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A Beginner’s Guide To Playing Pai Gow Poker In Online Casino Singapore 2022

Pai Gow Poker is known to be a very entertaining game and if played well, it can be very rewarding for players. 

While this game may look difficult, this guide will make playing quite easy. Learn everything you need to know and more to win below.

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What is Pai Gow Poker?

Pai Gow poker originated in China and was played using dominoes instead of playing cards. 

The direct translation of Pai Gow means to “make nine”. Modern Pai Gow Poker is a westernized version of the original.

In most poker games, players are directly competing against one another for the highest points. 

Pai Gow Poker however is special because players do not need to directly compete. This poker game is a great game for groups of friends playing poker together.

This poker variant is especially fun to play online. Both Pai Gow Poker online and Pai Gow Poker free versions are widely available around the world and are widely played in southeast Asia especially Singapore.

Pai Gow Poker is also famous for its fair gameplay. This poker game has nearly a 50 / 50 chance between the dealer and the player and this guide is all you will need to beat the odds and play the game like a pro.

How to Play Pai Gow Poker?

Regardless of whether you are playing at a standard casino or at an online casino, there are some important game rules that all players need to know before playing this game. 

This is because, if you don't know them, it can mean losing winnings. Also, often there are specific rules for each casino, so it should be checked beforehand.

In most cases, if house or general Pai Gow Poker rules are broken, players will receive a foul hand and if a player has a foul hand, they will automatically lose.

It is for this reason that you should make sure to pay special attention to the rules listed below.

The Rules For Pai Gow Poker

Step 1: During each round, once a player places their two sets, they cannot be touched.

The two-card set must be weaker than the five-card set. Player card must be able to be seen by the dealer at all times.

Step 2: Before the cards are dealt, players need to bet on their cards.

This is always difficult as no player yet knows the strength of their cards. It is normally considered best to bet amounts that would not be harmful to lose.

Step 3: After the bets have been placed, each player is dealt 7 cards.

To play the game, these cards must be broken into two sets. A strong set and a weak set. The strong set has 5 cards and the weak set has only 2.

The game is special as it requires the dealer to also have a set of cards. Pai Gow Poker uses a 53 card deck. This includes a single Joker card. The Pai Gow Poker joker rules are that jokers can be used in straights, flushes, and straight flushes.

For bets to be won, both sets must beat the dealer`s sets. If only one set is higher than the dealer's, there will be a draw. If the value of the sets ties with the dealer, then the dealer will win.

Below is a list of possible combinations in a set (strongest to weakest)

  1. Five Aces – five aces including the joker
  2. Royal Flush — five cards of the same suit, ranked ace through ten
  3. Straight Flush — five cards of the same suit and ranked in order
  4. Four of a Kind — four cards of the same rank
  5. Full House — three cards of the same rank and two more cards of the same rank
  6. Flush — any five cards of the same suit
  7. Straight — any five cards ranked in order
  8. Three of a Kind — three cards of the same rank
  9. Two Pair — two cards of the same rank and two more cards of the same rank
  10. One Pair — two cards of the same rank
  11. High Card — unmatched cards with a strong card (the strongest)

Since the low hand is of only two cards, it may only have 9, 10, or 11 of the possible combinations. Pai Gow poker is a very chance-heavy poker game. 

But, you can greatly increase your chances of winning by following the guidelines listed in this article.

The Pai Gow Poker Payouts and House Edge

The Pai Gow poker payouts are double or whatever that’s best. However, players can make a bonus bet, where they can have a higher payout if they receive excellent hands. The bonus bet for this is 5 USD or about SGD5.

If an envy bonus bet is made, the dealer will place an envy button next to it. If any player`s hand qualifies for the payouts below, the dealer will give them their bonus payout to all players with the bonus bet.

The dealer will give out these bonuses at the end of each round. This is because that’s when all the cards will be shown. 

Listed below is the typical payout for bonus bets. These may differ depending on the casino, so be sure to check.

  • 7 Card Straight Flush (no Joker): $3000
  • Royal Flush: $750
  • 7 Card Straight Flush: $500
  • 5 Aces: $250
  • Royal Flush: $50
  • Straight Flush: $20
  • Four of a Kind 25 to 1: $5

The player with these hands does not receive the bonus, it is the other players. That is why it is called an “Envy Bonus”, meaning that you get bonuses from others. If multiple players receive these, the payouts will be given multiple times.

The Pai Gow Poker house edge value shows the winning chances between the dealer and the player are nearly equal. 

In Pai Gow Poker, the house edge is 2.84%. This means that the dealer has 2.84% higher average winnings than players.

It is important to keep this house edge in your mind as it helps decide how fair your odds are. 

The unbalanced Pai Gow Poker odds come from two different rules that are found in certain variants. The first is that there is a standard fee on winnings. The second is due to the tie rule.

The tie rule refers to when a player sets a tie with that of the dealer. This is not likely but it still gives the dealer leverage in the game. All poker games have a house edge as this is how the casino makes a profit.

Sometimes, when a Pai Gow Poker game is played, it is not at a casino. It can be with friends. 

In this case, when given the option, it is always best to play as the dealer. This is because you have the house edge of winning hands.

How to Bet in Pai Gow Poker?

Step 1: Using the bet tokens, place the bet amount on the table between you and the dealer. This must be done before the cards are given out by the dealer.

Step 2: Consider the results of the round. Remember, you only win the round if both sets are stronger than the dealer`s.

Step 3: If the round is won, collect the winning amount. If the round is lost the dealer will collect your bet.

A normal bet in Pai Gow poker must be a minimum of 5 USD or about SGD5. This is the same amount as needed for the bonus bet. 

Some casinos will give envy bonuses to any bets higher than 5 USD / SGD5.

Recently the minimum bet amount has begun to increase. Specifically in Las Vegas. This is because of rising inflation from stimulus checks. 

It is for this reason that the normal bet amount may be different depending on the casino or online casino.

The maximum bet amount also differs at the casino, however, it is usually 100 USD / SGD150. Some highly premium resorts and online casinos in Singapore may offer much higher potential maximums.

Pai Gow Poker Hand Strategy

In Pai Gow poker, the only odds that are controlled by the player are the cards played. Some ordering of hands will give players a higher advantage. 

Here is an important strategy that can be used to make the best possible decisions when choosing hands.

When there is a pair, make the following decisions based on the guide below for the correct Pai Gow poker strategy. This is basically a how to play Pai Gow poker and win:

  • When the total of the pair is more than or equal to 17, split the pair between the two sets.
  • When the total of the pair is 12 to 16, you must have an ace in the two-card set to keep the pair together. 
  • When the total of the pair is 8 to 11, you must have a king in the two-card set to keep the pair together.
  • When the total of the pair is 8 to 11, you must have a queen in the two-card set to keep the pair together.
  • If the total of the pair is 4, always keep the pair together.

These actions will maximize your chance of having higher scoring decks than both of the dealers. 

Make sure to memorize the strategy techniques and the strength of sets, these will be very useful during games.

Final Thoughts

We hope the guide above will help you through your first Pai Gow poker game and help you win all the games you play in future. Good Luck!

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