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Of all the games I’ve dealt, and in all the casinos I’ve played at, the best game, in my opinion, is Pai Gow Poker. I first learned about the game back in 1998 when I was still somewhat of a rookie dealer. Pai Gow was just starting to become popular at our casino, so I got the chance to learn how to deal it. At first it was quite overwhelming, as there are many rules and exceptions on how to play the hands, but I eventually caught on. My first thought was, “this game is cool!” And that opinion is shared by many.

So what exactly is Pai Gow poker and how is it played? It starts with a standard deck of cards plus one single Joker. There are six players, plus the dealer, and everyone plays against the Banker. This person can be the dealer, or any one of the six players at the table. The object of the game is to Situs Agen two hands out of the seven cards that are dealt. The low hand consists of your 2 second highest cards, and the high hand is the actual 5 card poker hand. This must rank higher than your low hand.

How you win is by beating the banker on both the high hand, and the low hand. Now, if you win the high hand but lose against the dealer on the low hand (or vice versa), it’s a “push”. Like in Blackjack, that’s a tie, and you don’t win, or lose the hand. This is why I like to play this game. You can sit and play for quite awhile and usually at least break even. I sat at a table all afternoon in Vegas playing a $5 minimum table, and ended up walking away only $20 ahead, but I had a great time.

Another perk of the game is that players can take turns being the “Banker”. What this means is that all the other players, including the dealer, are playing against that person (We’ll call this person “Pat”). Pat now has to cover all the other bets on the table. This is because if Pat gets a lousy hand, and the other players all have winning hands, Pat has to pay them all. If Pat beats everyone, all losing bets go to Pat, and the game is over. It is then the Dealers’ turn to bank.

Players don’t “bank” very often because a) They don’t like to play against each other b) The dealer doesn’t bother to ask if the players if they would like to bank each turn. The only time players will “bank” is if the dealer is really “hot” and they think it will improve or change the flow of the cards. I don’t personally buy into this theory. As a dealer, I’ve often “killed” a table whether someone banks or not. A hot dealer is a hot dealer, and banking ISN’T going to change a thing.

When I go to a casino, I like the Fortune Pai Gow Poker tables. These are good because if you get a hand of Three of a Kind or better, you get a bonus payout. You can bet from $1-$50, and if you get a Fortune bonus in your hand, you get paid on that, even if you lose. What’s even better is the “Envy” bonus. This means that if you bet $5 or more on the Fortune, if someone else on the table gets Four of a Kind or higher, YOU get a piece of the action. In this case, you’d get an additional $5 (according to the payout table). Unfortunately, I haven’t seen Fortune Pai Gow at any online casinos, but I’m always on the lookout.

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