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Table Games Pai Gow Poker

Discussion in 'Table Games' started by AnabelleT, Mar 27, 2014.

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  1. AnabelleT

    AnabelleT Tourist

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    I play Baccarat at the casino about three times a week now. I started a few months ago and became totally hooked! I love it! Since then I've been introduced to other casino table games, so I'm starting to enjoy Pow Gow Poker and Three Card Poker as well (mostly PGP).

    As far as Pai Gow Poker, is there an ultimate strategy for it?

    Any unique and interesting things about Pai Gow Poker anyone wants to share?
     
  2. dutchvelvet

    dutchvelvet VIP Whale

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  3. WrongWayWade

    WrongWayWade VIP Whale

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    Because you won't know the exact details of the house way the casino is using to play against you, it's impossible to have a 'perfect' strategy for Pai Gow (unlike Blackjack where you can know the exact play every time based on the rules in play.) Anything you find at Wizard of Odds will get you going in the right direction, and it's perfectly acceptable to ask the dealer what the 'house way' is for your hand. You'll seldom be giving up much of anything by playing the house way, other than some 'house ways' are more conservative in that they push a lot more. Often I'll be more aggressive, trying to win this single hand rather than going for a push.

    Example, some house ways will keep two small pairs together all the time, regardless of how bad the top (two-card) hand becomes. This gives the house better chances of pushing all around with these low cards and not losing that often. Individual players probably should split those pairs, going for more wins. Playing 10-7 on top and 22+44 on the bottom will almost NEVER win. Playing 22 on top and 44 on bottom will win more often, but converts some of the pushes you would otherwise get into losses compared to keeping the two pairs together.
     
  4. The Furry One

    The Furry One Low-Roller

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    As WrongWayWade says there is no definitive strategy for Pai Gow but it's not too difficult to get to know the way a particular 'house' plays by both watching them set their hands and occasionally asking the dealer how you should play one that could vary from 'house' to 'house'. Knowing how the 'house' is likely to set their hands can give you a very small edge in setting yours for the odd deal here and there, of course though at that point you don't know what cards they have so you are only hedging against them having specific combinations which they might not even have.

    Most dealers I've encountered have been very experienced in Pai Gow but if you're playing the bonus bet always best to be on your toes if splitting things like flushes and straights across the two hands (especially if using the joker) as occasionally a reminder that you've 'hit' the bonus bet might be needed.

    Furry
     
  5. AnabelleT

    AnabelleT Tourist

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    Thank you, guys! Excellent tips!

    I played Pai Gow Poker tonight for about a half hour and just came out ahead. I was a bit nervous in some of the hands, but I did all right.

    At one point the dealer had two pairs, a joker, and a flush (using the joker) and he instead chose to use the two pairs rather than the straight. I didn't ask, but I guess that's how the house is supposed to split those particular pairs, I don't remember what the pairs were now.

    Fun!
     
  6. WrongWayWade

    WrongWayWade VIP Whale

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    Unlike blackjack dealers that don't have to know correct basic strategy (and most of the time they don't!) Pai Gow dealers MUST know the house way for their casino because they must set their own hand. Thus you can depend on the advice they will give you. However, it still can be a good dealer error game, where they pay you on a push or push a loss, for example.

    You'll see some tables with a little TV in front of the dealer. In combination with the shuffling machine that knows exactly what is dealt to each position (spooky, huh??:wink2:), they can push a button and it will tell them the correct house way for their hand or any player's hand (it shows the two cards to play on top.) Usually the dealers still have the house way memorized, but this is a crutch that some places use.
     
  7. Texas Gramma

    Texas Gramma Low-Roller

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    Free practice sites for Pai Gow and 3 Card Poker

    There is a site where you can practice pai gow and if you check the options at the top, it will tell you when you made a decision that was not the usual odds way to play... then you can follow the odds or choose to go against them. I practiced on this and was very comfortable at The D downtown Vegas playing $5 chips on a version called Pai Gow Mania... loved it and played for hours on $100 bankroll... always coming away with some of my money and sometimes a win. The site is http://wizardofvegas.com/games/pai-gow-poker
    ---
    A similar site for 3 card poker... with options for help... and above it on "more games" are practice sites for 7 other games...
    http://www.3-cardpokeronline.com/mobile.html?utm_source=missstud&utm_medium=mobile_link&utm_campaign=link_promote
     
  8. The Furry One

    The Furry One Low-Roller

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    Indeed but you still encounter the odd novice Pai Gow dealer that is yet to become fully proficient once in a while and even experienced dealers sometimes miss the odd bonus payout. Not personally encountered those little screens but then we've sadly not been able to visit our favourite destination over the pond for a couple of years, hopefully that will still be the case in a couple of months when we finally hope to get back in the 'groove' :)

    Furry
     
  9. AnabelleT

    AnabelleT Tourist

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    Very useful, I'll practice on that, thank you!
     
  10. easy_money

    easy_money Low-Roller

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    Usually if you have a flush/straight, most likely you have no top. If the dealer had a good top (being a Ace with any other random card), they would play the flush/straight. If there's 2 pairs, regardless of the pairs, the house way would be to play the pairs. Playing the flush/straight is usually a push hand. The house way(casino) is trying to go for the kill. I've playing this game for 14 years and it's the only game I play. I've seen Vegas and Atlantic City casinos each do it differently sometimes. Some casinos may put the flush if they don't have medium-high pairs. Some play the 2 pairs regardless of what they are.
     
  11. easy_money

    easy_money Low-Roller

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    I don't know if it's necessarily a tip, but a strategy of mine is when i have Pai Gow (all single cards) like A,2,4,7,8,9,K, instead of putting K,9 up top, I would put K,8 up top and throw the A,9 on the bottom. I do that to protect the A since it's a crappy hand already and house way for the dealer is if they have Pai Gow also is to throw 2nd and 3rd highest card up there. I've ran into many situations where that saved me, but also a few times where I would've pushed, but I lost. But it's worked out in my favor more often.
     
  12. AnabelleT

    AnabelleT Tourist

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    Thank you, easy_money! Awesome!

    I played Pai Gow for about an hour last night. I came out with a slight loss, I think because I made the side bet a few times and didn't win. My hand splitting was fine, I think I'm getting the hang of it! Great game!
     
  13. DuckyD77090

    DuckyD77090 Tourist

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    I've played Pai Gow all over the states. From sea (Atlantic City) to shining sea (Los Angeles). If you want a hoot, go to the Hustler casino in LA. The nuttier customesr play in the middle of the pit and play 2 seats each at 4 tables all at the same time. And the dealers go so fast. 40 hands per hour, at least. (Most Pai Gow is lucky to see 30 hands/hr)

    What you saw with the hand where there were two pair nested within a flush was set correctly. It's called the "two pair rule," and almost all casinos abide by it. The notable exception is in casinos where the house way keeps two small (<6) pair together. They will prioritize a small straight over two small pair and will play {3,3,4,4,5,6,7} as {3,4,5,6,7} {3,4}. However, that's a very specific exception to the rule and only in certain casinos.

    The absolute 'correct' way to set your hand actually depends on the house way. That's not to say that you should always set your hand the same as the house way, but what you should do is dependent upon what the dealer will do.

    It's also dependent on all the information you can gather. How many Aces (+ Kings, if the house way keeps two small or small+mid pairs together) do you see on the player's side of the table? How many face cards? Any obvious lack of one particular suit across 3-4 hands?

    This, this, this.

    K8 v K9 is actually a very small change (as opposed to KQ v KJ which is a much, much larger difference in [top] hand strength) compared to the strength change of A8xxx v A9xxx. You have to judge these moves across tens of millions of hands. And, yes, it will save you more than it will hurt in the long run.
     
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