Pai Gow Poker
Pai Gow poker is a simple table game that offers the player a chance to hit a big hand that can pay as high as 8,000 to 1 on their bet. These days, Pai Gow poker is a favorite with gamblers who are risk-averse. A hand of Pai Gow poker plays out fairly slowly. Also, the game has many pushes, where the casino and the player tie and no bets are paid either way. While players can go on nice streaks and can have requisite bad luck, these game mechanics mean players (usually) can play long sessions without losing all their money.
The deck used in Pai Gow poker includes 53 cards. The cards comprising this deck are the standard 52-card poker deck, along with one joker. Seven players can sit at the table at any given time. Seven cards are dealt to each player, so 49 active cards are dealt each hand, while 4 cards are burnt or go in the discard pile.
If the table doesn’t have the full seven player compliment, then seven cards are dealt to the empty seat as if a player was sitting there, then moved to the discard pile by the dealer. In some California casinos, a “dragon hand” is dealt to the empty seat or seats. When using the dragon hand rules, players have the option to take on the betting action for this hand, in order of betting for that round.
Players are dealt seven cards and break those cards up into a five-card hand and a two-card hand. They will play their hands against a dealer in a head-to-head match, getting 1 to 1 on their bet if they win both hands.
The object of Pai Gow Poker is for a player to create two poker hands out of the seven-card hand he/she is dealt by the dealer: a five-card hand, and a two-card poker hand.
According to the rules, the five-card hand rank must exceed the two-card hand, and that is why the two-card hand is often called the hand “in front” or “on top” or “hair”, or the “small” or “minor” or “low” hand. The five-card hand is called the hand “behind”, or the “bottom” or “high” or “big” (as they are placed that way in front of the player, when the player is done setting them).
House Edge In Pai Gow Poker
The Pai Gow House Edge playing house rules against a player who does not bank (acts as the banker for other players to play against) is 2.84%. Most of that edge (1.27%) comes from players losing a tie to the bank. The rest comes from the 5% commission that’s paid on winning hands.
When a player decides that they will be the bank in Pai Gow poker, their chances to win will increase. If the Casino allows them to bank half of their hands they will lower the negative expectation from 2.84% down to 1.42%. If they’re able to bank more hands that number will continue to decrease.