In this latest entry in our ongoing series on gambling technology, we take a look a the game of Pai Gow poker.
Did you know that pai gow is a dominoes-based Chinese gambling game? It has been played for many centuries, but about 30 years ago, a card club owner created a poker variant of this game. So, when people say, Pai Gow, today, they are usually talking about Pai Gow poker.
Pai Gow: An Overview
Pai gow is played with a regular playing cards deck which consists of 52 cards and one joker. Typically, this game is played on a table set for six players and a dealer. Every player present at the table is trying to beat the banker. The banker is usually the casino dealer, but It can also be another player at the table. If you are looking for a comprehensive guide to the game, you can read ThePOGG.com’s Pai Gow Poker guide with strategies and RTP.
In pai gow, a player gets two poker hands based on seven cards that a player receives. So, there is one poker hand that includes 5 cards and another that includes 2 cards. The main goal is to beat the two hands displayed by the banker. Keep in mind that the hand that consists of five cards must be better than the two-card hand. That’s why the 2-card hand is known as on top or in front hand. In some cases, people call it low, minor, or small hand. On the other hand, the 5-card hand is also known as big, high, bottom, or behind hand.
Before each new turn, the cards are carefully shuffled, and the dealer deals them on the table with seven piles that consist of seven cards each with their face down. Four cards are left unused no matter how many people are at the table.
There are betting positions listed from 1 to 7. The player who serves as a banker during that hand is the player who has the starting betting position. The positions go counter-clockwise around the table. Before the player begins, the number is selected at random. In some cases, players use three regular dices to determine the starting betting position.
Even if not all the spots at the table are filled, the cards are dealt, and if there are not enough players these cards are discarded with the four unused playing cards.
When it comes to 5-card hands, pai gow relies on the conventional poker hand rankings. This means that the hand rankings include five of a kind, royal flush, straight flush, 4 of a kind, full house, flush, straight, 3 of a kind, two pairs, a pair and high cards. But, there is one exception though. This means that the hand that includes Ace, 2, 3, 4, and 5 is the second highest straight. But, some casinos are not following this rule. The joker card is here to replace any card if it helps you create a flush or straight. In other cases, it acts as an ace. The 2-card hands can bring only high cards and pairs.
What is important to know is that in cases of ties, the win goes to the banker. In case both player’s hands beat the corresponding hands of the banker, then he will win the bet. If there is only one hand that’s better than the banker’s hand then it’s a push where no one wins the bet.
There are many different Pai Gow poker variants out there. Besides the fact that you can play pai gow in land-based casinos, you can play this game online too. The different variants that we have mentioned are usually available in online casinos where this exciting game is offered. It’s also good to know that many online casinos are offering bonuses and special features in their pai gow games.
For more casino game guides visit The POGG casino game guides page here and learn about all the rules, strategies and RTP values.