What is Pai Gow Poker?

Pai Gow Poker is an interesting change from the regular poker games we play. Literally translating to 'to make nine', Pai Gow Poker originates from the land of China. It gives a different twist to the game itself and is a fine addition to the many different variants of poker. It has made its way out of obscurity and can now be played in online and traditional brick and mortar casinos as well.

The original Pai Gow game is still played by oriental peoples. The original game of Pai Gow has a bit of military savor to it. Tile pieces are used in Pai Gow in lieu of cards. These tile pieces represented military and civilian units. The original game itself reflects the culture where the game was brought into being.

Of course, when the game finally touched down on US soil, the tiles were replaced by cards. This was an innovative step in the overall progress of Pai Gow Poker as a card game. Part of the innovation is the mix of fundamental poker hands and adding a Joker card into the deck. The style of play in Pai Gow Poker is a bit similar to blackjack where you play against the dealer and not against the other players.

From the seven cards dealt to them, all the players on a Pai Gow Poker table would make two of hands, one with five cards and the other with two cards. The notion of splitting your cards into two hands further adds to the twist in the game. One hand is called the high hand, the one that has five cards, and the other is called the low hand, the one that has only two cards.

With all players playing two hands each, you might wonder how you determine if you win. Obviously, your dealer will also have two hands to play. If both your high hand and low hand beats the dealer's respective hands then you win. You lose in Pai Gow Poker if both your hands lose to the dealer's hand. If only one hand beats the dealer's hands, then it will be declared a tie.

These Pai Gow Poker innovations are credited to Sam Torosian and Fred Wolf, the latter was an inventor of games. He was also the manager of Commerce Casino in the 1980's. Pai Gow Poker was one of the more successful games they introduced.

Pai Gow Poker catches crowds in today's casinos. Those interested in learning the game will find the game innovations easy to put into practice. If you're a bit hesitant, you may try the game online for free. This is one poker variant that no one should pass up the opportunity to play.