Chinese Pai Gow Poker

Pai Gow Poker basics

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.

Pai Gow Poker Rules

Pai-Gow Poker – Have Fun & Win!

Pai gow poker is one of the easiest games to play, and is one of the fastest growing casino games today, its fun and the casino edge when you are the banker is just 1%, making it a good game to win big pots!

Pai-Gow Poker played, using a 53-card deck made up from the standard deck of 52 cards plus a Joker.

To play the dealer will deal seven cards to each player (face up); which must then be “set” two hands are compared with the dealer’s two hands (dealt face down). A comparison of the hands will then determine the winner.

The Rules of Pai-Gow Poker

  1. The first hand of 5 cards must rank higher than the hand of 2 cards.
  2. The hands are ranked according to standard poker rules (chart below).
  3. The Joker can only be used to complete straights or flushes, otherwise it counts as an Ace.
  4. Dealer wins any tie hands.

When the Player wins:

  • The player wins if both the 5-card and the 2-card poker hand outrank the dealer’s hand.

When the Player loses:

  • The player loses if both the 5-card and the 2-card poker hand are outranked by the dealer’s hand.
  • The player also loses if the dealer’s hand outranks either of the two hands and the other hand is identical.

There is a Tie (called a “push”) – When the player wins one hand and the dealer wins the other.

How the Hands/Card Values are ranked

The hands are ranked according to standard poker rules with one exception: the Ace-2-3-4-5 straight is the second highest straight.

Straights rank, from highest to lowest: Ace-K-Q-J-10, Ace-2-3-4-5, K-Q-J-10-9 ? 6-5-4-3-2.

Hand Name Description Example

Five of a Kind 4 aces plus the Joker AS, AH, AD, AC, Joker

Royal Flush 10, J, Q, K, A of same suit 10H, JH, QH, KH, AH

Straight Flush Sequentially, 5 cards same suit 3S, 4S, 5S, 6S, 7S

Four of a Kind 4 cards of same rank 6D, 6S, 6C, 6H

Full House 3 of a kind, plus a pair 2H, 2D, 2S, 3H, 3S

Flush 5 cards of same suit 2D, 4D, 6D, 8D, 9D,

Straight 5 cards in sequence 3H, 4C, 5H, 6S, 7D

Three of a Kind 3 cards of same rank 7H, 7S, 7D

Two Pair 2 pairs of different rank 4H, 4S, 6D, 6S One Pair 1 pair (2 cards) of same rank KD, KH High Card 5 cards of different ranks and suits AH, KS, 10D, 5C, 2C

Pai Gow Tips to win

Here are three tips to help you win.

1. Bank!

When playing Pai Gow poker, bank any time you get the opportunity. The bank wins when hands are copied, which pus odds 1% – 2% in favor of the banker. This is the major way players get the odds in their favor.

Keep in mind the banker must be able to cover the wagers of all other players at the table. For this reason, many players avoid it as they have insufficient.

Find out if the casino allows players to do banking, which will lower the potential cost of a failed hand as banker.

To lower the negative expectation to zero, it is best to bet as much as possible when banking, and as little as possible when not banking.

It is best to bet 6 – 14 times when you bank than when you’re not the banker. In the long term, this evens up the odds in your favor.

Online casinos often limit the amount of hands one player can bank. Banker duties are given in turn around the table.

If a player declines to bank, the opportunity is offered to the next player in sequence. It is best to find a table with no other players and a dealer. By doing this you can bank 1 in 2 hands.

2. Never Play a Full House

A full house should never be played as the upper hand. This will leave a simple high card for the forward hand, which means the player will almost certainly push.

The odds are better to play a three of a kind as the behind hand, with a two of a kind for the forward hand. This will increase your chance of winning considerably

3. Playing 3 Pairs

When a player acquires three pairs, play the highest pair in two card hand.

Any two pairs give a player a good chance to win the five card hand, so it is better to play the highest pair alone, this increases the players chances of beating any potential pair the dealer might play.

If you have six cards to a flush, the odds favor playing the lowest high card for that flush. This means the player saves a higher card to play in the two card hand.

Discover Pai Gow Poker

It’s a fun and easy to play game and the odds against you at 1% as the banker make it attractive. Although its been around for years has started to gain popularity, so discover it for yourself and enjoy it!