Understanding Pai Gow Poker: Concepts, Gameplay, and Mechanics

Pai Gow Poker is one of the easiest games because of its plain and nothing short of simple rules and gameplay. Many even opine that the game’s basic principles can be easily acquired just by observing it in action. Although this may be true, understanding the game in a professional perspective is still the best way for one to gain advantage among others. Despite the fact that Pai Gow Poker is a simple game, it does require a lot of thinking. More often than not, players of the game are seen concentrating and strategizing in a very serious manner. This is perhaps the irony behind the game: it tends to be very simple yet every move is as important as the former one to ensure triumph at the end of the round.


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Where to Play

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Humble Beginnings: The History of Pai Gow Poker
From its name alone, one can derive that Pai Gow Poker has originated in Asia. True enough, the game was even regarded as the mos cosmopolitan form of gambling in the aforementioned continent. It was only referred to as Pai Gow in the ancient times, but ever since its Westernized version was developed it was termed Pai Gow Poker. Historians even claim that the game originally used small bricks as its medium as opposed to its modern-day counterpart that primarily utilizes a set of cards. The small bricks resemble domino bricks in form but they are inscribed with Chinese characters and not merely dot patterns. The cards were also patterned from the Chinese characters so that the traditional mechanics of the game is preserved.

Pai Gow Poker Contraptions and Setting
The game uses a set of 2 cards that are specially designed for its gameplay only. Included in the deck is a single Joker card. This card is deemed as the tricky card since it pretty much has tricks hidden on its sleeves. It can take on the role of an ace if the player who has gotten it says so. It can also be used as a substitute to any missing link in powerful patterns such as a flush, a straight flush, etc. Pai Gow Poker is played on a table that is very similar to that of blackjack’s. Each round accommodates at least 6 different players, and only one dealer can facilitate the game. In addition, one player is to take on the role of the banker, someone who is tasked to play against the rest of the players. Other casinos may provide third-party bankers. However, if the players want the banker to come from one of them, this policy is waived.

Gaming Mechanics – Playing Pai Gow Poker
Like other gambling forms, players are asked to put their bets on the table before the round commences. Once this is done, the dealer, as if on cue, will shuffle all of the cards and deal them out in 7 groups, each having 7 cards. The banker will then roll the dice to determine who gets to play first. After the first player has been identified, everyone will be tasked to come up with their own patterns for a two-card hand and a five-card hand. The five-card hand is placed at the bottom while the two-card hand is placed on top. The winning player or players are determined based on the patterns that beats the hands of the banker. A player is said to have won the round if he beats both hands. If only a single hand beats the other, the player is said to have a push, which is simply a tie, and thus he is considered as neither a winner or a loser. A player only loses if the banker wins over his two hands.

It is important to single out that the top hand or the two-card hand is more powerful than the bottom hand. Players should always place their highest cards on the top hand. If, in case, the higher cards are seen at the bottom hand, the player is said to have a foul and technically loses the round.

Basic Jargons and Gaming Strategies

Back – the five-card hand
Front – the two-card hand
No Pair – the player places the highest card at the back and the other two highest in front
One Pair – the player places the pair at the back and the two highest cards in front
Two Big Pair having Jack thru Ace – the player should put the small pair on front
Two Big Pair having 7s thru 10s – the player should put both pairs at the back, and if applicable, the ace should be in front
Two Big Pair having 2s thru 6s – the player should put both pairs at the back, and if applicable, the king should be in front; otherwise consider a split
Three Pairs – the player should put the big pair in front
Three of a Kind Aces – the player should put one ace in front together with the next highest card
Three of a Kind Kings and Below – the player should put the three at the back and the highest cards in front

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