Pai Gow Poker Rules
Pai Gow poker rules are simple enough to learn in a single sitting for any poker player. 52 cards are used plus one joker which can be used as an ace or to finish a flush, straight or straight flush. In Pai Gow, players play two hands at a time. To win, both hands must be higher than the dealer’s two hands. Quite often, only one hand is higher and this is considered a push. Players who enjoy milking card games for several hours with little gain or loss will find the slower pace of Pai Gow appealing.
- Dealer and dice. The Pai Gow poker rules state a dealer is chosen by rolling dice. If the player does not have enough money to cover all the bets, they may pass. The betting and turns are determined by the position of the dealer and go counter clockwise. Players make their bets and are dealt seven cards.
- Hands. From the seven cards, players create a two card hand and a five card hand. The two card hand is commonly known as the "top" hand while the five card hand is called the "bottom" hand. Pai Gow poker rules state the five card hand must always be stronger than the two card hand. If you mess that one up, your hand is considered "foul" and you lose no matter what. Plus, everyone will mock you.
- Winner. Players only win if both of their hands beat the dealer’s hands. If a player loses at both hands, they will lose their bet. If they beat both of the dealer’s hands, they win.
- Considerations. Casinos often include a 5% commission on winning bets along with the usual Pai Gow poker rules. This is why players add five bucks on every Benjamin they wager. Some houses have a pay to play rule which means they will charge you anywhere from a nickel to a dollar per hand. Bastards!
- Variations. The Pai Gow poker rules will naturally have variations depending upon where you happen to reside. For example, Filipino Pai Gow includes two jokers. Another common one is the ghost or dragon hand. If there is an empty seat due to a player taking a piss or going home to cry to his mama, they will deal seven cards to his empty seat and challenge anyone to double their bet and take the cards. One of the more interesting game variations is Pai Gow Mania. You still have to bet before you are dealt your cards but after you see them, you get to bet again. Some houses will even let you bet on either or both hands.
Tips: In case you suck at math and failed statistics, you ideally want the strongest two card hand possible.