Monday, October 10, 2016
Have You Played Pai Gow Poker Recently?
I have played Pai Gow Poker a number of times in Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe as well as in our local Casino. However, in most Casinos the lowest bet is $5.00. However in some Casinos in Lake Tahoe, there are tables with only a $2.00 minimum bet. In this way if your gambling money is only $250, you can play longer. In the table with minimum of $5, you should have at least $500 capital to play. For that reason, I have not played Pai Gow Poker for the last 4 years. My gambling entertainment budget is for only $250. So what is Pai Gow Poker. Here's what Wikipedia says:
Pai gow poker (also called double-hand poker) is an Americanized version of Pai gow (in that it is played with playing cards bearing poker hand values, instead of Pai gow's Chinese dominoes). The games of Pai gow poker and Super Pan-9 were created by Sam Torosian and Fred Wolf.
The 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 attempts to defeat the banker (who may be the casino dealer, or one of the other players at the table).
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's rank must exceed the two-card hand's, 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).
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.
There are a number of variations of Pai Gow poker that are popular in casinos today. These variations were mainly formulated in 2004 - 2009. Pai Gow Mania was the first variation to be created which allows for two side bets instead of the traditional one side bet per hand. Fortune Pai Gow is another variation which allows players to make a side bet on a poker hand ranking of trips or better. This is one of the most popular variations. Similar to fortune pai gow, is emperors challenge which also allows a side bet on a 7 card pai gow (no hand). The final variation of the game developed was Pai Gow progressive, which is the addition of a progressive jackpot to the pai gow table. This jackpot is the combined of $1 side bets placed by players during the play.
The 6 card Pai Gow Poker Variation:
There is a six Card Pai Gow Poker variation( not popular) of the basic popular seven-card game. It features head-to head play against the dealer and an optional bonus bet. Players and the dealer each get six cards to make two poker hands—a five-card “high” hand and a one-card “low” hand. The dealer then compares his five-card hand with each player’s five-card hand, and he compares his one-card hand with each player’s one-card hand. If the player wins both matchups, he is paid 1 to 1 on his standard wager. If he loses both matchups, he loses his standard wager. If he wins one and loses one, the standard wager is a push. The house wins copies. Exceptions: 1) If the player uses a Joker in his low hand, it beats any dealer low hand. There is no commission on winning bets. There is no player banking. The game is played with a 53-card deck, including a joker that is used as an Ace or to complete a straight or flush. A2345 is the second-highest straight.
I played this variation in Las Vegas a decade ago, I like it because you do not pay a commission. I believe this is only played in Las Vegas and only in a few Casinos. Last year when I asked our local Indian Casino if they have this variation, they stared at me as if I was in another planet. I really enjoyed this game, since it is much easier to play than the regular 7 card game.
The following video show how to play basic 7 card Pai Gow Poker!