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Pai Gow Poker

April 19, 2018 0 Comment


Pai Gow is an ancient Chinese game played with dominoes. The modern casino game of Pai Gow Poker is a marriage of Pai Gow and Poker which some critics call a significant bastardization of the original game.

Pai Gow History

Pai Gow is only one of many other domino games that have been played for thousands of years in China. Pai Gow is an incredibly complex game in which a set of Chinese dominoes is separated into “military” suits and “civilian” suits, symbolic of the warring Chinese cultures. The civilian suit tiles have names and unique Chinese symbols such as plum flower, heaven and goose associated with them. The military suits are simply associated with the numbers that their tiles represent. Pai Gow players become so adept at the game that these complicated elements and rules are memorized and handed down from generation to generation.

The Traditional Game

In the traditional game of Pai Gow, players aim to make two tile “hands” from a “woodpile” of dealt tiles. Each of these hands consists of two tiles. The object is to get one pair of tiles equal to a total greater than the other two tiles, and then one or both hands to exceed one or both opponent’s hands.

Pai Gow, Americanized

In order to appeal to a simpler gambling appetite, American gamblers inspired a version of Pai Gow in which they infused some of the traditional Pai Gow rules with a version of Poker. Pai Gow Poker was born in the poker cardrooms of California sometime in the 1980s.

Pai Gow Poker

Similar to Pai Gow, the player’s goal is to achieve two separate hands, ranked like poker hands, from an initial seven card deal. One hand must consist of 5 cards, while the other must consist of 2. The five card hand must equal a total greater than the two card hand. In order to win, both hands must outscore the dealer’s. In a case where one hand beats the dealer, the game ends in a tie. When both hands are less than the dealer’s the player loses. Any player unable to orchestrate their hands in either rank or number is said to “foul.”

A complex system of betting strategies can be applied to Pai Gow Poker. Experts have documented strategic betting matrices that savvy players can memorize in order to gain an advantage.

For your convenience, you can play pai gow poker online with many pay per head casino software. Simply scroll down to the next section of this page and you can practice playing the game of pai gow poker for as long as you want without any pressure to play for real money.