In pai gow poker each player in turn has the option of being banker. The game is a mixture of the Chinese game pai gow and American poker. It is played with one deck of 52 cards, plus one joker. The joker can be used only as an ace, or to complete a straight, a flush, a straight flush, or a royal flush.
The casino provides the dealer. Each player is dealt seven cards. The cards are arranged to make two hands; a two card hand and a five card hand. The five card hand must rank higher or be equal to the two card hand.
The object of the game is for both of your hands to rank higher than both of your opponent’s hands. Your two card hand must rank higher than your opponent’s two card hand and your five card hand must rank higher than your opponent’s five card hand.
If one of your hands ranks the same as your opponent’s hand, this is a tie (or copy hand). The banker wins all ties. If you win one hand but lose the other, this is known as a ‘push’. In push hands no money is exchanged. Winning hands are paid even money less a five per cent commission. Losing hands lose the money bet.
The dealer and each player in turn are all given the opportunity to be banker. You can only be banker if you bet against the dealer the last time he was banker. You need to have sufficient chips to pay the bets should your opponent win.
You arrange your cards into the two hands and place them face down on the table. Once you’ve put them down, you can no longer touch them. The dealer will turn over his cards and make his hands. Each hand is compared to the dealer’s hands. If the player wins one hand and loses the other, the bet is void (a push). If you wrongly set your hand – you lose.Be careful.
The major disadvantage to this game is that you are relying on the luck of the deal, there is no skill involved. If your cards are poor, there is no opportunity to bluff. The dealer plays his hand if he has the minimum required and does not drop out of the betting.
Ranking of hands in pai gow poker
Five card hand
Five aces (five aces plus the joker)
Four of a kind
Three of a kind
Two card hand
Pai gow poker tips
If you are dealt a hand with no pairs,”five card” your highest ranked card and “two card” your next two highest cards.
If you are dealt a hand with one pair,”five card”the pair and “two card” your next two highest cards.
If you are dealt a hand with 3 pairs always “two card” the highest pair.