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If you want to play games at the casino for a long time and not have to worry about losing all of your money quickly, PaiGow Poker is the game for you.  Pai Gow Poker is played against the dealer and the game ends in a draw quite frequently, so you can have a lot of fun without much happening at all in terms of money changing hands.  It is because of this that Pai Gow Poker is so popular amongst gamblers who play only for fun.

Basic Pai Gow Poker Hand

Play begins with each player making a bet.  Then seven cards are dealt to each player and the dealer. The seven cards must then be rearranged into a five card poker hand and a two card poker hand. The five card poker hand must be stronger than the two card poker hand.  Except for this rule, players may rearrange their hands however they wish.

The dealer, on the other hand, must follow the casino rules, known as “The House Way,” when rearranging the cards.  The House Way is generally a very good way to arrange the hand, as the casino wants to improve its odds of making money.

The player’s five card hand is compared to the dealer’s five card hand, and the player’s two card hand is compared to the dealer’s two card hand.  If one of the player’s hand matches the dealer’s corresponding hand, the dealer’s hand is considered stronger.

For the player to win, both of the player’s hands must beat both of the dealer’s hands.  For the dealer to win, both of the dealer’s hands must beat both of the player’s hands.  Otherwise, the hand is a draw, and the player gets to take back their bet.  If the player wins, they get paid even money on their bet, minus a 5% commission for the casino.

Joker Use in Pai Gow Poker

Pai Gow Poker is played with a 53 card deck, the standard 52, plus 1 Joker.  This joker may only be used to complete a straight or a flush; otherwise, it is considered an ace.  There are some casinos where the joker is considered completely wild, but not many.

It would probably be best to clarify joker rules when playing Pai Gow Poker for the first time in a given casino.  Of course, it is always wise to clarify the house rules for any game when playing in a given casino for the first time.

The Foul in Pai Gow Poker

When a player arranges their hand so that the two card hand is stronger than the five card hand, this is considered a foul.  This is an automatic loss for whoever committed the foul.

Banking in Pai Gow Poker

Players will be given the option to be the banker in Pai Gow Poker.  The option to bank will typically rotate around the table, but will sometime zigzag between the dealer and the players.

It is in the player’s best interest to be the banker.  For a player to be banker, the player must have enough chips to cover the bets of all of the players.  The dealer will still play a hand, but will bet the same amount as the last bet of the player who is banker.  It is good for players to be the banker, as the banker will win on matching hands.  Also the 5% commission is charged only on the net win, and not each individual win.

Co-Banking in Pai Gow Poker

Some casinos will allow players to co-bank with the house.  In co-banking, the casino will bear half of the cost of paying off the winning bets; however, the player must usually follow the “House Way” of arranging the hands.

Pai Gow Poker Strategy

One tip to playing Pai Gow Poker is to try and make sure the bets are larger when you are acting as banker than when you are just another player.  This will make your winnings bigger when you are the banker.  As for organizing your hands, the house way is generally a very good way to do that.  Don’t hesitate to ask the dealer to help organize your hand according to the house way if you’re not sure how to arrange your hands.

Where to Play Pai Gow Poker Online?

You can play PaiGow Poker for free now, thanks to the internet and free online casinos that have chose to provide these games. Here are the current online casinos that provide PaiGow Poker for free.