At first glance, Pai Gow Poker seems quite similar to traditional poker. Both make use of a standard deck of playing cards, and pit the player against the dealer. The one with the better hand wins. The same point values are assigned to the cards in each type of game. But there is one major difference. In poker, you are dealt five cards, and have the option of discarding as many of those as you like. You then draw new cards as replacements. However, in Pai Gow Poker, you must work with the seven cards you are given, with no exchanges possible. Out of those cards, you need to create the best possible hands, in order to beat the dealer.
Pai Gow Poker Hands
As mentioned, Pai Gow Poker is based on a seven card deal. Those cards must be arranged into two separate hands, one of two cards called the “in front” or the “low” hand, and one of five cards called the “behind” or “high” hand. As the names might suggest, the two card hand must add up to a lower point total than the five card one. If you accidentally “set” (arrange) your cards so that the low hand has the higher point value, or use the wrong number of cards in each hand (for example four and three), your hands are “fouled.” The house will penalize you by resetting your hands or causing you to forfeit them.
Pai Gow Poker Strategy
Pai Gow Poker strategy is based on setting your hands in the optimal way for the highest point value. Pai Gow enthusiasts have analyzed the game, using a computer program, and come up with a strategy chart to help players. The chart predicts the best way to set any combination of cards you might be dealt. Once you are confident that you understand the rules of Pai Gow Poker, you can study and practice with the strategy chart to get more familiar with its suggestions. Free online Pai Gow Poker games are a great play to build up your skills.
Pai Gow Poker Tips
In addition to the complex strategy charts, there are some tips which are fairly simple. Using Pai Gow Poker strategy and tips together is the best way to succeed. The essential tip is to avoid fouling your hand. Another useful tip is to remember that you are not playing traditional poker. Some of the most advisable plays in Pai Gow poker, such as dividing a Full House into a pair for your low hand and Three of a Kind for your high hand, may seem counter intuitive to you, especially if you are a veteran poker player.