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Pai Gow Poker Strategies

Pai Gow Poker is not as popular as some of the other casino games, however there are many people who swear by the game. Although it can be confusing once you learn all of the intricacies of the game you may find that it is your game of choice at the casino. It uses a standard deck, but it also includes one joker into that. This joker however can not be used in its usual fashion. It can only be used as an ace, or to complete a straight or straight flush. To start the game you are dealt seven cards, and you must divide them into two hands, one of five cards and the other having two cards. Your five card hand has to be stronger then your two card hand, i.e. you can not have a pair of aces as you two card hand and only have a pair or tens as your five card hand. The dealer also divides his cards, and then the two hands are compared. Now your two card hand will be judged against the dealers two card hand, as well as the five card hands. If both the dealers’ hands are greater then the player loses. If the result is split then it is a push and no money changes hands. However if the player wins both hands the house takes a five percent commission on the payout. They do this because the house makes so little money on the game that they need this to give them a greater advantage. So on a five dollar bet you would only win 4.75 in return. Those are the basic rules of how to play, however Pai Gow puts a large emphasis on strategy.

The biggest thing to remember in Pai Gow poker is two hands is almost always better then one. If you are dealt a good hand such as a full house it is much better to split it up into three of a kind and the pair in the two card hand. Both of these hands are very likely to win, but while the full house would have won the other two card hand would have probably lost leaving you with a push. Conversely sometimes it is better to have one good hand and concede the other rather then having two poor hands and losing both. With Pai Gow there are a lot of push’s hence there is less money changing hands then in some of the other games. However this allows you to play longer and you can still make money in the long run. Try to gain splits when your cards are bad and then you will be able to stay in long enough to get hands to win with. One thing to remember is a pair in your two card hand will usually be good enough to win that, so if you can it is a good idea to try to put a pair in your two card hand. Pai Gow can be a very fun game that you can play for a long time without a huge bankroll, but you can win in the long run.

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