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A different kind of Poker - Pai Gow

Pai Gow was originally a Chinese domino game that was Americanised to become Pai Gow Poker, and now it is played anywhere from Australia to Aruba. It is played with a standard 52 card deck, a single joker and is played by six people, as well as the dealer. Sam Torosian and Fred Wolf are credited with the invention of Pai Gow Poker and Super-Pan 9. The aim of the game is for players to defeat the bank; this may be the dealer or any of the other people playing.

The cards are shuffled and then dealt into seven face down piles regardless of the player amount; 4 cards will always remain unused. Each player is then designated a betting number, from 1 “ 7, this will always start with the person who is acting banker for the round, and will go around counter clockwise. Numbers are assigned using a dice or electronic number generator. Whichever number you receive, you will then play with the corresponding pile of cards.

With the cards dealt, each person must now try to make two poker hands out of the seven cards they hold. This must consist of one five card hand, and one two card hand. The five hand card must always exceed the value of the two hand card; the only two card hand you can achieve however is a pair and high card. The lone joker if held can be used to complete a straight or a flush, if that is not possible then it simply represents an ace.

To win both of your hands must beat the banker's counterpart. If only one beats then the banker will push, and if neither hand beats the banker then you lose. There are many online sites where you can play Pai Gow, such as the Lucky Nugget gaming site, if you can’t find enough of your mates to play with. It can be interesting to try different versions of the same basic game, but try not to get confused – you should make sure you know the rules of the table before you sit down to play.

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