Pai Gow Poker
This combination of traditional poker and the game of Chinese dominoes is a very interesting one. For this game, a standard 52-card deck is used, but just to throw things off a little, a Joker is also thrown into the mix making it 53 cards in total. The Joker can be used as an ace, or to complete a flush or a straight. One of the reasons that Pai Gow poker is so much fun to play is because of the extra card; if you're lucky, it could really change things for you.
Pai Gow poker offers relatively good odds of 2.3%; however, to play as close to these odds as possible, you must play the game with good strategy in place. The game is based on making the best two hands out of 7 cards; one 5-cards hand, and one 2-card hand. Because two hands are involved in this game, you are prone to making more mistakes than at conventional poker, so be extra careful.
Pai Gow Card Ranking
Because of the extra Joker, the ranking of hands differs slightly from all other poker variations. The highest hand is five aces (4 Aces and Joker), which beats the Royal Flush. Also, there are no straights or flushes in a two-card hand, so the highest hand possible is A-A and the lowest is 2-3.
Flow of the Game
- You play against the dealer's two hands. The object is to win both hands, as winning one results in a tie.
- To begin play, you must place your bet on the designated area.
- Each player is dealt 7 cards face down, including the dealer.
- Each player must then make the best two hands possible; one 5-card hand and another 2-card hand. Make sure that the 5-card hand is higher than the 2-card hand; if the 5-card hand is lower than the 2-card hand, the hand is declared 'dead' and you lose your money. An example of a dead hand would be A-Q-J-8-3 and 4-4; a pair is naturally higher than a high A-Q.
- When the hands are revealed, whoever wins both hands (player or dealer) wins the round. If you beat only one hand, it's a tie and you win back what you wagered.
Pai Gow poker is one of the more complex poker games because it involves great skill and mastery. Not only do you have to create the best two hands possible, you also have to beat both of the dealer's hands to win.