Face Up Pai Gow Poker

During my last visit to Las Vegas, I had my first chances to play Face Up Pai Gow Poker while staying at Red Rock Casino Resort and Treasure Island.  I first heard about it on the best recreational gaming podcast, You Can Bet on That.  If you haven’t heard of Mark & Dr. Mike, you are missing out.  I suggest you binge listen for three days and learn something from these two funny and informative guys.

Dr. Mike & Mark

Dr. Mike & Mark at VIMFP with alive podcast

RELATED POST – You Can Bet on That,   #186: Tipping Other Casino Employees

I have learned to love Pai Gow Poker for many reasons. Low house edge, slow pace, many pushed hands and a chance to relax.  With a high minimum such as $15, $20 or mostly $25, it’s usually found in Asian game areas, or better yet, high limit rooms. Hard Rock Atlantic City has Pai Gow Poker in the nicest  Asian Game area I have played in.

RELATED POST – Pai Gow Poker Tips for Beginners

Face up Pai Gow Poker – Differences from Original Game

My first experience was at Red Rock Casino Resort in Summerlain.  We haven learned to love driving all around Las Vegas and surrounding locals such as Summerlain, Henderson, and North Vegas. Red Rock is always a visit on every visit to Sin City.

Red Rock Resort Casino

Red Rock Resort Casino Hotel, the Gem of Stations Casinos

The wonderful thing about playing at any Pai Gow table is that showing your hand for help is no big deal.  Dealers, pit bosses and players can help divide your hand into high and low hands. This particular time, a friendly gentleman and an outstanding dealer Dave, helped me with strategy differences.

There are four big differences in Face Up Pai Gow Poker according to the Wizard of Odds:

  • Dealer cards dealt face up.
  • No 5% commission.
  • Dealer ace-high pai gow is an automatic push.
  • No player banking

NETG Analysis of face up Pai Gow Poker

I loved it.  First, the lack of commission is a breath of fresh air. Working with those quarters is a pain in the you know what. No player banking doesn’t bother me, since I never sit with a high enough bankroll to bank the hand. Besides, I usually pull my bets back when a player banks – call me a “little-stitious.”

The dealer push on all ace-high pai gow can be annoying, but that’s how they get the house edge- that and the side bet.

The best rule as you can imagine is the dealers card “face-up.”  This will occasionally alter basic strategy to the player’s benefit. Here is a first look video from owners Shuffle Master:

HOW basic strategy can be changed for player’s benefit

The dealer deals cards to players, then takes their dealt hand and immediately shows hand, according to house rules – a set way of making the high and low hands by the casino. Basic strategy can now change due to the house rule setting.  If dealer shows AH, 8S, 8D, 3H, 3C, 8C and 10D.  The house rules dictate for the dealer’s two hands to be HIGH HAND – two pairs, LOW HAND – Ace /10

Now, the player has been dealt two pair also – 5’d and 2’s, with a A/4 for the low hand. Basic strategy would expect the player to keep two pair in HIGH HAND, A/4 in LOW HAND. Basic strategy would cause the player to lose. But, by seeing the dealer’s cards, the strategy is changed to player keeping 5’s in HIGH HAND, 2’s in LOW HAND causing a push instead of a loss.

Pai Gow Poker Table. The key is how you set up your hand.

Conclusion

I’m waiting to see Face Up Pai Gow Poker pop up in New England casinos. as of now, the closest game is in Borgata, AC as of August, 2019.  I liked it.  If you play Pai Gow Poker, try it if you have a chance.

That’s all for now.  Remember, when gambling, “embrace the math, not the myth.”

Binbin

Lock It Promotion at Mohegan Sun – by Special Guest Joe Freda

“War For The Soar”

The “Lock It In” Challenge at Mohegan Sun


Today’s guest post is from NETG gambling friend Joe “Reload” Freda. Joe has supported NETimeGambling from the very beginning. He brings tried and true tips on maintaining a high level of gambling. Joe has been an avid gambling writer for the past two decades, covering casino and sports wagering.  Freda can be reached at joe_freda@yahoo.com or through Twitter (@ReloadSports). 
While this post was released last year, Joe’s approach is sound. The “Lock It In” promotion just ended at Mohegan Sun. After reading this, you might want to approach your next six months differently.

Introduction

After a recent rest from visiting Connecticut’s casinos, I was hit up with a unique “Lock It In” promotion from Mohegan Sun that was worth exploring.  The offer designates a specific four-day period where your current Momentum player status tier can remain achieved without further visits needed.  In my case, it would take earning 500 points through play over the four days to lock in Soar status, which is the highest published level of Mohegan Sun’s five tiers.

Mohegan Sun's Momentum Players Club

Mohegan Sun’s Momentum Players Club

The Soar status normally takes 4000 status points over six months to achieve for the next six months.  Even with scattered double or triple status promotional days, this is still quite an undertaking.  I recall only reaching it once before a few years ago. Since then I have had the second-highest level, Ascend.

The same four-day period also featured several overlapping comps. To further enhance the visit,  Mohegan Sun offered me a $500 free bet, $300 of Players Perks and a coveted Sky Suite to stay in.  While gambling is not on the minds of many as the holiday season approaches, it can be a promising time to strike with casino offers!

The challenge in obtaining 500 points over this span would be a hefty one.  I needed the right planning and bankroll management.  I only had two of the days free, so I faced  some lengthy action without going bust.

Early struggles in my “War For The Soar”

In trying to conserve for a long haul, I opted to start with some commission-free Pai Gow Poker. Commission-free Pai Gow Poker has a low variance.  Pushes happen at over a 40% rate, which make it your best chance for your money to last.  You can also set your hands at times to more conservatively play for a push instead of going for a full win.

My $500 free bet won early and provided some breathing room. But the rest of my first night was a downward spiral of losses every hour.  I even missed out on a Royal Flush progressive payout of $2900 by not ponying up the game’s $5 side bet. While that may sound disappointing, playing an extra $5 a hand through a longer trip like this would have lost back almost all of that.

I ended up lasting until 5am in that session for 188 status points. I was still down 75% of what I came to Uncasville’s mothership with.  It was back to the Sky Suite for some rest, room service and planning the strategy for the rest of the visit.

“Soar-ing” back and enjoying the ride

As the next day of action approached, I opted to tighten risk even further. I split my wager into two hands of Pai Gow.  This would allow my average bet to still be high enough in getting the points needed, but lessen the chance of sharper drops money-wise.

I knew it would take a lot of time but my luck was holding serve well out of the gate. I played two hands. Normally, it’s tougher to surge upward. playing two hands at a time. But, I managed to double my stake after the first couple of hours.  Even with more chips to work with, I remained conservative in the betting style so I could still last long.

As the clock struck 2am, I reached a good stopping mark. I had won back 70% of what was lost the night before.  I checked my status points knowing there was only a four-hour window left in the “Lock It In” period.  Thankfully, I reached a total of 495 points and just needed a few more!

I finished the night with some video poker in the “Hall Of Lost Tribes” and curled up to a “9/6 Jacks Or Better” machine.  In this mini-session worth seven status points, the gods of “quads” came through with four of a kind twice.  It felt nice to end with some extra winnings after all I had been through.

The next day, Mohegan Sun sent me a mailer. My Soar status was extended thanks to achieving 502 points.  I also enjoyed using the rest of my “Players Perks” in picking up an Under Armor hoodie from Denali. At the soon-closing Margaritaville restaurant, I also picked up a couple of hats.

I ended up losing about 10% of my bankroll over the trip. But, the overall experience and comps achieved made this a memorable one.  I felt five-star service the whole time and will be looking forward to another six months of Soar benefits. That’s the Mohegan Sun way!

 

Pai Gow Poker Tips – Pai Gow Poker Rules

Pai Gow Poker sounds like a difficult game to play. Playing any new table game at the casino for the first time can be intimidating. Knowing how to play your cards as well as knowing the rules of the table is a lot the first time. This is when Pai Gow Poker Tips come in handy.

The emotional feeling of being embarrassed in front of other players is enough to go play the nearest slot instead. Even though there is that intimidation factor in playing any new table game, Pai Gow isn’t necessarily one of them.

Last year I made a resolution to play new games.  So far, I have learned Pai Gow, 3 Card Poker and continues playing Craps. Here are my personal suggestions that helped me dig into that resolution and DO it!

Related posts: Pai Gow Poker Tips for Beginners and Resources for Gambling Part 3 – Pai Gow Poker

Tip #1-Prepare Pai Gow Poker 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.

Tip #2-Play in the early morning

I enjoy playing early when I have the casino to myself. This is an opportune time to ease into play. When I played at first at Borgata last year,  I was very lucky to find an empty table just waiting for me.  The dealer and the pit boss both taught my first live lesson. I had my own personal table, complete with professional tutors!

Tip #3-Things you can 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.
  • There is a  commission on each hand. It equals $1.25 on a $5 winning bet.
  • The Fortune bonus side bet is available. Dealers and players will help you.
  • 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 as asking other players.
  • The numbers on the table refer to the random number chosen to start dealing the hands.

Pai Gow Poker 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) at Borgata, it was a great experience.  I have since played at MGM Springfield, Mohegan Sun, Foxwoods, Twin River Casino and Tiverton Casino, with varying results.  But, I find it fun, slow for those times you want to spend more time, and usually a friendly game.

It’s Story Time

Here is one last story. While I was attending Zorkfest, Las Vegas, I decided to go next door to the Mirage to play some Pai Gow. I never played side bets because I always thought they had too much of a house edge for me to play them. According to the  Wizard of Odds website, “Fortune” is a side bet in Pai Gow Poker pays based on the value of the player’s seven cards. It doesn’t not matter how the player sets his hand. In addition, you will get an “Envy Bonus.” if another player has a four of a kind or better and played the Fortune bet  At every table I have seen there is a $5 minimum and the Envy Bonus is a fixed amount.

Like I said, I never play the side bet. But, On this night, however, one player at the table had 5 Aces (there is one joker that can be the value of an ace).  At 400 to 1, his $5 bet won $2000.00.  Everyone else at the table was paid the envy bonus of $250, except one – ME!

Needless to say, I almost always play the Fortune Bonus.

Binbin