Entering the category of table games in the lobby of most UK online casinos, you will notice numerous variations of poker there. Pai Gow Poker is one of them. Pai Gow poker originates from a famous Chinese domino game called Pai Gow as well. It was really popular in China and some other Eastern countries many centuries ago. As for the modern variation of this game when dominoes got replaced with traditional cards, it came to the American brick-and-mortar casino floors in 1980s. Right now practically everyone can enjoy this card game in UK online casinos.
Pai Gow poker is played with one traditional deck and one Joker. However, this Joker cannot substitute for all other cards as usually. The rules of Joker will be explained below. So, we decided to take Playtech software as an example of Pai Gow gameplay and rules. You can check it out on such gambling sites as Omni Casino for instance. Once you launch the game you will see a purple table with Chinese dragons on it. This is probably a tribute to the Chinese origin of Pai Gow poker. The first thing you are expected to do is to place an ante bet. Omni Casino offers you the following set of chips: $0.01, $0.10, $0.50, $1, $5, $10 and $25. Minimum wager equals $0.01 while the highest betting limit is $300 (some other software providers can have different low and high limits). So, you place your bet that goes to the BET area in the centre of the table. Then you press the DEAL button located underneath the table. Both you and a banker will be dealt 7 cards, however you will be able to see your cards only.
The next stage is probably the most important in the whole Pai Gow game. You need to analyze the cards you see in front of you and divide them into two hands. The first hand is also called ‘back’ or ‘highest’ hand. It consists of 5 cards and will stay in the first row. The second hand is also called ‘front’ or ’second highest’. It consists of 2 cards and will be transferred to the second row. The main rule you should follow when splitting your hand is that the back hand should be always higher than the front hand. In other words, it should qualify higher on the traditional poker hands ranking than the second hand.
Therefore, to play Pai Gow poker successfully you need to learn the traditional poker hands rankings. The only difference implemented in Pai Gow concerning the hands is that the straight from Ace to five is ranked as the second highest combination instead of straight from 9 to King. The highest poker hand you can collect in the front 2-card hand is certainly a pair of Aces. As for the Joker rule that we have already mentioned above, a Joker can substitute for other cards only in such hands as straight, flush or straight flush. If you don’t have any of these combinations, then Joker will act as an Ace.
By the way, if you are not sure of the right way to split your original hand, you can always press the House Way button that appears after you press the DEAL button. Pressing this button your cards will be divided automatically according to the optimal Pai Gow strategy. Such a functionality is implemented by practically all UK online casinos as it facilitates Pai Gow gambling process significantly.
So, if both a back and a front hands of yours beat the hands of a dealer, then you win a 1 to 1 payout. If only one of your hands is higher, then it’s called a push and you receive your ante bet back. If both your hands are weaker than dealer’s hands, then you lose your bet. Pai Gow Poker is one of the most skill-based games in UK online casinos, so why not to check it out?