Paigow Poker Article

Pai Gow Poker is Chinese Dominoes turned into a card game with poker hands. Pai Gow is also known as Double-Hand Poker. To play, a 52-card deck is needed with one joker. There are six players and one dealer. The point of the game is to beat the banker and the banker can be the dealer or one of the players. The object is to create two poker hands out of the seven cards each player is dealt. One five-card and one two-card poker hand with the five-card hand having a higher value than the two-card hand. Typically the two-card hand is called the "in front" or "on top", or the "small" or "minor" or "low" hand and the five-card is called the "behind", "bottom", "high" or "big" hand.

The cards are shuffled and dealt to the table in seven face down piles of seven cards each. Betting positions are assigned a number from 1 to 7, the banker begins with position one, and counting counter-clockwise around the table, a number from 1 to 7 is randomly chosen (either electronically or manually with dice), then the deal begins with the corresponding position and proceeds counter-clockwise. If a position is not taken, the cards are still dealt and then placed on the discard pile with the four unused cards.

Hand ranking and determining a win:
The only two-card hands are one pair and high cards. Five-card hands use standard poker hands. The joker plays as a bug, that is, in the five-card hand it can be used to complete a straight or flush if possible; otherwise it is an ace. In the two-card hand it always plays as an ace, except in several southern Californian casinos where the joker is completely wild. If each of the player's now-separated hands beat the banker's corresponding hand then he wins the bet. If only one of his hands beats the banker then he pushes. If both of his hands lose to the banker then he loses. On each hand, ties go to the banker (for example, if a player's five-card hand loses to the banker and his two-card hand ties the banker then the player loses); this gives the banker a small advantage. If the player fouls his hand, meaning that the low hand outranks his high hand, or that there are an incorrect number of cards in each hand, there will be one of two penalties, either re-arrangement of the hand according to house rules or forfeiture of the hand.

It would be a good idea to play for free to learn the game, possible hands and a strategy for winning.

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