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Table Games Pai Gow Poker Hands - Questions

Discussion in 'Table Games' started by AnabelleT, Mar 31, 2014.

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  1. AnabelleT

    AnabelleT Tourist

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    I've been playing a lot of Pai Gow Poker recently, almost as much as Baccarat.

    Pai Gow Poker is a much slower game and by setting my hands, I feel more like I'm doing something, like I'm creating a win. In Baccarat (still my favorite game) it's more intuitive, it's less work as far as thinking, it's more about sensing my bets and watching the monitor for possible patterns.

    Anyway, I played Pai Gow Poker earlier tonight for a while, again I came out ahead by a hair because I chose to stop while ahead, though I could've kept going.

    I remember a couple of my hands and I wanted your opinion.

    I had AAA in one hand and I played them together with a J9 as my low hand. The nice Asian man next to me said I should've played AJ as my low hand and keep the two Aces on the high hand. Is that better strategy? I was going for a win with the three Aces and thought J9 was good enough to win or at least give me a push.

    Another hand I was "corrected" on was 10-10-10-7-7-K-4. I wanted to go strong with the full house, so I put the K4 as my low hand. I was told I should've played the two 7s as the low hand instead.

    Another similar hand was two low pairs, I think they were 66 and 33. I played them together with a Q5 as my low hand. Again I was told I should've played the 33 as my low hand.

    In all the above hands I got a push. I tend to want to play strong hands in the high position in order to almost guarantee me a push and hopefully a win. I'm kind of afraid to split too much thinking I have a better chance of losing that way.

    Is my thinking wrong here?
     
  2. tmaas21

    tmaas21 Low-Roller

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    I'm not a pai gow expert - I play it as a break from other games. But...the man was correct in many cases. The advice to split your AAA up was a strategy to get a win. And the other hands you played too conservatively - when dealt those hands in pai gow you have to be willing to break them up in order to win on both hands and see chips come your way. There are hard and fast rules that the dealer must follow when setting their hand. You should research these if you plan to play paigow for any amount of time.

    Also - never be afraid to ask your dealer how the house would set your hand. Almost without fail, the dealer will be glad to help you set your hand.
     
  3. SH0CK

    SH0CK Stylin' and Profilin' Quasi Tech Admin

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    You will hear a lot about the "house way" of playing a hand, which is where a lot of the correct play thinking comes from. At the Mirage, they now have a device (which in itself is kinda creepy) that knows what cards you have in your position and the dealer can press a button for your position at the table and it will tell you what the low hand should be by the house way.

    Back on topic though...

    Trip aces, I would probably split as well. With AJ, there are 15 other hands that can beat that where with J9, there are around 50 hands that can beat you. A pair of aces is pretty strong as a top hand, unless the dealer has 3 pair, which they would use the lower 2 pair as the strong hand with the stronger pair as the lower.

    Same with the full house. The trips are very strong with the 7's only having 7 other hands that can beat that.

    As for the low pairs, that I would split them as well. A pair of 3's may not appear strong, but it is only beat by 11 other hands. The only way I would keep those 2 togther is if I had a loose ace.

    When in doubt though, ask the dealer. Pai Gow is a very social game and the casino isn't afraid to let you ask for help.
     
  4. AnabelleT

    AnabelleT Tourist

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    Thank you guys, I think see what you mean, yes, I was playing too conservatively when I should be totally going for a win!

    I'll research this more of course.

    I don't like to ask the dealer how to set my hand, I learned how to set it and I'm shy about slowing the game even more by asking these types of questions. I know enough to play without having to ask, so I'll just have to keep practicing on my iphone/ipad/online and looking for learning sources. If you guys know any good books and such, please let me know.
     
  5. hornhiyo

    hornhiyo Low-Roller

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    Also, keep in mind with the full house, even if you split it, you still get paid on any potential bonus as having a full house.

    Ace high is a very strong low hand. You won't win at paigow without strong 2 card hands.
     
  6. OneManWolfPack

    OneManWolfPack Tourist

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    Alway break up a full house. 3 oak will win the high hand the majority of the time. Your priority should always be t make the strongest high hand.

    I like the breaking up,of the 3a to put the aj up, only would work on aces of course, but it gave you a stronger top. Can turn a push into a win, worth the shot. I just bought wongs pai gow strategy book.
    The only real decisions are on what to do with certain kinds of 2 pair.
     
  7. OneManWolfPack

    OneManWolfPack Tourist

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    I meant priority should be to make strongest low hand. Sorry don't want to confuse anyone.
     
  8. WrongWayWade

    WrongWayWade VIP Whale

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    Basically, you ARE thinking about it wrong. The plays you made DID generate near certain pushes, but you wan WINS, not pushes! With three Aces always split off one ace for the top (top = low hand = 2 card hand, common parlance.). But any other trips, even Kings you keep together.

    ALWAYS split up a full house, unless of course, if you have another pair.

    Wizard of Odds has a good rule that's easy to remember about splitting two pair. First, add up the ranks of the pairs; in your case it would be 3 + 6 = 9. Count a Jack as 11, Queen as 12, King as 13, Ace as 14.

    If the total is 6 or less, play a Queen or better up top, otherwise split the pairs.
    If the total is 7 to 11, play a King or better up top, otherwise split the pairs.
    If the total is 12 to 16, play an Ace up top, otherwise split the pairs.
    if the total is 17 or more, always split the pairs.

    Another hand that looks hard but you can use this easy rule is if you have a hand that is both a straight AND two pair or a flush AND two pair. If you have such a hand just play it exactly like it's two pair all the time, pretending you don't have the flush/straight. (Of course, you'll still get the straight or flush bonus payment if you're playing the bonus.)

    One more: if you have a straight AND a flush, just play the one that makes the top hand best.


    But yes, I agree it's a fun game and I've played a TON of it. But I can seldom win money at it, it seems. It shouldn't be that hard, the edge is only 2.5% on the main game, but you do ultimately give away a lot playing the $5 bonus which is ~2% to ~8% depending on the number of players at the table (envy bonus is the difference). Without the bonus, though, it seems pretty dull.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2014
  9. Hurr1cane310

    Hurr1cane310 Tourist

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    Definitely use the wizard of odds strategy for splitting two pair. It's good over the long run and it is a lot easier to remember than the other strategies out there.
     
  10. vegasvic

    vegasvic VIP Whale

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    I used to play PGP quite a bit but haven't played in years (seems as if the number of tables has dwindled, maybe that's not the case). Now with all this recent PGP talk on here I'm itching to play again.
     
  11. AnabelleT

    AnabelleT Tourist

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    Thank you WrongWayWade for the detailed response! Awesome!

    At the casino where I play regularly here in South Florida there are only 3 Pai Gow Poker tables, and I think about 7 or 8 Three Card Poker tables. About 6 Baccarat tables, and about a thousand Blackjack tables.
     
  12. The Furry One

    The Furry One Low-Roller

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    Wizardofodds is a great source of information but also don't be afraid to vary your play for weaker hands if you like. For instance if I'm dealt just a pair of aces with nothing else over a T in my experience I have done better splitting the aces to concentrate on a stronger top hand and play primarily for a push with a slim chance of a win than I would have done keeping them together.

    Furry
     
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