Pai Gow Poker

Background for Game of Pai Gow Poker

Pai gow poker is said to have arrived in Nevada sometime during the 1980s, after having gained a following in California, where it is still known as either Asian or double hand poker. The game as players now know it made its debut at the Desert Inn Hotel and Casino as a bank game in 1987, and the manager for this establishment, one Bill Walsh, is credited for much of the game’s development. Mr Walsh went on to author a first-rate book about the game, Billy Woo’s Pai Gow Poker II Revised, and claims in this publication that the game was created in the Philippines, and goes on to explain that it is a combination of two games, that of poker from the USA, and dominoes from China, also known as Pai Gow.

Structure for Pai Gow Poker

Similarly to a number of more recently developed table games, pai gow poker makes use of poker hands for its main structure, and it is important that a player considering playing this game have a basic knowledge of the rankings beforehand. The one major exception, however, is the use of the joker, as it can be substituted as an ace in order to form a straight; flush; or straight flush in pai gow poker.

Poker Hand Ranking for Pai Gow Poker

The order of hands for the game of pai gow poker is listed from best to worst:

  1. Five aces

Possible thanks to the fact that the joker is able to be substituted for an ace card.

  1. Royal flush

This is a straight flush, and is made up of an ace; king; queen; jack and ten of the same suit.

  1. Straight flush

This hand contains five cards of sequential rank, all belonging to the same suit; an example would be the queen; jack; ten; nine and eight of hearts.

  1. Four of a kind

Four of a kind, sometimes known as quads in poker games, is a hand which contains four cards of equal rank. An example of this hand would be the nine of hearts; the nine of spades; the nine of diamonds and the nine of clubs.

  1. Full house

The full house contains three cards of equivalent rank alongside two cards of another rank. The threes of clubs; spades and diamonds alongside the six of clubs and the six of hearts is an example of this hand.

  1. Flush

A flush is five cards of the same suit, though not necessarily of sequential rank. An example of this hand would be the two; six; nine; ten; and jack of clubs.

  1. Straight

A straight is a poker hand of sequentially ranked cards not of the same suit. The ace of hearts; two of clubs; three of spades; four of diamonds and five of hearts is an example of the straight.

  1. Triplets/Three of a kind

Three cards of same rank: fours in diamonds; spades and clubs, for example

  1. Two pair

Two sets of cards of equal rank: nines in diamonds and spades, for example, alongside fours in spades and clubs.

  1. One pair

Two cards of equal rank: two sevens, one diamonds, one spades.

  1. High card

An example of this would be a card higher in rank than any other, like the ace of spades.