Background: Traditionally in the East, Pai Gow is played with Chinese dominoes. In the Western version, Pai Gow Poker (also known as Double-Hand Poker) is played with a standard 52-card deck, with basic Poker hand values. A Joker card is thrown in for an added element of surprise—the Joker can be used as an Ace or to complete a straight, flush or straight flush hand. Pai Gow Poker is played with six players plus the dealer. The goal is to ultimately defeat the “banker,” who is the dealer or one of the other players at the table, with two Poker hands that beat their two Poker hands.
Conditions: Each player is dealt seven cards by the dealer and must create two Poker hands: a five-card and a two-card hand. According to Pai Gow rules, the five-card hand must exceed the value of the two-card hand, which is why the latter is often called the hand “in front” or “on top.” The five-card hand is “behind” and “bottom” to its smaller counterpart, which is also how the cards are placed on the table when they are set.
Hands: The only two-card hands are One Pair or High Cards. The five-card hands follow traditional Poker hands rankings and categories—from a Royal Flush all the way down to a High Card. Pai Gow Poker’s added bug, the Joker card, can complete a Straight or Flush, or act as an Ace, in five-card hands. In the two-card hand, it always plays as an Ace.
Play: At Spirit Mountain Casino, our Pai Gow tables use a Shuffle Master machine to shuffle and select a number at random to indicate the dealer position at the table to receive the first hand. The recipient of the first hand becomes the Banker and moves counter-clockwise around the table when dealing. The Dealer waits until all players have set their hands before revealing his/her cards. The Banker’s hand is compared to the House Dealer’s hand first, with the house betting against the Banker equal to the amount wagered against the house when the Dealer was the bank.
In addition to Pai Gow Poker, Spirit Mountain offers casino games for every type of player! We have Poker, Roulette, Blackjack, Craps, Bonus Let it Ride and more. We also have Keno, Bingo and more than 2,000 slot machines to keep you busy. Here’s to Lady Luck being on your side!