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Two Hands Are Better Than One: The Ultimate Pai Gow Poker Guide
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What's better than winning a hand of Poker? Winning two hands at once. Learn more with this ultimate Pai Gow Poker guide.
As the most popular card game in all the world, poker has a huge number of variants. Online poker revenue makes up about 50% of the online gambling market, which illustrates its popularity. And this doesn't even account for those who love to head off to land-based casinos and hedge their bets in person!
One incredibly fun and exciting poker variation is called Pai Gao poker. Here, we're going to examine not only what this variation is, but what its rules are and how to play to win. Read on for some information on Pai Gow poker so that you can get started with a new game!
What Is Pai Gow Poker?
Pai Gao poker is an Americanized version of a game called Pai Gow. The game, originally played with Chinese dominoes, was adapted from the original Chinese format by someone named Fred Wolf in the 1980s. He made it into a game that can be played with a 52-card deck (plus one joker) instead of the traditional dominoes.
He was a casino manager in Los Angeles, and after the game showed itself to be fun and popular, he opened an unused floor of the casino specifically for Pai Gow poker. The game was an immediate hit with casino visitors, which lead to other casinos picking it up, too.
Some casinos call it double-hand poker rather than Pai Gow poker, so if you're looking for a place to play and don't see the original name, look for double-hand poker. Today, it's a favorite game of both in-person and online gamblers alike, so it should be an option at most poker venues!
How to Play Pai Gao
Now that you know a little about Pai Gow poker, it's time to take a look into how you can play this fun and exciting card game. Read on to learn how to play this adrenaline-inducing casino game and start winning big!
Basic Rules of the Game
To play Pai Gow poker, you'll need a maximum of six players. You'll also need a 52-card deck and one joker.
The six players sit around the table along with the dealer. The object of the game is to beat the banker, who is predetermined by the group. The banker can be the dealer, another player at the table, or a team of the dealer and a player. Any of these options are totally fine- just make sure that everyone agrees beforehand to avoid confusion.
Seven cards are then dealt to each player by the dealer. Your job is to then divide these cards into two separate hands.
The first is a five-card high hand and the second is a two-card low hand. Your high hand must beat your low hand, meaning that if you end up with a low hand of a four and a six, your high hand needs to exceed ten.
This is why some casinos call it double-hand poker!
How to Choose a Hand
For the two-card hand, the only real choices that you have are to make pairs and high cards. Keep this in mind when you have all seven cards laid out in front of you- you want to make sure that your two-hand card has one of these options. If you can't do this, stop considering the two-card hand at all focus on making the big hand as good as possible. You want to win at least one hand.
The five-card hand is the same size as a normal poker hand, so standard poker hand rankings apply to it.
Like we said before, your big hand must outrank your small hand. Not only does this ensure that you have the best hands possible, but it's the official rule for the game.
But what about the joker?
This card is worthless in the small hand. In the big hand, though, the joker can be used to complete a straight or a flush. If there are no straights or flushes to be found, the joker becomes a normal ace. An ace is high in poker, so this is still pretty awesome.
Outcomes of Your Hands
Once your hands are all set, the dealer reveals them along with everyone else's (including the banker's.) There are three possible results to this:
- The player wins both their large and small hands, which means that they win the entirety of their bet
- The player loses both their large and small hands, which means that they lose the entirety of their bet
- The player wins one hand and the dealer wins the other one. In this case, the hand is known as a "push." No money is awarded or lost in this scenario.
In Pai Gow poker, all ties go to the dealer, so make sure that your hand is unbeatable!
As with almost every variety of poker, you're going to need to perfect your poker face to make sure that people don't think that you have bad cards. Deception is key in poker, and that in and of itself is a ton of fun!
The rules to Pai Gow poker may sound a bit complex, but don't fear! The game is quite simple once you get the hang of it. Plus, it's a lot of fun to play both in a raving casino environment as well as from the comfort of your own home.
Now that you know how to play Pai Gow poker, it's time to get some more information as to where you can start playing it. Check out the 'poker' section under the 'games' tab on our home page. Here, you'll be able to browse casinos where you can play Pai Gow poker. You'll also be able to learn about other poker games that may catch your interest.
Have fun betting and good luck!
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