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Poker Strategy and Smarts

The basics of Pai Gow Poker

Pai Gow Poker is played at a table similar is size to that of a blackjack-table with betting areas for six players. Each betting area consists of a circle to hold the wager, a horizontal rectangle for the player’s two-card hand and a vertical rectangle for the player’s five-card hand. The game is run by one dealer and it uses a standard 52-card deck plus one joker.

An automatic shuffling machine is used most of the time to mix and deal the cards into packets of seven. Two decks of cards alternate between being in play and being shuffled by the machine.

The action during a Pai Gow Poker game:

Before any cards are dealt, players need to make their wagers in the betting circles.

Why is dealing so different?

Dealing is somewhat very important in this game because it aims to satisfy the superstitious players and it also serves to draw in the newcomers. The process of dealing will have no effect on how the game is played. If you’re playing at a “low-tech” table, the dealer would most-likely use dice to determine the order in which hands are dealt. A dice bowl with three dice is shaken and the total determines who receives the first hand of seven cards. It is necessary to know who the banker is so that you can understand how the cards are dealt out.

The banker may even be a player, instead of a dealer. The banker’s position has a value of 1, 8 or 15, depending on the total of the dice. The dealer will then count counterclockwise from the banker’s number until he reaches the total on the dice. The player position is always where the deal will start.

Empty betting positions and the dealer’s spot will be included in the counting. If the dealer is the banker and the dice total is 6, then dealer will count five spots from himself and give the first hand to position 5. In turn, position 4 will get the next hand, 3 the following and so forth.

Some casinos leave out the ritual and replace it with a random number generator which will provide a readout. The readout provides a number from 1 to 7, which in turn will show where the deal will start. The banker is assigned to the number 1 spot while the other’s are placed in the counterclockwise position. On each and every deal, 49 of the 53 cards are dealt out. The remaining will go to the discard rack.

As each player’s hand is dealt, the dealer removes it from the automatic shuffler machine and places it face-down on the correct area. Hands are dealt to all seven betting areas (including the dealer), whether they are in use or not. A small plastic marker, which is called a chung, is placed on top of the banker’s hand to show its status. A player should not touch his or her cards until all the hands have been dealt out. You are allowed to look at your hand when the green light on the automatic shuffling machine goes on. after the hands have been dealt, the dealer will collect the hands dealt to empty betting betting areas and discard them.