I’ll admit it. I like playing Pai Gow, but it can be lonely. Walk through just about any Vegas casino and you’ll do some work to spot the Pai Gow table(s). This “Americanized” version of an ancient Chinese game isn’t as popular as it should be.
Pai Gow is growing among gamblers, but in the real world of limited floor space, it still takes a backseat to Craps, Blackjack, Roulette, and even Three-Card Poker. I think many players stay away, because the name of the game confuses them. Pai Gow just sounds intimidating, but it isn’t.
I’ll submit to you that learning to play Pai Gow is fairly straightforward and simple. If you learn to play, I’ll bet that you’ll be having a lot of fun with the game right out of the gate.
The Pai Gow Table
Pai Gow is played on a table that’s similar to Blackjack. So, if you play Blackjack, this should make it more comfortable for you to start. The game has six seats for six players and the dealer spot, which is at the top of the table just like Blackjack.
Each player’s spot has three game areas, which are vertically one after the other. The first game area is where you put your wagers and this spot is on the top. Next, you have two areas for your cards. You see, once you get your cards, you’ll split them into two hands-this is where the magic happens.
The two card areas in Pai Gow are for your highest hand-bottom game area-and the 2nd highest. These are two hands that you’ll create. This is where strategy plays in and we’ll go over all of this in other Pai Gow articles on this site. Right now, let’s just concentrate on some simple basics and build a good foundation for enjoying this fun game.
Quick Play Information
I’m not going to run down play in detail here, but I will in other articles on this site. Let’s go over the general play flow of Pai Gow.
Pai Gow is played with a regular 52-card deck, like Blackjack can be, but there’s one change. Pai Gow uses one joker card. If you’ve played poker or video poker, you’re already set, because the winning hands work pretty much the same way-we’ll go over this and the couple of differences in another article.
Even though there are other players in the game (possibly), everyone is playing against the dealer-just like in Blackjack. You’re betting that your hands will beat the banker’s hands.
Ah, now here’s where we need to pause. I said the banker’s hand. Unlike Blackjack, players can get the opportunity to be the banker. As a player, you can accept or decline when it’s your turn to be the bank. But, again, I’ll go over this in more detail in another article.
I hope you’re curiosity is up just a little. Pai Gow is an exciting game to play and I’ll be teaching all the ins and outs on this site.