The Ultimate Guide to Playing Pai Gow Poker Online
Many bettors use their Joe Fortune login to hit up games that are fast playing and easy winning. What many of them don’t realise is that some games at Joe’s may not win any trophies for speed, but they do offer a fun way to use detailed strategies and take control of your game.
I’m talking about Joe Fortune Pai Gow Poker! Pai Gow Poker is a leisurely-paced, strategy-driven game that offers a great house edge and great returns. Players around here love it because while the rounds aren’t fast, you have a ton of control over the outcome.
With a decent Pai Gow Poker strategy, or even some solid tips, you can hit your stride easily, make the most out of the game and turn a mighty fine profit. Having said that, you don’t even need a Pai Gow Poker strategy if you don’t want to study up. The game automatically sorts your cards into the optimal ranking arrangement, called the “house way”. So really you could just use that hint and hit “Split” to divide the hands in the best way and complete the round if you wanted to – without straining one precious brain cell more than is necessary.
Have I caught your interest yet? ‘Course I have, my curious friend. Let’s look close-up at how Pai Gow Poker works in the first place, then we’ll get into how it’s played and my top strategies.
What is Pai Gow Poker?
Pai Gow Poker is based on an ancient Chinese version of poker, but with a unique western twist.
Sam Torosian was a casino owner in the US back in 1985. Not so long ago, I must add. Gen X had the world in their young hands, myself among them. Molly Ringwald was the loveliest bird we’d ever seen, the ghetto blaster next door would deafen the neighbourhood daily with Acca Dacca, and we’d be lapping it up out in the street, with nothing but time and dinner in front of us.
None of which brings us any closer to your big win, but thanks for listening anyway. You’ve got a good set of ears on that crown.
Now, moving along, at that golden coming-of-age time, casinos and card clubs were catching their groove, and a brand new cardhouse window was freshly cleaned of dust at every turn – which naturally meant more competition for Torosian. In an effort to keep up with the booming industry and draw more players into his own doors, he started poking… ahem… around for some new ideas.
At that time many of Torosian’s clientele were of Asian origins. Through picking their brains and discovering how they enjoyed their social time, he learned of a popular Chinese card game called “Pusoy”. Pronounce that how you see fit, and let me know later.
Pusoy is a game in which multiple players have to rearrange 13 cards into three separate poker hands. If it sounds like a lofty task, that’s because it is, and word is that most players agreed! When Torosian tried to use the game in his casino, it was a disaster. Avid betting folks didn’t like the time and energy it took to rearrange the cards, and his western clientele in particular wanted something a bit more accessible.
After tinkering with the game, plus drawing inspiration from another two-sided domino-like Chinese game called Pai Gow, Torosian struck gold. He invented Pai Gow Poker: the perfect marriage of Chinese tradition and Western flair.
Hats off to Torosian – but now let’s take a look at how you can play Joe Fortune Pai Gow Poker, as well as some Pai Gow Poker strategies to help you make the most of it.
How to Play Pai Gow Poker & Rules
Pai Gow Poker is played as you against the dealer.
After you’ve placed your bet, both you and the dealer each get 7 cards face up. Your first task is to arrange the best possible 5-card hand. This will be considered your “high” hand, and it has to outrank the dealer’s 5-card hand. With the remaining two cards, you split them off into a “low” 2-card hand which also has to outrank the dealer’s 2-card hand. There’s one small catch, though. Your 5-card hand must also outrank your own 2-card hand. Phew!
So in order to win the round, it has to go like this:
- Your 5-card hand outranks your own 2-card hand
- Your 5-card hand outranks the dealer’s 5-card hand
- Your 2-card hand outranks the dealer’s 2-card hand
If all 3 of these are the case, then you get paid 1:1 minus a 5% commission. If only one or two of these is the case, the entire round is a push. If it’s the dealer who beat you on all accounts, then you lose your bet.
As you could imagine given the specificity of conditions, pushing is a rather common occurrence in Pai Gow Poker. This could be a huge benefit for you because you can play the game for multiple rounds but never lose your money. What other type of poker can say that?!
Pai Gow Poker uses a 53 card deck thanks to the addition of one Joker. The Joker serves as a semi-wild, which is the perfect description for my first girlfriend… It can only be used to complete a flush or a straight. If neither of those are possible, then the Joker is automatically an Ace.
Aside from that, the hand rankings are the same as in regular poker, except that an Ace-2-3-4-5 straight is the second highest straight.
Pai Gow Poker Tips & Strategy
Pai Gow Poker at Joe Fortune offers more options than a trendy burger joint menu. It can be overwhelming, even to me, so for now I’m keeping it simple. Simplish. But delicious.
Now. With each given hand, you have the option to arrange it in multiple ways which either strengthen or weaken that hand. A good rule of thumb is that you want to have two fairly decent hands rather than one amazing hand and one that’s useless. Hand, thumbs, oh I’m entertaining… myself.
Let’s look at a common scenario. Let’s say in your 7 hands you’ve got an Ace and a two pair. Remember that a pair in your low hand would beat an Ace, and in Pai Gow your high hand has to beat your low hand. That means that you should play your two pair in the high hand. That pointer changes, however, if you have a six-card straight that contains an Ace. In that case, you would put the Ace in your low hand and form the lower value straight in your high hand.
All in all, remember that Pai Gow Poker offers a prime house edge percentage at a piddly 1.46%. That’s right around the sweet spot for most popular table games. Even if you don’t want to wrack your brain with card puzzles, the computer software rearranges the cards for you in an optimal form in the first place! You only need to rearrange them again if you see a killer move to try. This ain’t 1985 anymore.
Why Play Pai Gow Poker Online?
I think I’ve painted a pretty clear picture to show that playing Pai Gow Poker is time consuming, what with all the card sorting and such, which is particularly true when playing in a land casino. When you play Pai Gow online, especially with the “house way” hand (you’re welcome), you can control the pace and get through rounds much quicker. As with all my games using your Joe Fortune login, the more rounds you play the more opportunities you have to win.
Head over to the “Table Games” section once you’re all logged in to your account, and first try out Practice Mode with the white button. Give it a shot for a few rounds and see how you feel. Then switch on over to Real Play, with real money, and roll with the punches until you get yourself a first-ever Pai Gow win.