How To Learn New Casino Table Games – Let’s Try Pai Gow Poker

Pai Gow Poker sounds like a difficult game to play. And, as any new table game at the casino, playing it for the first time can be intimidating. Having to know how to play your cards, knowing rules of the table, and the emotional feeling of being embarrassed in front of other players is enough to turn you around to go play the nearest slot in despair, disappointment and failure.

Ok, so much for the melodrama, but there is a certain intimidation factor in playing a new table game.

First of all, thanks to Craig Stone, half of the “Due For a Win” podcast team. Before I forget, a shout out to their podcast about Atlantic City. Craig and Kyle do a great job of providing insight into Atlantic City property news, the financial rise and fall of AC casinos, and full of knowledgeable opinions on what to include and what not to include in your next visit. Subscribe to their podcast through iTunes and receive it every week.

Craig made a New Years Resolution on one of their episodes that I thought was great to follow – expand play to learn new table games. So, I have started to follow that. My three new games would be PaiGow Poker, Mississippi Stud, and Texas Hold’em Table game.

Last weekend, I started my quest. It was time to play Pai Gow Poker. Here are my personal suggestions to dig into that resolution and DO it!

For a beginner’s look at Pai Gow Poker, go to our posts 7 Beginner’s Tips for Pai Gow Poker 

and Resources for Gambling Part 3 – Pai Gow Poker

1) Prepare before playing at the casino.

Practice, using an app for your smart phone and (I can’t say this enough) visit the Wizard of Odds website. Once there, you can learn the basics of the game, and learn strategy with the training game, all for free.

2) Play in the early morning

While at Borgata, I got up early and made my way to the Gai Pow tables. This is an opportune time to ease into play.  I was very lucky to find an empty table just waiting for me, a dealer who was very helpful, and even a pit boss who stuck around to get me started.  It was as if I had my own personal table, complete with professional tutors.

3) Important Points you only learn at the table.

  • There are just some things you can’t learn on an app, like:
  • With the use of a shuffle master, you have to wait for the green button to go off before picking up your cards.  You have to wait to be sure the deal is good.
  • The commission was explained, as well as the bonus bet.
  • The house has certain rules to set both hands, and the player can always ask to have the hands done by house rules as well.
  • The numbers on the table refer to th3 random number chosen to start dealing the hands.  The number “4” is omitted due to its unluckiness in Asian culture much like no  “13th floor” in American hotels.

4)  Final considerations

  • Over 60% of the hands played will end in a push
  • The Strategy is not hard to learn
  • Pai Gow has a very low house edge, which makes it a good game to play to lengthen your session.
  • because of the low house edge, comps are harder to come by because rewards points are often slower to accrue.

While I didn’t last that long (being the only player at the table will do that) morning, it was a great experience.  Now it’s time to play with friends, or at least a full table.  Thanks Craig… it’s onto Mississippi Stud!