An Introduction to Pai Gow

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What is Pai Gow?

If you think back to the time when we played all kinds of games as kids, many of us will fondly remember dominoes. That’s what we called the game back then, but it does have its own name – Pai Gow. This popular table game is played with 52 Chinese dominoes and is very popular in Asia and the USA. It has also found success in many online casinos being the base of a card game known as pai gow poker.

Historically, Pai Gow is the first documented form of dominoes. It originated in ancient China during the Song Dynasty, and was a leisure type of game for centuries to follow. Of course, it’s the ancestor of the various modern games of dominoes. Its name means ‘make nine’, which is indicates the game’s objective. The original game was modelled after the Chinese creation myth. What it’s most popular for is the game of pai gow poker which is modelled after these rules.

How to Play Pai Gow

Playing pai gow poker isn’t as complicated as you might think. There are no dominoes involved in a game of poker, obviously, but the rules of this game are based on the ancient game of Pai Gow. This version of the game is played with playing cards instead of dominoes. Unlike its ancient predecessor, the patent for pai gow poker was filed in 1985 by Sam Torosian, owner of the iconic bell Card Club.

Pai gow poker is played with a standard deck of 52 cards and a single joker. It is played on a table with six players and the dealer. The goal of the player is to create two hands—one of five cards and the other containing two—that will defeat the dealer. The five-card hand rank must exceed the one of the lower hand, which is reflected in the latter’s name which is often ‘small’ or ‘minor’. The higher hand is called ‘big’ or ‘high’.

Pai Gow Tips

  • Before you start playing pai gow poker, make sure to learn the rules of poker and memorize the hands. It’s best to practice for free and sharpen your skills which will make you a better poker player in the long run.
  • When you’re dealt a single pair, it’s best to use it in the big hand.
  • If you’re dealt a pair or better, it’s best to leave the highest-ranking card in the back, and use the next two high-ranking cards in the high hand.
  • When playing this poker variant or any other, it’s best to start with smaller bets. Poker is a game of skill and if you’re not confident in your skills, your bankroll will be destroyed by far more capable players. The good news is that here in NetBet casino, practice makes perfect for pai gow poker, and you can do it for free.

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