Online Pai Gow poker is a casino game that looks a lot like poker, but you get to play against the casino instead of other players. The goal of online pai gow poker is to get a better hand than the casino. However, you play with two hands, namely one Texas Hold’em and one five-card draw hand. With Pai Gow poker, it often happens the game ends in a tie because you must win both hands to double your bet. Extremely exciting to play, but difficult to master, Pai Gow is a great game for all casino players.
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Pai Gow is originally a Chinese card game that comes from Mahjong tiles. Over time, the tiles got replaced by playing cards and the hand values have become the same as in poker. Due to the popularity of the game, you can now play Pai Gow online in a lot of online casinos.
The main reason that Pai Gow became so popular is that it’s a nice variation on the regular poker games. With games like Carribean Stud Poker, there is a link with the poker game, but as a player, you don’t need to think a lot. With online pai gow poker, this is slightly different.
Although the rules of this poker variant seem a little confusing at the beginning, the game Pai Gow is a simple game that’s easily understandable. Our experts take you through the basics of the game step by step, so you can quickly get to know all the details of the Pai Gow Poker world. Read the most important rules below:
When you start up the game, you are greeted by a similar screen to this picture. In an online Pai Gow game, you will be battling it off against the dealer.
It is time to place your bet and play some cards. Choose the amount you want to wager and press the 'Deal' button. Both you and the dealer get seven cards each. After viewing your cards, you can divide them into two hands, the backhand and the front hand. You can arrange the cards by clicking on the cards. There is an important rule: the five-card hand must ALWAYS have a higher value than the two-card hand has. Other than that, try to create the two strongest hands so you can beat the dealer!
Let's take a look at an example
Normally, you wouldn't be able to see the dealers' cards, but we show it to you for the example.
Now, in this example you have the following cards:
Divide them so you have the best possible chance of beating the dealer in both hands! (Remember, you don't see the dealers' cards).
A solid strategy is to divide them like this:
Now you have a solid pair in the front, giving you good odds of winning that hand, and with a pair of kings in the back hand you cannot complain either. Click on split to see what the dealer has!
During the last phase of the game, your hands will be compared to the hands of the dealer.
Online pai gow poker also has a ‘bug’. A bug is a joker, that can be used freely to a certain extent. You can complete a straight or a flush (or straight flush) with it, or use it as an ace. However, you can’t use it as a joker with a king to make a pair of kings with two cards.
The intention is to win with the two hands against the dealer’s two hands. If you win with one hand, neither wins. If you lose both, the house wins. If you win, you win an amount but you must give up 5% commission as the house edge.
If you don’t know how to best arrange your cards, you can click on the ‘House Way’ button. The computer will then arrange your hands as best as possible. This will be done in the same way at the dealer’s hands. You can decide to organize your cards differently, but the ‘House Way’ is usually the best way.
Pai Gow poker is a fairly easy game to learn and it does not require enormous amounts of strategic knowledge. Although, to have success, you must know the chances this game has to offer.
A little more than 40 percent of the time, one of the player’s hands will beat the dealer/banker and the other will lose against the dealer/banker. The other 60 percent of the time it ‘s distributed equally. However, the dealer/banker has a 1.5 percent margin over the player because the dealer/banker wins copies, which means if two hands are the same (i.e. both players have an AA in front of them), the dealer/banker will win the hand. Pai Gow Poker players can also take the role of the banker, the house makes money by taking a 5 percent commission on all the winning bets.
Pai Gow Poker opportunities if you are a banker
If somebody plays Pai Gow Poker only as a player, the built-in 5 percent commission grants the house a margin of around 2.6 percent. The player has the option to be a banker once per round and to book all of the opponent’s bets. This is a good position because the banker wins the copies and he only has to pay his commission after all the profits and losses have been collected. This gives the player/banker a margin of around 0.2 percent. This margin balances the player during the hands if he is not the banker to make a general house margin of just 1.2 percent.
Online pai gow poker offers interesting possibilities also, for example, you can unlock casino bonuses. The advantage of the house with pai gow poker is around 2,5%, but because of the fact there’s a possibility of a tie is really high, this percentage is actually lower.
However, you must know how to play your poker hands optimally.
Pai Gow Poker strategy is not as rich as, for example, poker strategies. Nevertheless, there are a couple of tips that will help you maximize your profits, or at least your playing time.
These are a couple of easy tips to improve your Pai Gow Poker:
Try to be the giver as often as possible. When you are the giver, you always play with the best odds. The advantage of the job is more or less neutralized. As a logical consequence of the previous tips, play on tables with few players. The less the better. This way, you can be the giver more often. Play the ‘way of the house’, even if you are not the giver. Play with your hands as the croupier should play them. This is the best playing strategy.
Below is a graph of the Pai Gow Poker ‘house style’, the strategy that has to be followed by the croupier. This is namely the optimal strategy for your own game.
The Pai Gow Poker way of the house can vary between casinos, but the differences are very small, and most of the time not important at all.
How to play:
Play the highest card in the five-card hand and the next two highest cards in the two-card hand.
Play the pair in the five-card hand and the next two highest cards in the two-card hand.
Ace and any other pair – always split.
Open card pair and pair 6 or higher – always split.
Two pairs of 6 or lower – never split.
Any other 2 pair – split, unless the hand contains an ace; then play the ace in the two-card hand.
Play the highest pair in the two-card hand.
Play the three of a kind in the five-card hand – but split three aces.
Two times three of a kind – play the lowest three of a kind in the five-card hand and split the higher three of a kind to play a pair in the two-card hand.
Play as a five-card hand.
Six card street – play the highest card in the two-card hand.
Five or six-card street with a pair – play the pair in the two-card hand.
Street with two pairs – play the two pair-rule.
Play as a five-card hand.
Six-card flush – play the highest card in the two-card hand.
Five or six-card flush with a pair – play the pair in the two-card hand.
Flush with two pairs – play the two pair-rule.
A flush and a street with no pairs – play the combination that results in the highest two-card hand.
Split, except with a pair of 2s or if an ace-king, can be played in the two-card hand
Play according to the rank:
2 to 6 – play in the five-card hand.
7 to 10 – split, except when a pair or an ace and a card can be played in the two-card hand.
Jack up to and including King – split, unless the hand also contains a pair of 10s or higher.
Aces – split, except when there is a pair of 7s or higher can be played in the two-card hand.
Play in the five-card hand.
Split if the hand contains two pairs of 10s or higher, or a pair of aces and any other pair.
If the hand contains any two pairs and an ace, play the 2 pairs in the five-card hand and the ace in the two-card hand.
Play a street or flush instead of the suite as it causes a card or higher to be played in the two-card hand.
Play in the five-card hand.
Ace Suite with a pair, play the pair in the two-card hand.
Two pair ace suite – play the two pair-rule.
Split the suite with ace if an ace, king or a pair can be played in the two-card hand and a street or flush can be kept in the five-card hand.
Split, except when a pair of kings can be played in the two-card hand.
In traditional poker, a player’s budget is his tool. The more money he has, the more room he has to manifest himself against his opponents. Money management is also important to Pai Gow Poker, but for other reasons than the classic version.
If you want to be successful at Pai Gow Poker, you must bring enough money to be the bank, that is, to cover the bets of all other players at the table. This means you have to bring considerably more money to the table than players who are just going to play their own hands.
However, there are advantages to be the bank and they are well worth risking more money. Try to see how many people bet per hand and put together a budget that is large enough to cover that amount a few times.
Remember that at Pai Gow the winners must pay five percent commissions on all winning bets. This must be included in your budget. The commissions will take up your winnings to a certain extent. You need a budget that can cope with a period of breakdown.
Pai Gow Poker is a game that develops rather slowly. If you lose an entire bet and you started with a reasonable budget, you will probably have been playing for a while. By that time you may want to get up and go for a walk or you want to stop for that day.