Pai Gow Poker Basics


Pai Gow Poker, which is sometimes called “Asian Poker,” is an exciting game that is played with an ordinary deck of 52 cards plus one Joker. The Joker is used as an Ace or to complete a straight or a flush. The dealer shuffles their deck and then proceeds to deal out the cards in seven stacks of seven cards each.

The dealer starts the random number generator, which is used to determine who will receive the first hand. The dealer counts counter-clockwise from the “chung” (or marker), which indicates who the banker is. The banker is always counted as #1.

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The players then arrange the seven cards dealt to them into two hands; one hand will contain five cards and is known as the high hand; the other hand will contain two cards and is the second highest hand. Once the two hands are formed, they are placed face down in the positions indicated on the layout.

To win your bet, both your high hand and your second highest hand must rank higher than the respective hands of the banker. If you have even a little knowledge of traditional Poker, this game will come easy to you because Poker ranking procedures are used in determining which hand is higher.

The only requirement in forming the two hands is that the second highest hand must contain only two cards and must be a lower ranking hand than the hand containing five cards. If this requirement is not satisfied, the hand is declared a “foul hand” and the wager is automatically forfeited. After all players have arranged their hands, the dealer will set the house’s hand.

When your hand is compared to the house (or the banker’s) hand and both the second highest hand and the high hand rank higher than the house (or banker’s), then you win. If both hands rank lower, you lose your wager. In order for money to exchange hands, both the second highest hand and the high hand must either both win, or both lose. If either one wins and the other loses, then the wager is a “push” and no money exchanges hands. The bank always wins if the hand is identical. The house will handle all bets and will charge a 5% commission on all winning wagers. There is no commission for “pushed” or losing wagers.

Another exciting aspect of Pai Gow Poker is that any player may act as the banker. The only requirement for being the banker is that you must be able to cover all wagers on the layout at that time. When a player acts as the banker, all other player’s hands are compared to the banker’s hand and not the dealer’s. When a player banks, the house will wager an amount up to the player’s bet from the preceding hand. The house will always take the bank when it is its turn, or when no player wishes to take the bank.

A word of caution – avoid exposing your hand at the table. It does not matter when the house is the bank because the house must set its hand as prescribed by our House Ways. However, when another player is the bank, you will be giving that player an advantage if he sees how you set your hand. If you require assistance, the dealer or floor-supervisor will be happy to assist you in setting the highest possible ranking according to the House Ways. However, we cannot be responsible for any losses that may be incurred.

Poker Hand Rankings

1. Five Aces (Including Joker)
2. Royal Flush
3. Straight Flush
4. Four-Of-A-Kind
5. Full House
6. Flush
7. Straight (A,2,3,4,5 is the second-highest straight)
8. Three-Of-A-Kind
9. Two Pair
10. One Pair
11. High Card
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