Pai Gow poker is an Americanized version of Chinese Domino game known with the same name. This game was invented by Sam Torosian in 1985 while running a Bell card club in California. This version of poker is considered as a slow rate card game with a low risk profile. Even though the game-play of the Pai Gow poker is quite simple but still a player must be aware of the poker hand values.
Pai Gow poker is played by using a normal 52 cards standard deck along with a single joker which acts as a semi-wild card. The table setting for this game comprises of six players plus a dealer. The game-play requires each player to defeat the dealer in a casino or other player acting as a dealer at a home game. As common with all table games, this game also requires that a player must place a bet before receiving his or her share of cards from the dealer.
The bet made by the player before receiving the cards is only for the duration of the hand to be dealt at that time. The betting amount must be within the maximum and minimum limits as prescribed by the dealer.
The Deal of Pai Gow Poker
Each player along with the dealer receives seven cards from a properly shuffled deck of cards. Before receiving the cards all the players need to make the bet. Once all the players plus the dealer receives their cards, the four remaining cards are left as the muck pile.
Arrangement of Hands in Pai Gow Poker
Pai Gow poker requires its players to arrange their cards into two poker hands. These two poker hands include a five-card and a two-card poker hands. The five-card poker hand is also known as the “big hand” or the “back hand”. The two-card poker hand, as expected, is known as “small hand” or the “front hand”. These names are given to the poker hands, based on their position in front of the player.
The joker which is a semi-wild card can substitute for any rank to form a winning poker hand. If it is not replacing any other card then it acts as an ace. In a two-card hand, it is always valued as an ace.
During the setting of the two hands the “back hand” must outrank the “front hand”.
Showdown of Pai Gow Poker
Once all the players plus the dealer have set their hands, they are needed to compare theirs with that of the dealer. An individual player compares his or her two hands with the corresponding hands of the dealer. While comparing the hands, the outcome can result in
- Both hands of the player can be better than the dealer.
- Only one of the player’s hands is better than the dealer.
- Both of the player’s hands are worse than the dealer.
In the above mentioned outcomes, for the first one player makes out with 1:1. For the second outcome, it’s a push which means that neither of the two wins the bet. For the last one, it is clearly a lost bet for the player and the dealer gets paid.