Pai gow poker is a classic casino table game. It started in card clubs with players passing the bank around the table. It later became a live table game in casinos. Players could still bank on their turn. However, few took this opportunity and preferred to go against the house every hand.
Casinos disliked players banking one of their games. The solution became the invention of variants that do not permit players to bank. It started with no commission versions. Eventually, Face Up Pai Gow Poker was invented. That game is now by far the most popular version of pai gow poker in Las Vegas.
All pai gow poker versions award a push, known as a copy, to the banker. Most pai gow poker tables offer side bets that often include a progressive jackpot for a seven-card straight flush. The joker may be used in this hand. Pai gow poker progressive jackpots often include five aces, which receives 10% of the meter.
How to buy into a pai gow poker game
Players get chips at a pai gow poker table by placing cash in the table. It may not be handed to the dealer. The cash is counted and converted into chips. If a player arrives at a pai gow poker table with chips from another game, the dealer can break it into smaller denominations, if needed.
Face Up Pai Gow Poker
Face Up Pai Gow Poker is dealt just as it sounds. The banker’s hand is dealt face up. The dealer sets it before the players act. There is little skill in this Face Up Pai Gow Poker. That is because the player only needs to figure out how to beat a hand that is already set.
There is no commission in Face Up Pai Gow Poker. The house pushes all hands when dealt an ace high. In the event of a push, side bets are still evaluated.
The house edge of Face Up Pai Gow Poker is 1.8%. This is the lowest of all versions. However, it is also dealt faster than the other versions because players need less time to set hands as the banker hand is already known. That takes the guesswork out of it.
Fortune Pai Gow Poker with commission
Fortune Poker is dealt two ways. This section covers the traditional version of Fortune Pai Gow Poker.
In this variant, players are offered the chance to bank. Players set their hands before the banker sets it. If a player is banking a hand of Fortune Pai Gow Poker, others should make sure not to disclose the contents of their hand to that person as it could be used against them, just like at a standard poker table.
Once players have set the hand, the banker looks at the cards and does the same. Player wins require a 5% commission. If a player banks a hand of Fortune Pai Gow Poker, the net win has a 5% commission taken from it.
No Commission Fortune Pai Gow Poker
No Commission Fortune Pai Gow Poker does not charge 5% on winning hands. It also does not permit players to bank. The house pushes all players on a queen-high pai gow.
Emperor’s Challenge Pai Gow Poker with commission
Emperor’s Challenge Pai Gow Poker is like the standard version Fortune Pai Gow Poker. However, it is the least popular of the two variants. Players may bank in this version. Wins, including the net when a player banks, have a 5% commission.
Emperor’s Challenge Exposed
This game is dealt like Face Up Pai Gow Poker. Players may not bank. The house pushes all player hands with an ace-high pai gow. There is no commission on wins.
How to set a pai gow poker hand
The players and banker must set a pai gow hand. It is broken up into two sets. There is a to-card and a five-card hand. The five card hand must be higher than the two-card hand. If the player improperly sets a hand, it loses.
The two hands are then compared. If the banker wins one hand and the player wins the other, it is a push. When the banker wins both hands, it wins. If the player wins both hands, it wins. A player win may require a 5% commission, depending on the game. These are described above.
A tie is called a copy. The banker always wins a copy. If the banker wins and copies, the banker wins. If the player wins and copies, it is a push.