One of the most popular casino games both online and in live casinos is Pai Gow Poker. Also known as Doubled-handed Poker, this game gives the player a rare opportunity to act as the bank, increasing their odds of winning. In this game the bank holds a 1.3% edge over the player during a hand, so acting as the bank is something that you want to do as much as the game you’re playing will permit.
Another small edge that will increase your chances to win at Pai Gow is to use a simple two-pair splitting strategy that most casinos do not suggest. By remembering two simple splitting rules you can lower the house edge by 0.04%. First, two pair should always be split unless the total sum of the pair (4+4 for example) is 9 or less and you have a single ace or king. Second, two pair should always be split unless the total sum of the pair is 15 or less and you have a single ace card.
Pai Gow Bet Sizes
There are a few betting strategies for Pai Gow that will increase your odds of winning. The biggest way to impact your odds will be the difference in the size of the bets you make when you’re acting as the bank compared to the bet sizes you make when you’re acting as the player. The bigger your bet sizes when acting as the bank the better your odds will be to win at Pai Gow.
How much to bet when you’re the bank is up to you when playing pai gow. Betting the table maximum when acting as the bank, and the table minimum when you’re in a player position, would be the best mathematical way to maximize your odds. It’s not very practical to have that much disparity in your bets, so you don’t have to bet the table maximum, any amount that you’re comfortable with will be fine.
The idea is to increase the action when your chances of winning are higher. Increasing your bet in these two situations will give you a chance to get ahead of the game if the action goes your way. Any other player positions will give the 1.3% edge to the house and are best played with smaller bet amounts.
The only exception would be when you’re in a player position just before you get your chance to bank. Betting a bigger amount in this position will force the dealer to put up a bigger bet in the next hand when you bank (the dealer must match your bet from the previous hand every time you bank).
Bonus Bet in Pai Gow
Pai Gow isn’t a game that you can sit down and kill for a fast profit. With all the ties that occur the action is pushed a lot, so a good profit usually takes a while to accumulate. One way to speed up the profits in Pai Gow is the bonus bet. This option offers bigger odds on high-ranked hands, straights or higher. Depending on the hand you have different odds are paid out. A seven-card straight flush can make it a big day at the Pai Gow table at any stakes, and can pay as high as 8000/1.
Playing the bonus bet will give the house a bigger edge over you, but you can’t hit a big odds payout if you don’t play it. Playing the bet all the time will be a losing proposition over the long term, but if you can reduce the number of times you play it, and you manage to get lucky, it can be the difference between a mediocre or big day at the tables.
Some players try to keep track of hands that would have paid out bonus odds and then opt for the bonus bet after a string of hands that would not have paid. The probability of one hand having a bonus hand in it over any other is the same, but this method at least limits the amount of times you make the wager while still giving you a periodic chance to hit a bonus.