Pai Gow poker has a reputation for being the poorer sibling of casino card games like Texas Hold’em, Caribbean Stud and Tri Card Poker.
Whether you get your kicks at an online casino or in the hallowed gambling halls of Sun City or Las Vegas, the poker that sounds more Chinese than Wild Wild West probably isn’t even part of your gaming lexicon.
Not One but Two Winning Poker Hands
It is a shame that a lot of players give Pai Gow a miss, as this poker variant offers a more complex and challenging gambling experience all round. When we say complex, we mean that it requires the use of optimal skills – and for that you need to be right on top of your game. So, it is the perfect game for those wanting to test and flaunt their expertise!
When it comes to beating the dealer in Pai Gow poker, you require not one winning poker hand… but two! Yup, your task each round is to create two poker hands from seven cards – a five-card hand and a two-card hand.
Here’s the kicker; the five-card hand has to be higher than the two-card hand and - wait for it - you can only bank even money when both your hands are better than that of the dealer’s!
Limited Role for the Joker in Pai Gow
Now that you’ve got the basics of how to play Pai Gow poker at the online casino, there is one more element to take into consideration… and that is the role of the joker.
Unlike the vast majority of online casino games where the joker substitutes any card to complete a paying combination, in Pai Gow poker the joker can only be used to create a five-card flush, straight or straight flush. In all other instances the joker counts as an ace. It might take a minute or two to get used to…
Benefits of Playing Pai Gow at Springbok Online Casino
One advantage of playing Pai Gow poker at an online casino is the software actually ranks your cards immediately after the deal. That saves you from mentally arranging the cards before splitting them into the two separate hands.
Once you have decided on the composition of your hands, you can click the cards you want for the two-card hand and hit the split button. If you fluff it by creating a stronger two-card hand, the software alerts you to the fact and you are given a second opportunity to calibrate the cards.
At the online casino the hands are auto-compared and you get paid even money when both hands win. When you win one hand and lose the other, the round is a push – and when the dealer’s hands are both better than yours, you lose your bet.
How the House Plays - The Perfect Pai Gow Poker Strategy
Besides the automation of some of the more important actions at the table, there’s a key advantage of playing Pai Gow poker at Springbok Online Casino. In this card game you can refer to the optimal strategy by clicking on the ‘Help’ tab on the gaming interface.
Once you have opened the document in your browser, look out for the section entitled The House Way. You’ll find it directly underneath the game information pertaining to the rules, hand ranks and payouts of Pai Gow poker.
The House Way is a user-friendly representation outlining the ideal playing technique. It’s a detailed account of exactly how to split various hand combinations in order to get the optimal real money results!
When you play Pai Gow poker the house way, there’s a good chance you’ll beat the dealer more often than not. Having said that, it’s the cards and only the cards that have the ultimate say in whether you win or lose - and at an online casino there is no conceivable way of influencing the deal of the cards!
Those are a few of the pros of playing Pai Gow poker at Springbok Casino. Now how about the cons?
The Sting in the Tail
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the game, Pai Gow poker has a sting in the tail in the form of 5% commission. This comm is automatically deducted from all the winnings – winnings that are meagre at best. That’s obviously a downside of the game… but a legal one nonetheless!
The question is why is Pai Gow poker the forgotten online casino game? Is it because it’s named after the Chinese tile game? Or is it because the online casino takes a cut of every win? Maybe it’s simply because all the other poker variants at Springbok Online Casino are so popular and well-known.
A Reasonably Low House Edge
What is puzzling is the fact that Pai Gow has a comparatively low house edge. At 2.86% it may be a tad higher than that of Tri Card poker at 2.32% and Caribbean Hold’em Poker at 2.16%.
The advantage to the house when you play Pai Gow poker at Springbok Online Casino, however, is decidedly paltry when compared to the 5,21% edge ascribed to Caribbean Stud!
That indicates the house edge and corresponding average return to player of 97.14% cannot be the reason why Pai Gow poker is generally overlooked as a gambling proposition.
Even Money Odds
Perhaps the 1:1 odds don’t cut it, as similar poker games like Tri Card poker offer 3:1 odds on an ante bet and up to 35:1 on an optional Pair Plus bet – and that’s a lot more juice to keep the gambling engine purring along!
In Tri Card poker, which happens to be a really popular form of poker, there is no mandatory commission deducted from the payouts either.
That, together with the jaw-dropping odds, means there’s potentially a lot more cash in your online casino account when the poker session comes to an end! Either way, give Pai Gowa shot at Springbok Online Casino and enjoy poker with a few twists and an accompanying challenge!