If you’ve gone to Newtown Casino in Malaysia, then you’ve probably seen Pai Gow being offered in the casino. It is actually one of the most interesting games that you can play in the casino and winning it all is actually quite easy to do.
Although there are a lot of strategies that you can get by reading Sanford Wong’s book of the Optimal Strategies for Pai Gow Poker, there are some strategies that you can definitely take without reading a 150-page book.
Today, I am going to give you the lowdown on these strategies so that you can start winning if you play this particular type of poker game.
How Do You Play the Game?
Pai Gow Poker takes some of the elements of other poker games in that it still uses a standard deck of 52 cards. However, one of the main differences is that it actually also uses a joker card as well.
The joker can either be an ace card or any card that will complete a flush or a straight. The dealer and the players will all receive seven cards that will be placed into two hands: 5 cards on one hand and the other 2 on the other.
The hand with the five cards should be of a much higher rank compared to the hand that only has two cards. You could also say that the hand with an ace card coupled with a 2, 3, 4, and 5 straight is the second highest card combination just right after the Ace-King-Queen-Jack-10 cards.
When you really boil it down, Pai Gow Poker is essentially all about hand-setting. You basically have a high hand that is made up of the five cards that the dealer gives you and the “low” hand that resembles the 2 remaining cards.
Because of the many possibilities that a total of 7 cards can give you, you might get a straight on the high hand and just another pair in the low hand. Or perhaps, you will be given an actual Pai Gow that consists of a hand that has nothing- no flush, no straight, or even a pair.
What the player ought to do would be to set the cards in their two hands right- making sure that the high hand contains the highest possible rank of cards.
Once the dealer would set the banker hand using a specific casino way, the hands of both the dealer and the players will then be compared.
Should the player’s low hand beat the dealer’s low hand in conjunction with the player’s high hand beating the dealer’s high hand, then the player wins.
If only one of the player’s hand actually wins (and the other one loses), then it is considered a “push”. If either the dealer or the player has cards of the same value on each hand, then that will be considered as a “copy”, but the banker still wins the round. In addition, if the banker’s hands are far superior to yours, then you obviously lost.
Okay, now that you know how the game is played, let’s go over some strategies that you can use:
- When you are dealt with cards that do not reflect a straight, pair, or flush, you should play your highest card from your high hand and pair it with the highest cards in the low hand
- You can also use two pairs sixes and below. You split it unless either of your hands holds an ace card, after which, you play them together with the highest card in your low hand and the ace card as well.