Pai Gow - Poker or Not?

Despite the fact that some people can find the definition of Pai Gow poker not quite similar to the real poker, this game is one of those gambling games played in casinos. The only one confusing thing about it is that it was originated from the Chinese Domino game which doesn’t involve the playing cards at all.

After all the Pai Gow is played with real poker cards, 52-cards deck plus the only one joker use as a wild card which can be played only as an Ace, or used in order to complete a straight, a flush or a straight flush.

Rules of the Game

As for the rules in brief: it is played at a poker table set for at least six players and involves a dealer. The player’s main target here is to defeat the dealer (or the banker) and win the pot, of course.

The dealer deals seven cards to each player and their main goal is to collect the best two hands out of 7 cards they were dealt: a five cards hand (is called a hand behind, or high, big or bottom) and a two cards hand(is called either low, the small, in front, on top or hair).

Before the deal takes place a player has to bring in a bet (or put up a stake).

So when the cards were dealt, each player has to divide his seven dealt cards into two hands as it was mentioned before.

The Distinctive Feature in Rankings

The values of those 5 cards in one of two hands a player has to construct is the same as in usual poker, the only one exception is that A-2-3-4-5 combination is considered here as the second highest kind of straight and stands between A-K-Q-J-10 and K-Q-J-10-9. The highest hand possible in the five cards hand is 5 aces (four usual aces and a joker standing for the ace as mentioned in the beginning of the article) and this combination will beat a straight flush. As for the two cards hand, any collected pair of cards will beat any two unmatched cards or the lower pair.

The important thing here is that a player has to arrange his cards in that way so the five card combination will be higher than the two cards, so as a pair of aces mustn’t ne higher than any cards combination in a five-card hand. Though it sounds rather obvious, the players are not allowed to discuss their hands with each other.

Determining a Winner

When the players have arranged their two hands, they have to put these hands in front of them face down and that is a signal to the dealer to reveal his 7 cards, arranged in two hands the same way as the players did. After that all the players reveal their cards and compare 5 cards hands to the dealer’s 5 cards and the same way the two cards hands are compared as well.

The winner is determined the following:
  • In case the player has both hands stronger than the dealer’, the last pays out the amount staked in the beginning of game.
  • In case a player wins one hand out of two and the dealer wins the other hand, it is called a push and no money is paid.
  • In case the dealer wins both hands he wins the player's stake.

The Conclusion

So according to the closely similarity of Pai Gow and actual poker, one can freely name it as a Pai Gow Poker without a doubt. Despite the believe that Pai Gow is only a parody on real poker, it doesn’t matter how you call it, the casinos would rather tell you that this game is a gambling one and played with a right to be called poker. Anyway, no matter how you call it, we wish you good luck in poker playing!

Poker Quotations

If you can't spot the sucker in the first half an hour at the table, then you are the sucker.
Rounders, the movie (2000)

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