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Pai Gow Poker - An Alternative Poker Variation

Published November 25, 2008 - RSS/XML Feed RSS

Pai Gow Basics

Pai Gow is a variation of poker although it’s closer to a casino table game like blackjack than Texas Holdem, Omaha or Stud.

In the game you get seven cards, which you’re supposed to arrange into one two-card hand and one five-card hand. The five-card hand must always be stronger than your two-card hand to be legitimate. Up to here, Pai Gow is like poker and the hand ranking is just as in any other poker variation.

After this, however, Pai Gow turns into a casino game. Instead of comparing your hand against other players’, everybody at the table is up against the dealer. If both your hands are better than the dealer’s, you win; if both hands are inferior, you lose; and if you win one of them, it’s a push.

Is Online Pai Gow Poker Worth Playing?

Should you play online Pai Gow poker? It depends. There are a lot of variants of poker in an online casino and people play online casino games for different reasons. You need to know what your reasons are before you know what games you should play. Once you’ve determined your motivations for playing online casino games, it will be easier to know if online Pai Gow poker should be part of your game assortment. Before you start playing online an important decision is to choose the right poker room for you. 

Playing Online Pai Gow Poker for Entertainment Value

If your only interest in online casino games is to enjoy yourself for a few hours, great. That’s what most people should be using online games for, since the online casino always has an edge. But on the other hand, then you might as well play poker for free without any stakes. If you enjoy poker-based table games, you’ll like online Pai Gow poker, which requires that you create poker hands to beat the dealer’s hand. If you prefer dice or reel-based games like craps or slots, Pai Gow poker might not be ideal.

Playing Online Pai Gow Poker to Win

Since all the online casino games are designed with a house edge,  playing any online casino game (besides online poker) to win is not a recommended proposition. However, as games with a low house edge go, Pai Gow poker is a good one, as long as you have the option to act as banker in a multi-player online Pai Gow poker game and you take advantage of that option.

Playing Online Pai Gow Poker to Clear a Bonus

Online Pai Gow poker is the perfect game to clear a bonus as you can wager a lot of money in a short time without exposing yourself to too much risk, since many hands end in a tie. Sadly, it is for this reason that many online casinos do not credit Pai Gow poker play towards bonus clearing.

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