As poker fever continues to creep into the minds of people all across the world, many of you have asked us to shed some light on a number of different versions of the game. After all, Texas Hold’em is only one of hundreds of variants of the game. In this segment we will take a closer look one of these variations, Pai Gow Poker, and try to answer, among other things, questions such as: what’s behind the funny-sounding name and how do you play this funky-looking variety of poker? So here goes – we hope you find it useful.
What is Pai Gow Poker?
This version of online poker has its original roots in the ancient Chinese game called Pai Gow, which means “make nine” in that language. It has merged with the basic form of poker to become a very popular and relatively new gambling game. It only entered Vegas casinos in 1987, but was an instant success due to its established popularity in California and surrounding areas with a large Asian population. The game debuted in Atlantic City casinos the following year, and was greeted with even more fanfare. Although Pai Gow poker hasn’t gained the notoriety of its famous cousin, Texas Hold’em, the game continues to grow in popularity.
The current game is descended from the aforementioned ancient Chinese game, but the two versions bear little resemblance to one another. The original Pai Gow is a cryptic and symbolic game, very difficult to learn, and was originally played with dominos. Pai Gow Poker on the other hand is quite straightforward and based on standard poker hands, with very simple rules to follow.
How to Play
In Pai Gow Poker, a 53-card deck is used. The additional card, typically a joker, is a designated wild card. The wild card may be used to complete straights and flushes, but otherwise it seen as an Ace. Pai Gow Poker is played on a blackjack table, and up to six players can play at a time. Similar to Blackjack, the players compete against the dealer.
At the start of each hand you are dealt seven cards, which you must form into two hands – one with five cards and the other with two. The object is to win money by beating both the dealer’s high (5-card) hand and low (2-card) hand. If the player loses both hands, the dealer collects the player’s wager, and if the hand’s are split then the round is considered a push and no money is exchanged. The only other situation which may arise is when the player and the dealer have identical hands (either high or low). In this case the tie goes to the dealer, and it’s called a “copy”.
When a player wins a hand, there is usually a 5% commission subtracted from his winnings. This means that if a player wagers $10, his return on a winning hand will be $19.50. The dealer’s rake ensures that over time he will have an edge, albeit a small one.
Several online gaming sites offer the chance to play Pai Gow for both practice and for real money.
When playing the casino game of video poker players need to be careful when thinking they have the best hand. Be careful and wait for all the cards to be been given out. You may have been dealt two pocket kings, but do not realize that the person next to you was just dealt two pocket aces. It has been said that this is not a common occurrence in regular poker but I have seen it many times in online poker.
Another good strategy for online poker is to only go in a hand when you have something good. Many online players decide to just go in just to see if they get lucky. Going in when you do not have the cards is never a good idea. When playing poker you should only go in when you have good cards.
When playing online its easy to get distracted. Make sure you have scheduled quiet time for your game. Put the kids to bed, turn off the TV and do not surf the Internet while playing. These things can make you lose hands because you are not paying attention to what is happening. All online games will have a sit out option. You should use the sit out option as often as you need until the distractions have passed and you can concentrate.
Remember do not go all in every time someone at your table does. People go all in for all kinds of reasons, know yours! Going in because someone keeps taking the ante is not a reason. Putting all your money in means you cannot back out, you must be sure and poker is not a sure bet. At best its a 50/50 shot.
Do not bluff people in online Poker. Bluffing is very risky and will very often backfire. Putting in a lot of money just to make someone go out is not a good decision because you never know who is sitting there with pocket aces.
Try to know your opponent. You may not be able to see the other players but you can get an idea of how they bet. If you are watching other players and they fold every hand and than one hand they bet a lot, they probably have something. If you have been paying attention you will notice their bet and fold.
Another strategy is to pay attention to not only your cards but pay attention to the cards on the table. If you have two pair and there are four spades on the table, think, can someone else sitting at this table have that fifth spade? Look at all the cards on the table and think about what others could have versus the cards you are holding.
Lastly, and I cannot stress this enough. When sitting home at the computer playing video poker, do not drink! This is a very way strategy while other may not have all their senses you will. It is easy to get comfortable and grab a beer or glass of wine, but remember you are playing to win. Drinking will cloud you judgment. You will always play better sober.
Video poker is actually rather different from playing the regular version whether in person or online, despite the fact that all use the same common term to describe the game. While they will use the same basic rules to play the strategies for wins tend to be different. There also may be additional rules in the online version when it comes to adding up scores that you will not necessarily see with regular games.
Probably one of the biggest differences between them is the fact that if you are playing in person you are playing against the casino or the “house” and the game will be designed to allow the casino too win however, when you are playing the regular game it is focused on playing against another person and therefore your odds will likely change.
The game remains the same regardless of which way you play it when it comes to the cards. While there may be some slight differences you still must have the best hand in order to get a positive outcome. When playing the online version you can change your hand to improve your odds unlike the regular version. For players are just learning playing online can be a huge advantage sounds websites will often allow newcomers to play for free as they learn.
The regular version of poker as well as the video machines often have various times in which you can place a bet. Often, there are numerous rounds offered to the player. However, if you are playing the online version you will often be required to place one bet at the beginning of the game depending on where you are playing.
In order to win you must follow through when playing on the Web. While there may be multiple rounds to opt out of with other games playing online requires you to see it through to the end to learn whether not you have won.
If you are a beginner in the casino game of video poker then you might find yourself somewhat overwhelmed by the number of variations available. Each machine will have a different variation of the game available.
The great advantage to having a variety of different types of games to play is that you can learn ahead of time what the payout amount is on the machine and choose which one suits you more. While there are indeed a lot of various ways to play there are some more popular ones you may want to get acquainted with in the beginning.
Beginners to the game would probably find the easiest one to begin learning would be the one referred to as “Jacks or Better”. In this case, the winner would be the person with a hand that is either Jack or higher. If no one holds the Jacks then the winner would need to hold a hand of Queens, Kings or Ace’s in order to win.
Once you begin to become comfortable in the game you might want to advance to a variant called “Aces and Eights” with similarities to the other version this one will allow its players three more plays. The payout you will receive at the end of the game will depend on the hand you are dealt. In the case of this version, the best hand you could receive would be four of a kind for anything more than the ace, seven or eight cards.
The bonus games are often a favorite of players. The “Double Bonus” offers players extra hands or as the title suggests double bonuses. When playing a version such as this four of a kind cardholders still come out on top.
To further increase the excitement of the double bonus version poker gamblers can also choose to play the “Double Double Bonus” this game is simply an extension of the other. As its title suggests you will be offered the opportunity to play even more hands.
The number two card also known as the deuce plays a big part in the “deuces wild” version of the game. As its name would suggest the player who has the number two card is able to use it freely as its value is wild giving it the ability to turn into any card necessary in order to win the game.
There are many more versions of the game available to fans. A great place to begin learning is to check out the Internet which offers numerous different fan favorite sites. Often, folks can find sites that offer them the opportunity to learn free of charge while they are acquiring their new skill.
There is a great deal of terminology and rankings to learn. Understanding the Royal Flush, Straight Flush, Full House, Four of a Kind and Pairs among the others are very important starting points. All seasoned players will tell you that understanding the different hands is probably the most crucial part of poker regardless of which version you are playing. By recognizing what cards you hold you will increase your chances of winning.