Many New Zealanders are interested in learning how to play Pai Gow Poker. The game isn’t really one of the biggest poker variations out there, so many Kiwi players are unfamiliar with how it works and why they should really consider playing it. Well, we believe that it is a game that every casino table game player should really look at giving a go. The game features a low-house edge and opportunities to win big sums of money, so it should really be on the mind of every casino enthusiast looking to make a profit off their online experience.
If you are unsure of how to play Pai Gow Poker and would like to find out how to do so, you have come to the right place. Our guide down below will teach you how to play poker like a pro in a few quick and easy steps. We also provide some tips on how to ensure you give yourself the best odds of winning big cash prizes. So, read on and master pai gow poker today!
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- How to Play Pai Gow Poker Like A Pro – Step-By-Step Guide
- Standard Poker Hands Explained
- Pai Gow Poker Rules
- Pai Gow Poker Tips and Tricks
Before we really get into everything, it is important to note that pai gow poker is just another popular variant of the classic poker card game. It is played with a 53-card deck and including the joker. The card acts as an ace unless it can be used to complete a hand featuring a straight or flush. Playing the game is fairly straight-forward, but we’ll explain each round step-by-step here:
- Before the game starts, players are required to place an ante on the table. An ante is the terminology used to refer to your first bet.
- Once each player at the table has placed their ante, they will be dealt seven cards. Players will then be required to make two hands with these cards. One will consist of five cards (this is referred to as the big hand) and the other of two cards (this is known as the small hand).
- When forming hands, you need to make a stronger hand with your big hand than your small hand. For example, if the best hand you can make with your cards is a pair, this pair will need to appear in the big hand.
- In terms of hand strength, the rules for the big hand variations follow that of standard poker rules. However, the two-card hand has its own variations. The highest possible combination is a pair, whereas the worst combination is a 2-3 card set.
- Once you have formed your hands, you are ready for the showdown. All players show their hands to each other in an attempt to beat both hands of the dealer. Players need to beat both of the dealer’s hands to win cash, but if only one hand does, they get their bet back.
If Kiwi players are unsure about the hands they can create in standard poker variations, the illustration below will help you out. It is important to note that the strongest possible hand is the Royal Flush:
If you would like a quick breakdown of how pai gow poker varies from other forms of poker, here are some rules specific to the variation to take note of:
- The game does make use of the joker. The card acts as a semi-wild that can either be used to complete straights and flushes or simply act as an ace.
- Players are dealt seven cards with which they are required to create two hand. One consists of five cards and the other consists of two cards.
- The five-card hand values work with standard poker rules, whereas the highest combination players can create with the small hand is a pair.
- In the event of a tie, the banker wins. If both players and the dealer have a single winning hand, the bet is pushed to the next round.
While we can’t say that these tips will ensure that you win every single game of Pai Gow Poker you choose to play online, we will say that they may help in lowering the odds you face. So, the next time you play Pai Gow Poker at a Kiwi casino site, keep the following in mind:
- Use Jokers to Your Benefit – it is important to remember that the joker acts as a semi-wild card. If you are lucky enough to get one in your hand, remember that it automatically counts as an ace. If you are unable to build a flush or straight with your big hand, you should go for the high card with your small hand.
- Consider the Odds – it is always important to keep in mind that poker is a gambling game and that game outcomes will always be influenced by some degree of chance, and that there is always the house edge to contend with. A good rule of thumb is that the dealer will win 30% of all games you play. So, if you see that you don’t have the best hand, maybe it is best to fold before the showdown.
- Split Double Pairs – if you are dealt two pairs, we recommend separating them into your two different hands. As mentioned above, the strong pair will need to go into your big hand and the weaker one in your small hand.
- Split Three-of-a-Kind Aces – if you are dealt three aces, we recommend dividing the aces between your two hands; one in the small hand and two in the big hand. The reason for this is that at least you have a high card for the small hand. If you have any other three-of-a-kind hand, we recommend just keeping it as is in the big hand.