Pai Gow poker is a variation of pai gow, usually played with plastic playing cards rather than traditional Chinese dominoes. The earliest version of this game was developed in the US by Sam Torosian, the first owner of the now-famous Bell Card Club.
This variant of pai gow is often confused with a bridge, as they both involve the use of playing cards containing four different cards. However, the difference between the two is that in the bridge, each player takes turns placing their bets in a pre-determined pattern, whilst in pai gow, each player only takes a turn when a card is flipped face-up.
How Pai Gow Poker is Played
Pai gow also involves the playing of three of the five different hands. Each player starts the session by selecting one hand, either the first, second or third, to be the playing hand. Once the required number of players has been set – usually, four – the dealer will deal seven cards to the players, followed immediately by another pile of cards from the deck to the remaining players.
The playing starts with the dealer dealing seven cards face-up, followed immediately by another round of cards dealt with the players in an even fashion. This continues until all the cards have been dealt, at which point the dealer will take a card from the deck and flip it face up.
The selected card is placed in front of all the other players, whose hands are then matched. If any player has a card to remove from the deck, the dealer will announce and all players will flop their cards together.
The dealer will then remove the card from the deck, making it face-up, and then deal seven more cards to the players, who are now facing the same direction as the card removed from the deck. This is referred to as the flop.
Every player is dealt a hand, consisting of seven cards face-up. The cards are arranged in pairs, and then each player gets five cards to build their hand. After the initial rounds of betting, if any player has a high hand, the dealer may decide to reveal the joker, and the other players will have to choose a card from the discard pile without knowing what it is. If no cards are chosen, the joker will be flipped over, and the poker game will end. Most casinos use the standard 52-card deck, but some add a fifth card to the deck for the final gameplay.
Pai Gow Poker Tournaments
In addition to regular table games, Pai gow is also used for online poker tournaments. You can play with many experienced pai gow poker players on the Internet There are several types of Pai Gow poker tournaments, depending upon the specific rules of each tournament.
A player will alternate turns in a normal tournament, playing against someone else, until there are no more opponents left to play. Then the player finishing first goes into the next round, and the process is repeated. The winning player of each tournament is awarded the prize money.
The Low Hands Game
Another popular game at a Pai Gow poker table is low hands. This is a variation of regular casino poker, where each player has four cards to deal with and may either call, raise, or fold. Low hands are a great way to learn when it is appropriate to raise a hand and when it is appropriate to fold. Sometimes it may be advantageous to call a raise when the dealer has a good strong hand, but the dealer may also have numerous low cards to act out your call.
Types of Betting
Pai Gow poker provides for various types of betting. Theoretically, the best way to win is to play a straight set, and the worst way is to play a five-card hand. In reality, however, both types of betting will produce a winning hand.
It is mainly dependent on which way a player bets and how much they raise and fold that determines whether they will go home with a profit or a loss. If a player is willing to stay in the game long enough and learn the various styles of betting available, then they are sure to enjoy the game and become a professional player.