Pai Gow Poker Online Strategy
- Pai Gow Poker (or Double-hand poker strategy) is an Americanized version of Pai Gow, in that it is played with playing cards using poker hand rankings, while Pai Gow is played with Chinese dominoes. The games of Pai Gow poker and Super Pan-9 — though the latter is not a poker game — were co-created by Sam Torosian and Fred Wolf.
In addition to being a games inventor, Fred Wolf was the casino manager of the Commerce Casino in the early 1980′s. Fred Wolf decided to sublet a third of the casino floor space of the Bell Club, in the city of Bell, California, to introduce his new Super Pan-9 game. Fred Wolf needed to innovate new gaming structures in order to overcome the competition of the larger Los Angeles area card casinos, such as the Bicycle Club and Commerce Casino. The games of Pai Gow Poker and Super Pan-9 became immediate crowd favorites, quickly spreading to the entire Californian gaming market, and then, worldwide.
Subsequently, Fred Wolf invented, and obtained U.S. patents on, several new gaming devices which included "Three-special-dice", and games such as "Sweepstakes Blackjack", "Fast-action hold ‘em", "Lucky Pan-9" and "Pai Gow Poker Game jokers".
The card game is played with a standard 52-card deck plus a single joker. It is played on a table set for six players plus the dealer.
Each player is playing against the banker, who may be the casino dealer or one of the other players at the table.
- Object of the Game
The object of the game is for a player to create two poker hands out of the seven cards in his hand: a five-card poker hand and a two-card poker hand. The five-card hand must rank higher than the two-card hand. The two-card hand is often called the hand “in front” or “on top”, and the five-card hand is called the hand “behind” or “bottom”, as they are placed that way in front of the player when he is done setting them.
- The Deal
The cards are shuffled, and then dealt to the table in seven face-down piles of seven cards. Four cards are unused regardless of the number of people playing.
Betting positions are assigned a number from 1 to 7, starting with whichever player is acting as banker that hand, and counting counter-clockwise around the table. A number from 1 to 7 is randomly chosen (either electronically or manually with dice), then the deal begins with the corresponding position and proceeds counter-clockwise. One common way of using dice to determine the dealer starting number is to roll three six-sided dice, and then count gambling spots clockwise from the first position until the number on the dice is reached.
If a player is not sitting on a particular spot, the hand is still assigned, but then placed on the discard pile with the four unused cards.
- Online Hand rankings
The only two-card hands are one pair and high cards.
Five-card hands use standard poker hand rankings with one exception: in most Nevada casinos, the hand A-2-3-4-5 ranks above a king-high straight, but below the ace-high straight A-K-Q-J-10. At most casinos in California and Michigan this rule doesn’t apply; the A-2-3-4-5 is the lowest possible straight.
The joker plays as a bug, that is, in the five-card hand it can be used to complete a straight or flush if possible; otherwise it is an ace. In the two-card hand it always plays as an ace, except in several southern Californian casinos where the joker is completely wild.
- Determining a Win
If each of the player’s now-separated hands beat the banker’s corresponding hand then he wins the bet. If only one of his hands beats the banker then he pushes. If both of his hands lose to the banker then he loses.
On each hand, ties go to the banker (for example, if a player’s five-card hand loses to the banker and his two-card hand ties to him then he loses); this gives the banker a small advantage. If the player fouls his hand, meaning that his low hand outranks his high hand, or that there are an incorrect number of cards in each hand, there will be a penalty: either re-arrangement of the hand according to house rules or forfeiture of the hand.
In casino-banked games, the banker is generally required to set their hand in a pre-specified manner, called the "house way", so that the dealer does not have to implement any strategy in order to beat the players. When a player is banking, he is free to set the hand however he chooses; however, players have the option of "co-banking" with the house, and if this option is chosen then the player’s hand must also be set in the house way.
Californian casinos typically charge a flat fee per hand (such as 5 cents or one dollar) to play, win or lose. Other casinos take, out of the winnings, a 5% commission (usually known as the rake). While this may seem high, a hand of Pai Gow poker takes a long time to play compared to a game like blackjack, and there are many pushes; therefore the house doesn’t collect that 5% as often as it would collect the house percentage on other games.