Sometimes in different countries, players and poker rooms create new formats and disciplines, most often based on the rules of classic Texas Hold’em – the most popular type of poker. So a curious game appeared in the world — Pai Gow poker. It combines the rules of hold’em and Chinese dominoes.
We tell you what happened from this symbiosis: what are the rules there and where you can find rivals. We will also tell you what are the best bonuses online poker fans can get today.
What is Pai Gow Poker?
The game appeared at the end of the twentieth century. Its authorship belongs to the gambling enthusiast Fred Wolf. The entrepreneur decided to make money on his idea by issuing an official patent for “Poker Pai Gow”. Perhaps this is what played a cruel joke on him: few people were ready to pay for the rent or purchase of a patent, so the entertainment remained known only in narrow circles.
Poker Pai Gow is a symbiosis of two games: unlimited Hold’em and Chinese domino. The format took combinations from classic poker, and the division into upper and lower hands — from the bones from the Celestial Empire.
You can also read about other varieties of card games and poker combinations on our website.
Rules of the game
For Pai Gow, a French deck of 52 cards is used, as well as one additional joker card. Poker players do not compete against each other, but with the dealer, as in casino entertainment.
At the same time, up to 6 people can play against the croupier, who receive seven cards in a closed hand. Even before the cards are dealt, participants place bets. Then you need to divide the received cards into two combinations: upper and lower hands. The first one takes 5 cards, the second two.
How to distribute the cards between the two combinations, everyone decides independently. When the decision is made, the cards are laid out in a special place on the table. As soon as all participants are ready, everyone opens their combinations, including the dealer. The following situations are possible:
- You won in two cases — the pot goes to you;
- You won only in one case — the bet is refunded;
- You lost in both cases — the dealer takes the pot;
- The same combinations with the dealer are collected — the dealer gets the pot.
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In the upper hand, consisting of five cards, you can collect the maximum combination of a royal flush, in the lower – a pair of aces. Combinations are compared according to classical rules. At the same time, it is important to observe one thing: the lower combination is weaker than the upper one. If it is not executed, your hand is considered “dead” and you automatically lose.
Pai Gow poker is not such a deep analytical game as Hold’em. However, there are several useful tactics here, which should be followed during the compilation of combinations
- If it is not possible to make even one pair, send the highest card up, and the next two in value — down;
- One pair goes up, the two highest cards go down, the rest go up;
- It is better not to separate two low pairs by sending them to the lower box;
- Two high pairs can be split to try to win on both lines;
- If it is possible to make three pairs, the top pair goes up, the two weak ones go down;
- The set goes to the bottom line, and the highest unpaired values are stacked up;
- If it was possible to collect two sets, one card is extracted from the highest one — and it fits into the upper box as a pair;
- Full house is better divided into a set and a pair;
- A square with a small nominal value (up to six) is better not to divide, a higher one is divided into two pairs.
Due to the simple rules and distribution scenario, it is also easy to understand the management. To participate in the hand, you need to click on a chip of the desired value and put it in the “Bet” field the required number of times – until the bet size reaches the desired value. The buttons will automatically appear on the control panel:
- Undo – go back;
- Clear – clear the “Bet” field;
- Deal – accept the bet.
After receiving the cards, you need to click on those that need to be dragged to HIGHEST2. The decision can be reversed in the same way. If the choice is made definitively, you should press the “Stand” button – the showdown will begin and the winner will be determined.
Sound control is carried out in two ways:
- The speaker icon allows you to turn on/off the background music and sound effects at the same time;
- “Three horizontal dashes” button – sound effects and music are turned off separately.
Pai Gow Poker Strategy
The main strategic rule in Pai Gow Poker is that a low hand is not a trash can where you have to constantly throw the worst cards. Following this rule, you should sacrifice a strong high hand often enough to make two strong combinations. So, having a full house, you need to leave three cards in the high hand and place two cards in the low hand. Having two high pairs, they should be separated.
To achieve the greatest advantages in Pai Go, two different strategies can be used — aggressive and conservative, which take into account all the controversial points of the game and offer the best solutions to them. Using a conservative strategy, the player keeps most of the strong combinations in a high hand and sets low cards in a low one, which increases the probability of a draw — push and reduces the probability of losing, however, as well as winning. Aggressive players, on the contrary, always try to expand the chances for a true win, even if for this they have to break an almost invincible high combination of cards, which reduces the probability of push and adds the possibility of losing. Most casinos use a conservative strategy that determines the dealer’s actions regardless of whether he is playing for a banker or as a regular player.