dealer is number 2, and so on around thetable. The dealer will then place a stack of 7 cards in front of each playingposition with the player position corresponding to the random number receivingthe first 7-card hand.

Variationsto the above procedures you may encounter include manual shuffling, use of adice bowl to generate the random number, and in some casinos the seven handsare stacked in front of the dealer prior to distributing the hands to theplayers. These are minor procedural differences that result in the sameobjective – the random distribution of 7-card hands to every player and dealerfrom a shuffled deck of cards.

Afterthe hands are distributed to the players, each player can pick up their cards.Your goal is to arrange or “set” the cards into a 5-card poker hand (known asthe high hand) and a 2-card pokerhand (low hand).

Hereis the first important rule to remember.

Your high hand must always be higher in poker rank thenyour low hand otherwise you automatically lose (this is known as a foul hand).

Theabove rule is not that difficult to remember. Just remember that the high handmust be higher in rank then the low hand. So if you’ve got a pair ofjacks and a pair of 5’s you would automatically lose if you put the jacks inthe low hand and the 5’s in the high hand. The correct way to set the hand isto place the higher pair (the jacks) in the 5-card high hand and the lower pair(the 5’s) in the 2-card low hand.

The second way that a hand could be declared “foul”is if the high or low hand contains the wrong number of cards. However, thisrarely occurs as most players have enough sense to know that the low hand mustcontain two cards and the high hand five cards.

Onceyou’ve set your hands, you place each hand face down on the layout in theindicated position (the low hand is placed closest to the dealer and the highhand closest to the player). The dealer will then face his 7 cards and set themby house rules into a 5- card high hand and 2-card low hand. One-by-one thedealer will then turn over the player’s 5 and 2-card hands starting with theplayer to his immediate right. He compares the player’s 5-card high hand to hishigh hand and the player’s 2-card low hand to his 2 card low hand to determinewho wins.

Whenthe player’s high or low hand is equal in rank to the banker’s correspondinghand this is known as a “copy”.According to Stanford Wong (OptimalStrategy for Pai Gow Poker), copy hands will occur about 2.5% of the time.Why is this important to know?Becausethe banker always wins copy hands. This is what creates the natural1.3% edge for the banker over the player in pai gow poker.

Inorder for you to win your bet, both your high hand and low hand must be higherin rank then the dealer’s high and low hand. If the 5-card high hand is higherin rank but the 2- card low hand is lower orvice versa, this is a tie (no decision) and no money is exchanged.

Theoverall frequency for banker and player wins and ties as follows:

Banker wins 32.6%

Player wins 31.4%

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Ties occur 36.0%

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Thesepercentages may vary slightly depending upon the player’s skill in settinghands.

Noticethat ties occur about a third of the time in Pai Gow Poker. From the player’sperspective, this means you can enjoy playing for a relatively long timewithout worrying about losing a bundle (compared to the losses which occur on acold blackjack or craps table).

Also,note that the banker wins slightly more times than the player. It is thereforeto your advantage to be the banker as often as possible.

Thecasino earns its money on this game in either of two ways: 1) from the naturalbanker edge when the casino dealer is banker and 2) by charging a 5% commissionon all winning bets. In practice this is how it works.

Whenthe casino is the banker, the dealer will payoff winning bets to players butthen immediately collect the 5% commission. If you bet $5 and won for example,the dealer will pay you one red chip and you then place a quarter on the tablethat he collects as the commission. Also, if a player is the banker, the casinowill collect the 5% commission on all amounts won by the player and banker.

Your objective is to set your 5-card high hand so that itis higher in poker rank then your 2-card low hand. You also want to try to havethe highest poker rank possible for both hands so that hopefully both of yourhands will beat both of the banker hands.

TheTable below contains a basic playing strategy for pai gow poker to improve yourchances of winning. The first column lists the type of 7-card hand.The second and third columns summarize howthe 7-card hand should be set to form the 5-card and 2-card high handsrespectively (note: A = ace).

Since the banker has the natural advantage it isadvantageous to be the banker as much as possible. However, when you are thebanker you must have a sufficient bankroll to bank all the bets made by yourfellow players.

Normally,the casino dealer will open the game as the banker. In subsequent hands,players can request to be the banker. A small plastic marker (called a chung)is placed in front of the banker’sbetting area to designate that this player is the banker.

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Thecasino banking rules vary greatly. Some casinos allow the same player to be thebanker on every other hand or a maximum of 2 consecutive hands. Others willallow a player to bank only once out of every 8 or the extreme 14thhand.

Becausethe rules for banking differ it’s important that you shop around. Your goal isto bank as many hands as the casino will allow because that is the only way youcan get the edge.

Justbecause you bank and have the edge doesn’t mean you won’t take your lumps. Afew losses to players can put a severe dent in your bankroll. Therefore, it’simportant you have enough bankroll to withstand a couple of losing hands.

Whenthe casino dealer is the banker, the casino edge in pai gow poker is about2.8%. By skillfully setting your hands you can reduce the casino’s edge toabout 2.5%. By being the banker as muchas possible and betting as small aspossible when you are the player, it is possible to have a slight monetaryedge playing pai gow poker (about 0.2%). A smart player, therefore, should bankas much as possible and learn how to correctly set the hands. That’s the secretto winning at pai gow poker.


7-Card HandDealt2-Card Low Hand5-Card High Hand

No pairs2ndand 3rd highest ranked cardshighestranked card

One pairtwohighest ranked cardspair

Two Pair *lowranked pairhighranked pair

Three pairhighest ranked pairtwo lowest rankedpairs

Three-of-a-kind**2 highest ranked cardsthree-of-a-kind

Straight, Flush, or Straight2 remaining cards in low handstraight,flush, or straight flush


Full Housepair3-of-a-kind

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Four 2’s through 6’s2highest ranked cardsfour-of-a-kind

Four 7’s through A’s ***one paironepair

Five A’spairof acesthreeaces

*If you have a single ace, keep the ace inthe low hand and the two pair in the high hand.

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** If you have three aces,keep one ace in the low hand and the other two aces in the high hand.

*** If you have a single ace andfour 7 through 10’s, keep the ace in the low hand and the four-of-a-kindin the high hand.