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How to Play Pai Gow Poker in Las Vegas

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Pai Gow Poker (pronounced pi gow) combines the elements of the ancient Chinese game of Pai Gow and the American game of poker. A relatively slow-paced game, Pai Gow Poker is played with a traditional deck of 52 playing cards, plus a joker. The joker can be used only as an Ace, or to complete a straight, flush, straight flush or royal flush.

A relatively slow-paced game (slower than Craps and Blackjack, at least), Pai Gow Poker appeals to players who prefer more leisurely games.

Object of Pai Gow Poker

The object of the game is for both of the player's two-card hand and five-card hand to rank higher than both of the Banker's two hands. Should one hand rank exactly the same as the Banker's hand, this is a tie and the Banker wins all tie hands.

How to Play Pai Gow Poker

The Pai Gow Poker deck will consist of 53 cards which includes a Joker. The Joker is wild when used in straights, flushes and straight flushes. If used alone the Joker becomes an Ace.

The dealer shuffles his deck and then proceeds to deal seven stacks of seven cards each, face down in front of the dealer's tray. The dealer checks that exactly four cards are left over, then places those cards in the discard holder.

Delivering the Cards: The dealer then shakes the dice cup and rolls three dice. Before the dice are uncovered, all bets must be in the betting circle. The total of the dice is used to determine which player receives the first set of cards. The dealer counts counter-clockwise from the “chung” (or marker), which indicates who the banker is. The cards will then be placed by the dealer in front of each player-including the dealer-in a clockwise rotation from the starting ping indicated by the dice. In Pai Gow Poker, the Banker's position is always 1, 8 or 15.

Each player at the table receives seven (7) cards which they will use to construct two (2) separate hands of two (2) cards and five (5) cards. The one hand that contain five cards and is known as the High hand. The other hand that contain two cards and is the Second Highest hand.

Important: The five-card hand must be higher than the two-card hand (for example, if the two-card hand is a pair of sevens, the five-card hand must contain at least a pair of eights or higher).

The house dealer does not look at the cards until all players and player/Banker have set their hands in the designated space face down. After all players have arranged their hands, the house dealer then turns his cards over and sets his hand in front of the tray face up. The player/Banker's hand is compared to the house dealer's hand.

Winning hands are left lying face up next to the betting circle. For losing hands, the wager is picked up by the dealer and the cards are placed in the discard holder. Losing wagers are set in the center of the layout. If the player wins one hand and loses the other, this is considered a "push" and no money exchanges hands. This is what makes Pai Gow Poker slower than other games of chance. There are frequent rounds (up to 40% of rounds) in which no one wins and playing time is simply extended.

Note: If a player touches his or her hand after the banker has exposed his hand, that player's hand is considered a loser. Any hand "Set Foul" (if the two-card hand is higher in ranking than the five-card hand, or if the two-card hand contains more or less than two cards) is also considered a loser.

Winning in Pai Gow Poker

To win your bet in Pai Gow Poker, you must win both hands. Both your High hand and your Second Highest hand must beat the banker’s(House) High and Second Highest hands.
If both hands rank lower than the bank hands, you lose your wager.
If one hand is higher and the other is lower, then the wager is a tie (“push”) and no one wins or loses the bet (no money exchanges hands).
In order for money to exchange hands, both the second highest hand and the high hand must either both win, or both lose.
The bank always wins if the hand is identical.

If the player wins one hand, but loses the other, this is considered a "push" and no money exchanges hands. Winning hands are paid even money, less a 5% commission. Losing hands lose the money wagered.

Poker ranking procedures are used in determining which hand is higher. Any exact copy hand (tie) will be given to the banker. Exact copy hands occur when both the player and the banker's cards (in either the two-card hand or five-card hand) are the same value.

Poker Hand Rankings
FIVE ACES (including Joker)
(A,2,3,4,5 is the second highest straight)

Payoffs are even money, and the house collects a 5% commission on all winning wagers. Losing and push hands will not be charged a commission.

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Be Warned:

This website encourages you to play responsibly by betting within your limits and by recognizing that over time the house will come out ahead.

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