Pai Gow is an ancient game that has its origins in China. It is very similar to poker, but it substitutes tiles for cards. It remains a popular game in many Asian countries, and many casinos outside of Asia feature some form of Pai Gow.
Additionally, the rise of technology has paved the way for many online variations, such as Pai Gow poker. Many leading online casinos such as gclub have the game in their catalogs, although it is not easy to make a fortune from it.
Traditional Pai Gow
People traditionally played Pai Gow using 32 dominoes (tiles), 11 of which are identical. For new players, the dealer helps with setting the tiles in a way that lowers the losing risks. However, this does not limit seasoned players from utilizing their tactics to win.
Pai Gow Rules
No bookie will confidently recommend Pai Gow, as it is high in variance. However, that shouldn’t stop players from enjoying it, especially with adequate information on the game.
Everything seems to follow a particular pattern, but you need avid mastery of the game rules to succeed. As the game is somewhat complicated and confusing, it might take a while before a player has enough knowledge to play it confidently on online casinos.
Ranking of the tiles/dominoes
In Pai Gow, the ranking of dominoes is the most crucial feature. When playing on online casinos, the aim is to form two hands from four tiles that will beat each of the dealer’s hands.
First, the ranking of tiles is not in a specific pattern (example: from highest to lowest) but in Chinese symbols. For instance, in the rank chart, 12 sits first while 2 comes second. To get the highest-ranking hand, you need to combine the domino 6 (red 4, white 2) with domino 3 (red 1, white 2) to form the Gee John. Other pairs are the Bo and the Chop Bo.
The best hand you can have in Pai Gow is 9, which is where the name of the game comes from. Pai Gow can loosely translates to “make nine” or “card nine.”
Arrangement of the dominoes
From a set of 32, each player (including the dealer) receives four dominoes face-down. Again, this is a randomized process where chances of distribution are equally likely. Just like in poker, a player can secretly examine his tiles.
From here, each person arranges their dominoes in two hands of pair tiles. For example, when playing Pai Gow Poker, the pair has to comprise a high and a low hand. This stage of scoring hands is what baffles many new players.
As previously mentioned, it is a complex game, especially for inexperienced players. However, once you learn the ins and outs, Pai Gow becomes easy. For most hands in any online casino, you can tackle this by adding the total number of pips (dots) on your tiles.
Keep in mind that this is a short overview of the Pai Gow and its rules. Additionally, there are many variations on traditional Pai Gow. As a result, it is best if you search for the rules of that specific variation.
Either way, Pai Gow is a complex game that is sure to provide hours of endless fun on online casinos, if you know how to play.