Pai Gow Poker is an American interpretation of a traditional Chinese domino game called, simply, Pai Gow. There are many variations on the game, but the most common involves a standard set of 52 cards plus one joker and is played with six people plus a designated “banker.” The banker is the one to beat in this game of chance and strategy. Die-hard Poker lovers enjoy learning this game as a challenge and an interesting twist on traditional forms of Poker, as Pai Gow Poker rules and winning hands vary significantly.
While one may play this card game variation in the majority of casinos, it is advisable to get a good grip on Pai Gow Poker rules and strategies before venturing into a live table in order to avoid losing a significant amount of money during the learning curve. Fortunately, the majority of online casinos offer the game, and this is a great place to master the Pai Gow Poker rules and practice a variety of strategies. Free online casinos are, of course, the best place to practice, but live online games can be found as well, with low enough stakes that you’re not putting too much money at risk while you develop your skill at the game.
Now…let’s learn a bit about Pai Gow Poker.
Basic Pai Gow Poker Rules
As mentioned above, Pai Gow is played with a deck of 53 cards; the standard 52 plus one joker. The most significant differences lie in what constitutes a winning hand. In Pai Gow Poker the unbeatable hand is five-of-a-kind as opposed to the traditional Royal Flush.
Another big difference in Pai Gow Poker rules is that players are wagering against the “banker” rather than each other. The banker is typically the dealer, but may be another designated player, as well.
The game begins with each of the six players receiving seven cards. These seven cards are then divided into two hands; one of five cards, the other of two. Per Pai Gow Poker rules, there is to be no talking or any other form of communication between the players during this time. Each of these hands is then set face down upon the table. Once all players have laid down their cards, then the banker follows suit before all hands are turned up.
Remember, by Pai Gow Poker rules you must beat the banker’s hand rather than your opponents. If you beat the banker with only one hand, this is considered a “push.” In order to win a game of Pai Gow Poker, you must beat the banker with both the two-card and the five-card hand. Additionally, the five-card hand must be of greater value than the two-card hand, created from the original seven.
The Pai Gow Poker rules are different from those of traditional poker, but they are relatively easy to learn. For those who enjoy the challenge of learning a new game, the benefits are well worth the effort especially as the popularity of Pai Gow increases, meaning greater opportunities for competition.