Could you please write a column on Pai Gow poker? I want to give the game a try but will wait for your response and advice. Denny T.
Yes, Denny, by all means. Pai Gow poker – another export from the famous Naked Princess Gaming House on the Huang-Ho – is a selectively bred hybrid of Chinese dominos, “Pai Gow” (the dam), and American seven-card poker (the stud, well, what else?). It is played with a standard 52-card deck and a joker, but differs from the typical seven-card game in that you play against a banker, not against the other players at the table.
The game begins with up to six players and the banker; each being dealt seven cards. Without a draw, you skillfully arrange your cards into two poker hands, one of five cards and the other of two. To win, both your five-card hand and your two-card hand must beat the banker’s corresponding hands. Winning one hand and losing the other is a push or tie, where you neither win nor lose. When setting your hands, make sure your five-card hand has a higher poker ranking than your two-card hand has. If the two-card hand is set mistakenly higher, you automatically lose.
These same rules apply to the banker. His five-card hand and two-card hand must beat both your five and two-card hands, respectively. The one exception is when the dealer has a “copy.” A copy is where the player and banker have identical two-card or five-card hands. For example, say you and the dealer each have a Queen and 10 as your two-card hands. Copies always go to the dealer, disadvantaging the player, naturally.
The house further improves its edge by taking a five percent commission from each winning bet. For example, if you win a $10 wager, you are paid $10 (1 to 1 odds), but then you must fork over to the dealer a 5% “tax” on your winnings. You pay no commission if your bet ties or loses.
That 53rd card, the joker, can be used as a wild card in a straight, a flush, and in straight flushes, or as an ace. The hierarchy of Pai Gow poker hands is comparable to that of typical poker hands, except that a five-ace hand (four aces plus the joker) outranks a royal flush.
New starters at Pai Gow Poker make two typical novice-errors. They fail to see a five-card flush, or they incorrectly set their hands when dealt two 먹튀검증사이트 pairs. Two-pair hands appear fairly often, and setting them correctly is toweringly important. The quick rule of thumb for playing two pairs is this: If your hand has either an unmatched Ace or King, keep the two pairs in your five-card hand. If you have neither, play the lower-ranking pair as the two-card hand.
The above, Denny, is the elementary course in Pai Gow poker, minus such details as how to become the banker and play host to six losers. This and other fine points of the game will be adduced and massaged in the future column: PAI GOW POKER 102.
I seldom play Pai Gow poker, but I often deal myself seven hands of seven cards each and practice setting hands. Yeah, I know, I should get a life. But for you, Denny, it’s through kitchen table practice that you will become proficient at the game, and it’s through perfect basic strategy that you will grind the casino edge down to 2.5%.
Gambling quote of the week: “He was so sure he would lose that he had not played everything – as if to prolong the sensation of losing.” Andre Malraux, Mans Fate (1934)