Rules of Pia Gow Poker

An Introduction to Pai Gow Poker
The game of Pai Gow poker is fun to play and easy to learn. Another name for the game is Double-hand Poker, and the American version of the original game of Pai Gow. The major difference between the two is in terms of the elements used – playing cards in Pai Gow poker compared to Chinese dominoes in Pai Gow. You play Pai Gow Poker with the usual card pack that you see in other poker games – the 52-card pack.

There is one small addition; apart from the 52 cards the pack also uses one solitary joker during the course of a game. Each Pai Gow poker table can seat up to six players, which makes it seven people in all including the dealer. The objective of the game is to defeat the banker. The banker, like in some of the other poker games, is usually either a dealer from the casino or one of the players.

With this background information, we will move on to discuss the rules associated with the game.

































Basic Pai Gow Poker Rules
Prior to starting a game, the players are required to put up some wagering amount. This money comes from the players, not the dealer. Once the stake has been introduced the Pai Gow game can get under way.

The dealer starts dealing cards to players. Each player ends up getting seven cards each. Once the dealer deals these seven cards, the rule requires players to split this single seven-card hand into two separate hands – one had consisting of five cards and another having just two cards. In the case of the five-card hand, the card values are similar to poker. There is one small change, though – among the Straight Flushes, the highest hand is A-K-Q-J-10 but the second highest hand is not K-Q-J-10-9; it is A-2-3-4-5. 

When it comes to the two-card hand, the only high possibility is a pair, as that would knock down any two other cards that are not the same. When arranging the cards into the two hands – five-card and two-card – the trick is to ensure that the higher of the two hands is the five-card hand. Once the players have arranged their cards into the two hands, they place their cards face down on the table. 



More Pai Gow Rules
During the time that the players are arranging their seven cards into the two hands, the dealer’s cards must be face down on the table. Players are also not allowed to discuss their hands among themselves. The dealer’s cards are placed face up only after all the players’ hands have been put down. Once the dealer’s cards are placed face up, none of the players are allowed to touch their own hands. The dealer also has to split his hand into five-card and two-card hands.

The players’ cards are placed face up after the dealer’s hand has been split into two. You can compare your five-card hand with the dealer’s five-card hand, and your two-card hand with the corresponding one that the dealer has. 



Pai Gow Poker Rules – Winning a Hand
The following are the rules related to winning a hand. A player can win his wagered money back if both his hands (the five-card as well as the two-card) beat the two hands of the dealer. If the dealer and the player win a hand each, the situation is called a push and the money remains as is; it does not go to anybody. On the other hand, if the dealer wins both the hands, he takes the stake that the player had put in. In the case of a tie in a hand, the winning entity is the dealer. This gives the dealer an edge over the players because all he has to do to win a hand is tie a game.

In games where the banker is not a player but the casino itself, the hands are set according to the ‘house way.’ This is done to ensure that the dealer does not require any special strategy to win. In games where the banker is a player, he is given the option of setting the hand as he wishes. He also has the option of co-banking, which means he banks together with the casino. The flip side to this is he has to set his hand according to the rule specified by the house, i.e. the house way.

Finally, we come to the joker. In Pai Gow Poker, you can use the joker only to represent an ace. There are two other exceptions to this rule, however. You can use the joker to also complete either of the following:
A Straight
A Flush
A Straight Flush


If you feel you have the game flow down its time to move on to Pia Gow strategy.


Pai gow poker table
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