Pai Gow Poker
Pai Gow poker is a slightly strange version of the classic poker table game which many gamblers, myself included, know and love. It’s adapted from the Asian Pai Gow game which is played with tiles rather than cards and traditionally is played amongst a group of players with each taking it in turns to be the banker, and gaining a small edge when in that position. The American version was created using playing cards instead to make it easy to use for the western player.
As a land casino table game, it isn’t one of the most popular and generally is outplaced by Blackjack, three card poker and Roulette on the casino floor. Online however, the game gets a little simpler to play 1v1 with the virtual house and as a result the game enjoys growing popularity amongst online table game players looking for something that little bit different than the stock games or slots.
You start a game by selecting what bet you want to place on your hand, most online casinos offer a pretty wide bet range on table games to accommodate all bankrolls so you should find something that suits, I’ve seen anywhere from a single dollar to $1000 stakes available with a multitude of options in between!
After selecting your bet and hitting the deal button, either as a live game online or fully virtual, you will be dealt 7 cards. 5 form your main, bottom or big hand depending how the casino phrases it, where the other forms the minor or small hand. To win you need to beat the dealer with both hands, winning with only one and you will break even, whilst losing with both is an obvious loss.
The hand rankings are just the same as in standard poker, with the caveat that you want to make your second hand a winner also. So let’s say you were dealt KK, QQ, 10, 8, 5 with no flush. Ideally you want to keep the cowboys in the big hand (Hoping the dealer can’t beat the pair) and the queens in the second hand to hopefully beat the dealer’s next best hand. It’s against the rules to put your best hand in the smaller of the two hands, so despite the simplicity of play, you will need a strategy.
Pai Gow Poker has been developed at many online casinos for both head to head casino play and live dealer play, it’s an easy game to optimise for mobile use so you should have no problems at all finding a site to play at, we review some of the best sites by game on a regular basis to help with that. The key thing with this game versus regular poker is to remember that you have two hands which you need to win with, don’t get blinkered or lasered in on one big hand – you only need enough to beat the dealer with both, they don’t both have to be monsters!