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How To Play Pai Gow Poker

Written by Jason Frakk. Last updated on

Pai gow poker (also known as double-hand poker) is played among up to seven players.

One of the players is designated as the player-dealer.

Every player on the table is dealt seven cards, which are arranged into two hands.

One hand consists of five cards; the other hand consists of two cards.

After players have arranged their hands so the five-card hand ranks higher than the two-card hand, the house dealer reveals and arranges the player-dealer’s hand-dealer.

Hands then compete, one at a time, as in a blackjack game, against the player-dealer hand.

Clockwise, the player hands compete against the player-dealer hand, beginning with the hand in an order determined by the shaking of dice.

Poker rankings are used by double-hand in comparing the two player hands with the player-dealer’s two hands.

If you are a player, you will lose if both hands are beaten by those of the player-dealer and win if both hands beat those of the player-dealer.

The dealer is declared the winner if either hand ties that of the player-dealer. Neither win nor loss is pushed by the player if one hand wins and the other hand ties or loses.

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The Deck

In pai gow poker, 53 cards make up the deck, 52 arranged into spades, four suits, hearts, diamonds, and clubs, plus one joker.

Unlike bridge and other games, no suit is “worth” more than any other.

A total 13 cards make a suit, ranked, from lowest to highest: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, jack, queen, king, ace. An ace can also rank as the lowest card, but only in a 5-high straight. That is, A-K-Q-J-10 is the highest straight, while in this hand, the straight 5-4-3-2-A, the ace is the lowest card.

In five-card hands, the joker can be used to complete any straight or flush. In any other five-card hand, the joker ranks as an ace.

The play

pai gow poker

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The player-dealer puts up a bank against which the remaining players make wagers.

Each player may take the bank twice. A player, in turn, may decline or accept the player-dealer position. Piles (seven hands) are dealt by the house directly in front of the chip tray, with seven cards making up each hand.

One of the seven piles is selected by the player-dealer as the first hand to be delivered.

After each player arranges his hands, he places the hands in his front, with the front hand (two-card hand) in front of the back hand (five-card hand).

The front hand must not rank higher than the back hand, and a player can make a request for the house dealer to set the hand for him.

Another important thing is that order in which the hands are competing against the player-dealer, because not all player hands may compete if the player-dealer loses his stake.

After a player-dealer has had two opportunities to put up a bank, the next player clockwise has the option of putting up a bank.

No player is ever obligated to put up a bank.

The house dealer controls the shuffling and dealing of the cards, orderliness of the game, and the house collections for each hand. Whoever wagers the most on a hand determines how to set the hand.

Pai gow poker is for you if you are interested in a gambling experience where you are not likely to lose all your money within minutes.

Because there are lots of ties resulting in a push on the bet of the player, and the fact that the game is played at a very slow pace, pai gow poker does not always lead to heavy losses or dramatic swings, and the game can be played for a long time without the need for you to spend a lot of money.

Not a Variant Game

You should consider playing pai gow poker because it is not a variant game, meaning that only a version of the game exists, and while there might be minor tweaks of odds slightly favoring the house, it is still considered a cool game for those just starting in the gambling world.

The hand you are playing will determine how the odds change slightly, but you should be diligent enough to make the changes in your strategy when the odds are revealed.

To Win

winning pai gowTo win, both player hands must rank higher than the player-dealer’s two hands.

Succeeding at pai gow poker requires closely following the rules.

The game is arguably the simplest gambling game developed ever and most first-time and beginner gamblers believe the game can be mastered after playing one or two rounds.

Though this is true to some extent, it is necessary for a beginner to first know and learn the basic mechanics and the different rules of the game if he must always be a winner.

The game is very noticeable with its characteristic silent atmosphere in the casino room because of the high level of concentration of the players.

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