How is Pai Gow Poker Played Exactly?
You’ve probably heard that Newtown Casino in Malaysia is going to start supporting Pai Gow Poker in the institution. The game uses a standard 52-card deck with the addition of a joker card.
The rules of Pai Gow Poker are actually pretty simple to understand and you should be up and running in as little as 15 minutes. Anyway, before the game starts, the dealer will ask the players to make a bet, after which, the players will be given seven cards so that they can make one 5-card hand and another 2-card hand.
The five-card hand is also referred to as the bottom, behind, high, or big hand. The two-card hand is usually called the front, small, minor, ‘on top’, and the low hand.
Whenever you are dealt the seven cards, it is up to the player to create their 5-card and 2-card hands. Just make sure that the 5-card is always much higher in value than that of the 2-card hand.
Suppose that you are dealt with two ace cards, 3, 5, 7, 10, and a Jack, you cannot make a flush, so you can include the pair of aces in your 5-card hand and should not be placed in the 2-card hand.
It is important to note that the 5-card hand will always follow the “what-beats-what” rules that come with two exceptions. One, there are some casinos that would count the ace-2-3-4-5 cards as the second-highest straight card combination out there.
Two, using a joker card in the 5-card hand may present the possibility of a five of a kind which will usually beat a straight flush. That is because the joker card can an ace card, thus giving the player a huge advantage.
As for the 2-card hand, the best pair of cards would be a pair of aces and the worst possible combination is a pair that consists of cards 2 and 3.
The Role of the Joker
As previously mentioned, the addition of the joker card signifies that the player who wields it will be able to turn it into an ace. The only exception to this would be if the Joker card is used as a means to complete a straight or a flush.
That being said, the joker card in Pai Gow is also referred to as the bug.
Once the players have assembled their 5-card and 2-card hands, they will place all of their hands in front of them- making sure that the 2-card hand will be placed at the front and the 5-card hand in the back (hence the ‘front’ and ‘back’ hands mentioned previously). All of the players at the table are contending to win both hands against the entity known as the banker.
The banker can either be the dealer or any of the players at the table (which is determined before the start of the game).
Every player will then compare their own cards to that of the banker’s cards. If the hands of the player both beat the ones that are in the banker’s hands, then that particular player wins.
If only one hand wins against the banker, the player will get their original bet. Should the banker have much better hands than the player, then the latter obviously loses the game.