Pai Gow Poker
PaiGow Poker is a low-intensity game that is great for players who go to casinos just to have fun. Gamblers can play Pai Gow Poker for a long time for a relatively small amount of money. This is because each individual PaiGow Poker hand can last for a good amount of time; in addition, it is fairly common to win your money back.
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Basic PaiGow Poker Hand
Pai Gow Poker is a game that pits the player against the dealer. The game is played with 53 cards, the standard 52 and 1 Joker. A hand begins with everyone being dealt seven cards. Each player then forms a five card hand and a two card hand.
The five card hand is ranked according to standard poker rules. The two card hand follows the standard poker rules as much as any two card hand can, with AA being the best and 23 being the worst. When the players form their hands, the two card hand cannot be stronger than the five card hand.
The dealer’s hands are formed according to the casino rules, or “house way”. Once all of the hands are formed, each player’s hand is compared to the dealer’s. If both of the player hands beat both of the dealer hands, the player wins. If both of the player hands lose to both of the dealer hands, the dealer wins. Finally, if one hand wins and one hand loses, the hand is a push and the player wins back the bet. However, in Pai Gow Poker, absolute ties (i.e. KJ vs. KJ) go to the dealer. So if the player has one winning hand and the other hand ties the dealer hand, say both two card hands are KJ, then the player loses.
PaiGow Poker Playing Fee
Every casino will impose a fee to play Pai Gow Poker. There can be an actual fee to play a hand, or the player could be forced to pay the house 5% on each win. These are the most common playing fees. These fees allow the casino to make money on each hand, as the time required to play each hand can cut into the casino’s profit margin.
In Pai Gow Poker, the joker is not totally wild. The joker may only be used to complete a straight or a flush; otherwise, it is counted as an ace. Of course, the joker is still the card everyone wants to see in their hand.
Player’s should be careful of fouling in Paigow Poker. A foul occurs whenever a player’s two card hand is higher than his or her five card hand. When this happens, the player is punished for the misdeed. The most common punishments are losing the hand automatically, or having the cards rearranged in the house way. Fouling in Pai Gow is the absolute worst thing a player can do.
Banking is an option given to a specific player which allows that player to act as the banker for that hand. Only certain casinos offer banking in Paigow poker. The dealer will still play, and will bet an amount equal to the amount the player who is banking last bet. The player-banker must have enough chips to cover everyone’s bets in order to be the banker. The player-banker will win on ties and will collect the 5% fee for winning. It is generally a very good thing to be the banker whenever the opportunity presents itself. Speaking of opportunity, the opportunity to be the banker will usually rotate around the table, although it could switch in some other manner depending upon the casino.
Co-banking is the same as banking, except that the casino will pay half of the winnings and the player-banker has to arrange his or her hands according to the house way.
A “Pai-gow” is a hand with no pairs, such as Q 9 / K 7 8 6 4. When the player gets a Pai Gow, the result will typically be sorrowing. However, when the dealer receives a Paigow, the table will cheer as most players will win.
Pai Gow Poker is an easy game to learn, and can provide hours of fun on a relatively small bankroll. This makes the game perfect for laid back gamblers and the frugal player. Pai Gow Poker can also serve as a nice change of pace if you’ve been frustrated at more intense casino games. It is my opinion that Pai Gow Poker is a great game to play, and hopefully you will share that opinion as well.
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