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Pai Gow Poker

Pai Gow poker, much like caribbean stud, is a variation bearing little resemblance to the back room poker games you may be familiar with. It offers its own charms however, and has been adopted by a large number of land based and online casinos over the last few years.

To play Pai Gow Poker for real money, visit one of these casinos:

Grand Online: Offering Pai Gow poker since the mid nineties, this casino has the action down pat.
The Grand Riviera: A stylish and elegant themed casino, Pai Gow poker fits naturally into the rather expansive game suite offered.

The Objective
This game combines the elements of the ancient Chinese game of Pai Gow with the American game of Poker. The game is played with a 53-card deck, which includes a Joker. The house is always the banker and the game and is played one on one - you against the dealer. The object of the game is to use 7 dealt cards to construct two hands that will beat the dealer's two hands.

Ranking of the Hands
The ranking of the Pai Gow poker hands is very similar to that of standard Poker - Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 and 2. The exception in hands between Pai Gow Poker and standard poker is that in Pai Gow the following rules apply:

The highest Straight hand is A-K-Q-J-10
The second highest Straight hand is A-2-3-4-5
The third highest Straight hand is K-Q-J-10-9

Each suit (Spades, Clubs, Hearts and Diamonds) is of equal rank. The Joker serves as a "wildcard" and can only be used as an Ace, or to complete a Straight, Flush, Straight Flush, or a Royal Flush.

The Game
You and the dealer are each dealt 7 cards - yours face up and the dealer's face down. You must split your cards and skillfully arrange them into two separate hands:
1. A low hand consisting of 2 cards
2. A high hand consisting of 5 cards

The two-card hand is always either a pair or not a pair. You must be sure that your 2-card hand has a lower ranking than your 5-card hand. For example, should you be dealt 7 cards consisting of: K-K-A-Q-7-6-5, you will use the two Kings as part of your 5-card hand and not part of your 2-card hand. For example:
The dealer's cards are kept face down until your hands are set. The dealer arranges his cards into a 2-card and 5-card hand, with the 5-card hand having a higher Poker value. The dealer's two hands are then compared with your two hands. You win only if both of your hands beat both of the dealer's hands. The dealer wins if both of the dealer's hands beat both of your hands. If you win one hand and the dealer wins the other, a Push (tie) is declared.

Copy Hand
When the player and the dealer compare hands that have the same rank, this is referred to as a "copy hand". In this situation, the dealer wins. For example, if your low hand is composed of an A-K and the dealer has an A-K as well, the dealer will win that portion of the hand.

If you win both hands, the payout equals the amount wagered (1 to 1) minus 5% of the win, which is the bank's (the house) commission. Your actual winnings are thus 95% of your bet. If there is a push, your wager is returned to you.

Read on for more pai gow poker strategy ->


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