A Winner’s Checklist for Playing Pai Gow Poker
When Sam Torosian, owner of the Bell Card Club in California, invented Pai Gow Poker in 1985, he didn’t know the game would explode in popularity – Torosian didn’t patent the game, so he didn’t make a dime and eventually had to close his card room. Here’s another thing Torosian didn’t foresee: advantage play. Between 2007 and 2012, players at a certain casino were able to make big money at Pai Gow Poker by “hole carding” before their secret was discovered and steps were taken.
These type of plays are a lot harder to come by in live casinos these days, and impossible online. But Pai Gow Poker is still an incredibly fun game that doesn’t take a lot of time to master – especially when you play online at Bodog. All you have to do is place your bet, receive seven cards, and divide them into a 5-card hand and a 2-card hand. The Dealer will do the same, then the hands will be compared and the winner determined. If you win both hands, you scoop the pot. If you and the Dealer each win one hand, it’s a push. All hands that tie go to the Dealer. Easy, right?
The “3-S” Checklist
That depends on how advanced a strategy you want to play. Pai Gow Poker is a lot like Video Poker when it comes to optimal strategy; you can memorize and practice a very long list of steps to narrow the house edge to 2.52%, or you can go with a simple strategy that will cut the edge to 2.69%. It all depends on what you want to get out of the game. With that in mind, here’s a simple “3-S” checklist for would-be Pai Gow Poker experts to consult before playing.
Strategies: Make sure you have your preferred strategy available to you while you’re playing. The simpler ones can be followed in real time, while the more advanced ones will require more practice away from the tables.
Schedule: Decide in advance how long you want your session to be. You can do this with a little math once you know how many hands per hour you’re playing and what your RTP (Return To Player) percentage is.
Stakes: Decide in advance how large your bets will be. If you want to meet your schedule targets, you shouldn’t just bet your entire bankroll on one hand of Pai Gow Poker. Instead, divide your roll into however many units you need to ensure you can play enough hands. If you happen to go on a hot streak, or if you get a bad run of hands, don’t change your bet size – stay the course, and you’ll get the most out of your Pai Gow Poker sessions. Best of luck at the tables.