Introduction To Pai Gow: The Chinese Version of Poker
This game is probably close to universally accepted as being the best game for a beginner to cut their teeth on, the advanced player will eventually want to branch out and learn other card games. Some obvious choices for branching out include Omaha, Seven Card Stud and their Hi/Lo and lowball counterparts, but a game that people do not talk about that much is Chinese Poker.
It is rather unfortunate that not that many people know how to play Chinese Poker because as a game it is one of the most challenging card games on the face of the planet.
The Basic Premise of Pai Gow
The basic premise of Chinese Poker is that you are dealt 13 cards and play against the person sitting across from you. You can play the game with two or four players, but the best Chinese Poker games are played with four so that the adversarial relationships can be switched around as the game goes on.
With the 13 cards that you are dealt, you need to make one hand of three cards and two hands of five cards. These are known as the front, middle and back hands respectively.
There are not that many restrictions in making these hands, but you do need to make sure in the hand construction that the front hand is smaller than the middle hand and the middle hand is smaller than the back hand. If you are not familiar with Pai Gow Poker you will recognize this stipulation as a running theme through all versions of Oriental poker games.
Once you have set your hands, you compare them to your opponents and score a point for each hand of yours that is higher than your opponents. A clean sweep would score 3 points, a win on two of the hands and a loss on the other would score 1 point and of course you can also lose 1 and lose 3 points to your opponent if the opposite scenarios take place.
Over the course of the game the point differential will switch based on each new hand and at the end of the game the loser is required to pay the winner an amount of money equivalent to the point differential multiplied by whatever monetary value had been attached to each point at the start of the game.
Advantages of Chinese Poker
The main advantage of the game is that there are not a lot of casino players that know how to play chinese poker. For this reason if you are able to get really good at the game you can easily beat other players and win money from them.
For the people that enjoy the challenge, chinese poker also allows for exercising your critical thinking skills on a large level that dwarfs Texas HoldEm or any of the other currently popular poker variants and that in turn means that you get a lot more out of the challenge if you are the type of person that enjoys it.