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Pai Gow Poker  
The Basics of Pia Gow Poker for Beginning Players

Pia Gow Poker is the American version of the popular Asian tile game, Pia Gow. This gamed is played on the casino floor with a 52-card deck and a single joker. The joker can only be used as an ace or to complete a straight, flush or straight flush.

The Table:
The Pia Gow table allows for 6 players and the dealer. On the table, there is a single circle where a player makes his bet. There are also two boxed areas labeled "high" and "2nd highest" or a variation of this.

Two Betting Options:
A player may either choose to play against the bank or as the bank. When the player decides to play as the bank, this player is acting as the house and all other players at the table are playing against this player. In order for a player to act as the bank, the house (casino) must have been the bank for the prior hand and the player must have enough money to pay all the other bettors.

Playing Against the Bank:
Once all the bets are placed, the dealer will deal each player 7 cards. From these cards the player must make the best 5-card hand and 2nd best 2-card hand that he can. For example, if the player is dealt A, 3, 5, 7, 6, 5, Q, that players best hand would be a pair of 5s (5, 5, 7, 6, 3) and 2nd best hand would be A, Q. At any point if the player is unsure how to bet, he may ask the dealer and the dealer will show you how the casino plays the hand.

In order to win, the player must bet the bank with both of his hands. If one hand wins and the other loses, the hand is considered a push, and the player keeps his bet. If the player loses both hands, the bank wins and player forfeits the bet.

The same rules apply if the player is playing as the bank. This player would win against, tie or lose to all of the other players.

Pia Gow Poker Notes:
The house wins all ties on either the 2-card or 5-card hand. So if the player has a 2 card hand and the casino has the same, the casino wins the 2 card hand the 5 card hand would determine if the player ties or loses.

When the player wins, that player is paid 95% of his original bet. So if he wagered $20, he wins $19.50. Because the player would lose all $20 if he had lost the hand, this $0.50 adds to the casinos edge.

The term "Pia Gow" means that a pair or better cannot be made with a 7-card hand. Players may often say "Pia Gow" when hoping that the dealer has nothing.

Pia Gow has the same hand ranks that are used in poker.

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