The traditional form of Pai Gow is played with dominoes. This version of the game debuted centuries ago in China, and is still played in land-based casinos throughout the world. The variant played at the top online casinos is real money Pai Gow poker. The dominoes have been replaced with playing cards. While there are similarities between both versions of the game, the latter is far simpler to learn and play. You can learn all about pai gow poker or play a flash pai gow game to get started right in your browser.
Below, you’ll receive a quick tutorial on playing real money Pai Gow poker, so you can get started within minutes. We’ll also give you a few important tips that will help you avoid costly mistakes while maximizing your winnings.
KickAssPoker.com’s Online Pai Gow Poker Guide
- Guide to Playing Pai Gow Poker
- A Few Tips for Improving your Results in Pai Gow Poker
- Top Online Casinos with Real Money Pai Gow Poker
Guide To Playing Real Money Pai Gow Poker
The game is played with a single deck and a Joker. The Joker can be used to complete a straight, flush, or straight flush. Otherwise, it must be used as an Ace. Once the bets have been made, seven cards are dealt to each player.
The goal of real money Pai Gow poker is to split the seven cards into two hands that can beat the banker’s two hands. One hand must have two cards while the other hand must have five. They must be split in such a way that the 5-card hand outranks the 2-card hand. If the latter outranks the former, you will automatically lose both hands. This is called a foul. When you play the game online, the casino’s software will prevent you from making this mistake.
Both hands are ranked according to conventional poker hand rankings. You will win if both of your hands beat the banker’s hands. The round is a “push” if you win one hand and lose the other. If one of your hands ties the banker’s hand, you will lose that hand. This is called a “copy.” If you win both hands, you will be paid even money (i.e. 1:1), though a 5% commission is deducted from your winnings.
Gamblers who stumble onto real money Pai Gow poker often think the game is complex. In reality, it is one of the simplest to learn to play. The key, as you might already suspect, is knowing how to set your two hands.
A Few Tips For Improving Your Results
If you’re playing Pai Gow poker in a land-based casino, you might hear the term “house way” used. This refers to the manner in which the banker is required to split his or her cards. The item of note is that the “house way” varies depending on where you play the game. Casinos in Macau have a different “house way” than that used in Las Vegas, which in turn is different than the “house way” used in casinos in Atlantic City.
This is worth mentioning because your strategy for splitting your seven cards should follow the casino’s “house way.” While doing so may reflect a slightly less-than-optimal strategy, it is close enough. The only way to improve it is to learn the probabilities of every 2-card and 5-card hand. And even then, the improvement is negligible.
One particular area of real money Pai Gow poker is critical to master: splitting two pairs. In most land-based casinos, the “house way” is based on categorizing the pairs as low, medium, or high. You would then split them in all cases except those in which you’re holding a King or Ace. This method is a bit random, and can be improved without adding needless complexity.
First, add the ranking values of both pairs together. For example, suppose you have a pair of fives and a pair of eights. Here, their aggregate ranking value would be thirteen. Likewise, if you have a pair of threes and a pair of nines, their combined ranking value would be twelve. Consider Jacks equal to eleven, Queens equal to twelve, Kings equal to thirteen, and Aces equal to fourteen.
Now that you have your pairs’ aggregate ranking value, split them if they meet the following rules:
1. Their combined value is less than sixteen, and you’re holding an Ace.
2. Their combined value is less than ten, and you’re holding an Ace or King.
Top Online Casinos With Real Money Pai Gow Poker
Most of the top-tier gambling sites offer real money Pai Gow poker. While the game does not draw the same volume of players as blackjack, craps, and roulette, it is popular enough to have become a staple. That said, some online casinos are better than others. Besides larger sign-up bonuses, higher quality software, and a wider game variety, they are reputable with a seasoned track record in the industry. The following list represent our top picks:
- Casino Titan – Not only offers a great pai gow poker game it has a wide selection of table games, slots, and video poker. Casino Titan offers great promotions from sign up bonuses to free cash to weekly bonuses. You can’t go wrong when playing at Casinotitan.com .
- Bovada Casino – (formerly Bodog) Bovada has been around for so long and they really know what they are doing. From a great selection of games to fabulous promotions to excellent pay time when you win. Check out Bovada now.
When you’re ready to enjoy real money Pai Gow poker, start by visiting the three gambling sites above. We’ve put each of them through our review process to save you the time and effort. Even better, each online casino will let you start playing Pai Gow poker for free.