Pai Gow Poker is a gambling game based on a domino game from China. The name Pai Gow means something like “make nine”. Initially, the game was played with dominoes.
Pai Gow Poker is played with 53 playing cards: the 52 regular cards (13 diamonds, 13 clubs, 13 spades and 13 hearts) plus a Joker.
The winning combinations of cards are almost the same as in poker. Almost. The difference is in the Ace. In poker, the Ace is both the highest and the lowest card in the game.
For example: if you have a ‘street’ in poker with an Ace in it, your odds are as follows:
- You have a street with the cards 10-JQKA. Congratulations, you have the highest street possible.
- You have a street with the cards A-2-3-4-5. A little less congratulations, you have the lowest possible street.
With Pai Gow Poker this is a bit different, because with the Chinese the Ace in a street is Ace to Five, the highest card. So this street beats a street 9-10-JQK and lower. Can you track it?
Okay, let’s play. Each player is dealt seven cards and so does the bank, but the bank’s cards remain hidden for a while.
Each player then divides his cards into two “hands”. One hand with five cards and one hand with two. Can you randomly decide which hand is dealt five cards and which two?
Not quite. Your five-card hand should be higher than your two-card hand. At the same time, it is wise, but not necessarily necessary, to split your seven cards in such a way that in each hand you have the highest possible combinations that you can make with your seven cards.
the Joker does not count for every card you want. Unfortunately. You can only use the Joker to complete a straight or a flush. If that is not possible or if you do not want to, the joker counts for an Ace.