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Pai Gow Poker Rules

by Tarun Sharma


Let's learn some different type of poker other than Texas holdem, 7 card stud, 5 card draw and Omaha. Yes, pai gow poker. Now you must be wondering that pai gow sounds little Chinese; yes you are right this game is a mixture of the Chinese game pai gow and our very own American poker. Definitely this is not one of the most popular forms of poker but still widely played. It can be played by up to seven players.

It is played with one deck of 52 cards, plus a joker. Interestingly, joker can be used only as an ace, or to complete a straight, a flush, a straight flush, or a royal flush. The important thing here to remember is other than the usual ranking of hands we have one more winning hand that is "Five Aces" (five aces including the joker). Surprisingly, five aces beat all other hands including royal flush.

Each player is dealt seven cards. The cards are arranged to make two hands; a two card hand and a five card hand. The five card hand must rank higher or be equal to the two card hand. Finally both of your hands must rank higher than both of your opponents hands (both five and two card hands). Further the two card hand can only have two combinations; one pair and high card.

After the cards are arranged in to two hands, they are placed on the table face down. Once you put them down, you can no longer touch them. The dealer will turn over his cards and make his hands. Each players hand is compared to the dealer's hands. If the player wins one hand and loses the other, this is known as "push" and no money is exchanged. If dealer wins both hands then he/she wins the players stake and vice versa. Now what if there is a tie, the only advantage with the dealer here is he/she wins all ties.

After the hand is played, the next person clock-wise becomes the dealer and the next hand is played. The major disadvantage to this game is that there is no skill involved and you rely too much on luck. Also the odds are poor compared to playing with a pot.

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