Pai Gow Poker – The History

Pai Gow PokerPai Gow Poker was first played in the card rooms of California during the 1980’s. It was developed from the game of Pai Gow which originated in China. From  there it propagated quickly to casinos worldwide.

Also known as double hand poker it is played using playing cards with poker hand values. The original game of Pai Gow was played with Chinese dominoes and can be traced back centuries.

This game was invented by Sam Torosian the owner of the Bell Card Club in Los Angeles back in 1985. The idea came to him from Filipino customer after he learned about a game called Pusoy. Sadly he failed to patent the game before it became famous, he tried but was given bad advice by a lawyer.

Playing Pai Gow Poker

This game is played with a 52 card deck plus a joker. It is not really a fast game but and strategies can easily be applied. It is acknowledge to be a game of skill. Each player is playing against the same dealers hand which creates a team spirit amongst the players. It is known for being a sociable game and creates a good deal of excitement at the table.

It begins with each player placing a bet on the table. The dealer the rolls a dice to determine where the dealing commences. Dealing is anti-clockwise and each player and the dealer receive seven cards face down. Seven hands are always dealt and four cards are not used. It any of the seven positions is vacant those cards are placed on the discard pile.

The object of the game is to create two poker hands from the seven cards.  One of five cards and one of two cards. The score of the five card must exceed that of the two card hand.

The five cards hands can be formed using standard poker ranking

The two card hands can be formed from a pair or high cards.

The single joker card can be used as a wild card in the five card hand to create a straight or a flush. In the two card hand it always counts as an Ace.

Winning or Losing

Any player can win if both of the separated hands beat the dealers or bankers.  If only one of the hands wins then it is considered to be a push or a tie and neither hand wins. The player loses to the dealer if the five card card is beaten by the dealer. A loss occurs when both hands lose to the dealer.

When playing in casino either a flat fee per hand (say 5 cents) is charged or a small percentage, say 5% is taken from the winnings.

Typically the house has an edge of 1.5% during game play.

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