When you think of poker, you usually think of the Texas Hold’Em iteration. This is because most tournaments feature this version of the game. However, poker has many versions, and usually Texas Hold’em champs are all good at these. One particular variation the world needs to know more about is Pai Gow Poker Singapore.

What is Pai Gow Poker Singapore?

Pai Gow Poker Malaysia had its roots from China. It actually evolved from dominoes, wherein the original pai gow was its ancestor. The name literally means “make nine”, because of the normal maximum hand.

In the 1980s, the pai gow type of poker was created to get more Asian players to play in US casinos. Asian Americans were thrilled by the combination of Eastern and Western elements. The game then spread from California to the Las Vegas casinos, and became known abroad after that

Here are key differences between the original pai gow and pai gow poker: 

Pai Gow

Pai Gow Poker

Played in Asian casinos

Played in American Casinos

32 Chinese dominoes/Pai gow tiles are used

A deck of playing cards (with one joker) is used

Players get four tiles

Players get 7 cards

The winner has the best combination of tiles

The winner has the best combination of poker hands using standard poker rank

Complicated and hard to learn

Easy to learn, if you know poked hand ranks

Players use superstition for the tile setup

Players make use of mathematical strategies for poker hands.

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Mechanics of the Game:

In Pai Gow Poker casino, the objective is to beat the banker. The banker here is the dealer, another table player, or a team of a player-dealer.

  • The Hands

You create two poker hands with the dealt seven cards:

  1. Five-card high hand (back/big hand)
  2. Two-card low hand (front/small hand)

Now here’s where it gets complicated: in this game, your high hand must be higher than the lower hand. If you have a low hand of a pair of 9s, your five hand has to have a higher ranked hand than that.

  • Game Outcomes

Once you place your hands, the dealer will show them together with the banker’s hands. Either of the following then happens:

  • Player wins both hands, victorious in their bet (Casinos usually charge a 5% commission on all winning bets)
  • Dealer wins both hands, player loses bet
  • Player wins one hand, and the dealer is victorious in another (this hand is called a push and no money is swapped in the hands, except the commission).

In Pai Gow Poker online, the tie goes to the dealer. So if both you and the dealer have a low hand of A-K, the dealer will win the hand.

  • Dealing

After shuffling the cards, the dealer will put them into seven face-down piles made up of 7 cards–one for each of the players and the dealer. There are 4 unused extra cards that are put in the “muck”.

Every seat is numbered from 1-7, beginning from the assigned banker. A number is selected at random to choose who gets the cards initially. The dealer will then deal the cards counter-clockwise.

  • Setting the Pai Gow hand

For the 5-card hand, the poker hand rankings come into effect. They are the following (from highest to lowest):

  • Royal Flush – A, K, Q, J and 10
  • Straight Flush – 5 consecutive numbers that is the same suit
  • Four of a Kind – made up of four cards of equal value, together with another card known as a side card.
  • Full House – made up of three cards of one value plus two cards of another kind
  • Flush – a hand made of cards with the same suit
  • Straight – has 5 cards that have consecutive value that aren’t the same suit
  • Three of a Kind – The three of a kind is made up of 3 cards of the same value, plus 2 side cards of various values.
  • Two-Pair – It is made up of 2 cards of equal value, plus one extra card.
  • One-Pair – This hand is made up of two cards of the same value, one more of two cards of equal value and an extra card.
  • High Card – is if you have five cards which do not interact with one another for their hands.

Comparing Hands

Once the players put down their hands, they place the two-card hand up-front and the five -card hand at the back.

If a hand is set improperly (the two hand hand doing better than the five card hand), the pai gow poker Singapore hand will be fouled and reset.

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Side Bets in Pai Gow Poker?

Why are there side bets in pai gow poker Malaysia? Simple, because casinos know that they can help increase the winnings of a player.

Such side bets don’t add/detract from the bet for the hand. Instead the player bets extra if they get a certain hand. A higher hand results in a higher bonus payout.

Envy Bonuses

There are also Pai Gow poker Malaysia casinos that offer envy bonuses. Player bet an amount that another player will have a premium hand. Below is an example of a table for a Pai Gow poker payout and an envy bonus:

Hand

Payout

Envy Bonus

7 Card Straight Flush

8,000:1

$5,000

Royal Flush and Royal Match

2,000:1

$1,000

7 Card Straight Flush with Joker

1,000:1

$500

5 Aces

400:1

$250

Royal Flush

150:1

$50

Straight Flush

50:1

$20

Four-of-a-Kind

25:1

$5

Full House

5:1

 

Flush

4:1

 

Three-of-a-Kind

3:1

 

Straight

2:1

 

Pai Gow Poker: Another New Game to Try!

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