House Way in Pai Gow Poker
Pai Gow Poker is an unusual game in many aspects, but none more so than in the House Way button. In online Pai Gow Poker, the House Way automatically allows the player to set his hands exactly the way the casino would.
You might think this gives you a unique opportunity to win – if I’m playing exactly as the casino does, you might say, I must have the advantage. It’s a fair point. But it’s completely wrong.
The reason why this is wrong is all to do with the House Edge. The house edge, in simple terms, is the percentage of the money bet in a casino that the casino expects to keep. It varies by game and by bet – for example, the house edge in Blackjack can be as low as 0.6%, whereas in Keno it can be as high as 90%. If the house edge was 0, the player would always win. If it was 100, the player would always lose. As a rule, the closer the house edge is to 0, the better the player’s chances.
The house edge
Casinos stay in business because of the house edge. For games such as Baccarat, where the house edge is around 1.5%, the casino knows that in many cases, players will walk away with a profit. But behind the scenes, working away relentlessly like a money-making machine, is the house edge.
As time goes on, regardless of short term gains and losses, the amount of money the casino makes starts to approach 1.5%. This may not seem a lot, but 1.5% of 1,000,000 is still 15,000. Multiply this by every game and every table and you’ll see why the casinos are such extravagant establishments.
So what does this have to do with Pai Gow Poker? Everything! Because the house edge ensures that the casino will win in the long term, the House Way button is not designed to win every game, but to minimise losses. It’s like the casino’s patient servant, lulling the player into a false sense of security, whilst slowly, gently, picking his pocket!
Should Pai Gow Poker fans ignore the House Way button? Not at all. If you know what you’re doing, it can be an important weapon in your winning strategy.
Strategies to win
At the Casinos Guide, we describe three strategies for winning at Pai Gow Poker, suited to either low, medium or higher-risk punters. These strategies involve the use of four separate elements; a basic rule to set your hands (suitable for most hands you’re dealt), more advanced rules for less common hands, the bonus bet and, of course, the House Way button.
Understanding these on their own and in combination with each other is the path to winning at Pai Gow Poker.
If you’re new to the game, the House Way button can give you an insight into the way the casino minimises its losses. But always remember that, to win, the House Way needs the House edge – and that is never on your side!
If you think you’d like to try Pai Gow Poker, but are unsure of the rules, come on over to our Odds, rules and strategies site. And if you don’t know your flush from your full house, don’t worry – we have a handy Poker Hand Ranks reference table there too!