Pai Gow Poker is played with a 52-card deck, including one joker which is wild and can only be used as an Ace or to complete a Straight, Straight Flush or Royal Flush. Ranks and hand values are the same as in regular Poker. The object of the game is to create two Poker hands out of the seven cards in your hand; a five-card Poker hand and a two-card Poker hand. The five-card hand must rank higher than the two-card hand.
Placing Pai Gow Poker bets is done by simply placing a chip in front of you on the table. After placing your wager, each player and the dealer are dealt seven cards which must be split into two hands, one with five cards and the other with two. Again, when dividing your hand, the five-card hand must always outrank the two-card hand. The two-card hand is referred to as the hand 'in front' or 'on top' and the five-card hand is known as the hand 'behind' or 'bottom' because they are placed that way in front of the player when he or she has finished setting them. All hands are then flipped face-up at the same time and compared to the dealer's hand.
If both of your now-separated hands beat the dealer's hand, you win your bet. If only one hand beats the dealer, you then push. If both of your hands lose to the dealer's, you lose.
On every individual hand, ties go to the dealer. For example, if your five-card hand loses to the dealer and your two-card hand ties him/her, you lose. The dealer, hence, enjoys a small advantage. Should you foul your hand, meaning your low hand outranks your high hand, your hand is forfeited.
online casinos typically take a 5% commission from players' winnings. Though this may seem high, it should be noted that a hand of Pai Gow Poker requires more time to play compared to Blackjack for example. There are also many pushes, and as a result the house doesn't collect their commission as often as it would on other casino games.
Pai Gow Poker was originally developed in California for the purpose of getting around the gaming laws at the time. While it's a rather simple game, it offers a wide choice of strategic options and is offered at most online casinos .
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