Tricky Pai Gow Poker Example Hands Explained
Pai Gow Poker is a game that has a reputation for being really easy to play, but the reality of the situation is that a lot of scenarios can be a bit tricky and anti-intuitive. We want to walk you through how to play all of the common hands while pointing out the tricky scenarios that can come up so that you aren’t stuck making mistakes over and over again. The goal here is to give you a solid foundation to start with so that you can build on it to form a good overall Pai Gow Poker game.
Let’s start with the two basic types of hands. With no pairs only high-card hands, arrange your cards in order of rank and put the second- and third-highest cards in the low. If you have a single pair with no other made hand, arrange the non-paired cards in order of rank, and place the highest two in the low. This much is simple. With three of a kind, you’ll do the same sort of thing. Put all four of the non-trips cards in order, and place the highest two in the low.
However, there is an exception to how you play three of a kind that comes up sometimes. If you have three of a kind in aces, you should put a pair of aces in the high with one of the aces in the low. Then put your highest remaining card in the low with an ace to give yourself a strong ace-high hand. This is a bit anti-intuitive, but the idea is that the low gains a lot more value than the high loses when you arrange your hand in this way, so it helps your payout rate overall.
With two pair, there are so many ways things can go wrong that we’ll suggest a strategy for you to remember. Add the value of your paired cards, so if you had 7788xxx, the value would be 7 + 8 for a total of 15. If your total value is 17 or higher, always split your pairs by putting the lower pair in the low. If you have between 12 and 16 points, only split if you can’t put ace-high in the low. When your total is 7 to 11, split if you can’t make at least king-high, and with totals of 6 or lower, split them if you can’t make at least queen-high for the low hand.
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