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The Ultimate Guide to Pai Gow Poker
 

 
The game of poker is available in many various shapes and forms. There are all sorts of different poker variants, with some of the most popular types of poker games including Texas Hold'Em, Omaha, Irish Poker and Seven-card Stud - even H.O.R.S.E. These are the types that most people will be familiar with.

Another form of poker though is Pai Gow poker, which has origins in China. You may be a lot less familiar with this strand of gaming but that doesn't mean that it is any less fun nor any less entertaining. So as you learn more about the game, here is an ultimate guide giving you everything you need to know about Pai Gow poker!

What is the History of Pai Gow?
 
 
The original game of Pai Gow began in China as a gambling game that uses a set of 32 Chinese dominoes. Loosely translating as "make nine" because of the maximum score of a hand, the game of Pai Gow tasks players with forming two hands that each have two tiles in. There's a front hand which has a lower score and a rear hand which has the higher score; if the player's front and rear hands beat the dealer's, they win the bet. If they lose both hands, they lose the bet and if one hand wins and one loses they "push" and get their money back. As we will see in the next section, the rules of Pai Gow poker have been adapted from this original Chinese version. It was Sam Torosian, the owner of the Bell Card Club, who created the poker version of the game in 1985. This is often described as an Americanized version of the Chinese, dominobased game. America is seen as the home of poker, so it makes sense that it would have such a home-grown game, especially considering the history of Chinese immigration to the US.

Another form of poker though is Pai Gow poker, which has origins in China. You may be a lot less familiar with this strand of gaming but that doesn't mean that it is any less fun nor any less entertaining. So as you learn more about the game, here is an ultimate guide giving you everything you need to know about Pai Gow poker!

What Are the Rules of Pai Gow Poker?
 
 
The rules of Pai Gow poker differ quite a bit from the rules of other card games, such as baccarat, blackjack, and faro. Instead of the domino system that the Chinese version uses, players are just dealt a hand of seven cards in order to make two hands of five and two cards. The back hand uses the standard poker hand ranking format, while the front hand can only be made up of a pair or two high cards. Fouling your hand means you lose your bet, so it's very important to pay attention here. Again, the goal is for each hand to beat the dealer's hand. If your hands are better than the dealer's you win, if both are worse then you lose and if only one of your hands wins it's a push. Also keep in mind that if you have the same hand as the dealer, the dealer will win that hand.

Where Can People Play Pai Gow?
Since first being created some 35 years ago, Pai Gow poker has been adopted in many poker rooms and casinos around the world, both online and offline. As is perhaps expected, both Pai Gow and Pai Gow poker is especially popular in casinos in Macau, the autonomous Chinese territory which pits itself as the Asian gambling hub. One example is Grand Emperor Hotel and Casino, where Sic Bo, another Asian table game, is also offered in addition to classic staples like roulette and blackjack. Pai Gow poker can also be played in casinos in the United Kingdom and the United States. As online casino operators work to stand out from the competition and add more games to their platforms, casinos such as Betway have chosen to offer Pai Gow poker as an option in their lobby. As of today, there are no widely used live dealer casino versions of Pai Gow poker. However, online casino game developer Play N'Go have developed what is arguably the most popular online version at the moment, while Rival Games also have a version out. The original, domino-based version of Pai Gow remains a major part of Chinese culture as well.

Why is Pai Gow Poker So Popular?
The popularity of Pai Gow poker likely stems from its rich and interesting history. As mentioned, Pai Gow is a massive part of Chinese culture and so many gamers in the west likely relish the chance to play this intriguing take on the classic game. The fact that it is just a new poker variation that's different enough but not so different that general pieces of poker advice don't apply may also contribute to people's interest in it. The online world has also helped popularize this until recently fairly unknown table game, with Michael Wehking's book Winning Pai Gow: A Pocket Guide getting published in April 2018. Being so new, Pai Gow has had far less to build up an audience than other variations. But interest in it is steadily growing thanks to how readily available the game is becoming, drawing more players in.
 
 
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