Before staking any real money on the game, you should learn Pai Gow rules and how to play it. In this guide, we’ll go through the common rules of the Asian classic and the newer poker version. Additionally, we’ll give our best tips for winning Pai Gow using the rules. From the casino’s house edge to the general buy-in, we’ve got everything covered.
As one of the oldest casino games in the world, Pai Gow on tiles or cards is pretty exciting. Many New Zealanders will probably have seen a Pai Gow table at casinos. However, did you know that you can play it at online casinos? With both the classic tiles and card versions, NZ players stand to win a lot on this traditionally budget-friendly game. Just follow our Pai Gow rules guide and your chances will greatly improve. If you’re in a hurry, we’ve also listed the best sites to play online below.
Popular Pai Gow Websites NZ
Basic Pai Gow Rules
When playing Pai Gow, there are a few rules that apply to both versions. In essence, there is only one bet (the buy-in) and the players go against the dealer. For Poker and tiles, players must create two hands to play from the cards or tiles. Then, they can play multiple hands until the deal ends. What makes Pai Gow unique is that players can ask the dealer for help at any point. Moreover, you can ask to play the hand ‘the house way’. After that, the Pai Gow versions differ slightly in rules.
Tile Pai Gow Rules
Every Pai Gow Tile game must be played with 32 dominoes. The casino will also decide what the buy-in is and prepaying a 5% commission.
- In the traditional form of the game, players are given four tiles. The dealer will also receive four tiles. The role of banker will rotate around the table to each player.
- The banker must “bank” their hand on their turn.
- Then, each player needs to separate their tiles into two hands, one high and one low. There’s no need to specify, it will be obvious to the dealer.
- Each pair of tiles will be ranked according to their value as follows:
- Pair – in this version there are 16 pairs, gaining a high-ranking pair is very rare.
- Wong – a tile with a two or 12 and a nine tile.
- Gong – any two or 12 tile with an eight tile.
- Nine to zero points – for every other hand, the total of dots will be taken and a terminal digit is used like baccarat. Usually, a nine or ten tile is worth nine points, while a four and seven tile is worth a single point.
- An exception to the above rule is known as a “Gee Joon” pair. This pair is “semi-wild” and can be worth either three or six points if they create a higher total. E.g. a four-point tile combined with a Gee Joon sums as three points to make a seven-point hand.
- A player’s high hand will be compared to the dealer’s high hand. Lower hands will also be compared.
- If both the dealer and player have a tie total of Gong, Wong, or one to nine points, it will be broken by the higher-ranked high hand.
- If the high hand doesn’t break the tie, the banker will win.
- A zero to zero tile also results in a banker win.
- If high-tiles are used to break the tie, the ranks are the same as the pairs. Except in the case of the highest Gee Joon ranking, which will be ranked as the lowest.
- If the player wins both hands, it’s even money minus the 5% commission. However, if a player wins one hand and loses the other, then the wager will push. If the dealer wins both hands, the player’s bet is forfeit.
- Most casinos will rotate the role of banker around the table. However, some will zig-zag the role between players and the dealer. This means that the dealer would have to bank every other hand per Pai Gow Rules.
- As a result, the banker plays against the dealer as well as other players. So, the dealer will bet the same amount as the player did when the dealer was the banker. Usually, other players will sit out a hand to allow the banker to face the dealer alone.
- When playing online, NZ players will be the banker for every hand.
Pai Gow Poker Guidelines
Pai Gow poker is played with a deck of 52 cards and one Joker. It incorporates a few Pai Gow rules from the tile version and normal poker. In this version, players have to make two hands, one with two cards and the other with five cards.
- Depending on the casino, NZ players will need to make a buy-in bet to start. Most online versions will have a few standard controls. They are Deal, Split and Bet.
- Once a bet is placed, a seven-card hand will be dealt to the players and dealer face down.
- When the cards have been dealt and examined, players will need to split them into two hands. These are referred to as the “front” and “bottom” hands.
- Front hands must always have two cards, while bottom hands are made up of the other five. You will need to choose to split once you’re happy with the hand.
- If both hands beat the dealer, the player wins their bet back minus 5%.
- Should one hand win and the other not, it will be considered a push and your bet will be paid back.
- However, if the dealer wins both hands, they will win and the house will receive the bet.
- In Pai Gow Rules Poker, a tie will be considered a win for the dealer.
Common Beginner Mistakes
We all have to start somewhere, and it’s not always easy to learn how to play a new game. That’s why we’re going to walk through the most common mistakes new players make in Pai Gow. These are not judgements, just small mistakes our experts have fallen prey to:
- Overlooking the 5% commission. When you win, it’s easy to get distracted and forget things like the commission on a win. So, don’t get offended or feel “cheated”. Remember, you’ll still get 1:1 on payouts.
- Forgetting the rules. If you’ve read this guide thoroughly and practiced enough, this won’t be a problem.
- Don’t forget to use the house way if you’re nervous. Dealers are allowed to help you.
- Failing to recall the rankings for tiles and poker. These are very important for a tie when considering the rules of Pai Gow.
- Chasing a losing streak. If you’ve lost more than three hands, take a step back and play something else. Lady Luck isn’t on your side.