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: 7 Beginner’s Tips for Pai Gow Poker  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

 

Blackjack Side Bets in New England Casinos

According to John Grochowski, side bets in Blackjack are offered for two basic reasons, “….to add a little excitement for players who want more out of the game than trying to grind out a profit one bet at a time, and to increase action to generate more profit for the house.”

What are the side bets offered in New England’s Casinos for Blackjack?  And are they worth playing?

We will list the side bets, explain a little about them, and give John Grochowsk’s take on if it’s worth it.  Keep in mind some side bet paytables differ even with the same game.  My suggestions is to check out the Wizard of Odds for more on side bets variance for blackjack.

Match The Dealer

In New England’s casinos, there are a variety of side bets.  The most popular is Match the Dealer, which can be found at Mohegan Sun, Foxwoods and Twin River in Rhode Island.  

The Match the Dealer side bet pays when either of the player’s first two cards match the dealer’s up card. According to Traditional blackjack, the payouts are as follows:

  • 1 non-suited match pays 4 to 1;
  • 2 non-suited matches pay 8 to 1;
  • One suited match pays 11 to 1;
  • One suited match and one non-suited match pay 15 to 1;
  • 2 suited matches pay 22 to 1.

According to many players, this side bet has a fixed house advantage that is fairly high, several times higher than blackjack. Not a good bet.

Lucky Ladies

Lucky Ladies side bet c an be found at the HOLLYWOOD Casino, Hotel & Raceway in Bangor, ME. LUCKY LADIES™ BONUS BET is a side bet based on the player’s first two cards and the dealer’s up card. As far as I know, it is the first side bet to be based on the player’s first two cards and the dealer’s up card. Since it came out, there have been many imitators.  Lucky Ladies is also known as, “The 20 Point Bonus Wager” point count of their first 2 cards equals 20.

PAYOUT SCHEDULE – First two cards: Queen of Hearts Pair (with Dealer Blackjack) = 1,000 to 1; Queen of Hearts Pair = 125 to 1; Matched 20 = 19 to 1, Suited 20 = 9 to 1;  Any 20 = 4 to 1

JG – Lucky Ladies: There’s the possibility of huge wins here, with a 1,000-1 bonanza if the player is dealt two queens of hearts while the dealer has a blackjack, or 125-1 on a pair of heart ladies regardless of the dealer hand. In the version I’ve seen, there’s also a 19-1 payoff on a 20 if both cards are the same rank and suit, 9-1 on a suited 20 on cards of different ranks, such as jack-king, or 4-1 on an unsuited 20.
That’s an attraction, to be sure, but at a 24.71 percent house edge, the cost is high. Average loss per hour is a whopping $14.83 of the $60 at risk. That dwarfs the average blackjack loss for a $10-a-hand basic strategy player, and is even higher than the loss for an average player.
Think about it: That extra $1 per hand more than doubles the average loss for a $10 blackjack bettor who is just an average player.
For those who don’t limit the side bets to a buck, just multiply by your bets. Make the side bets equal to your $10 blackjack bets, and average losses shoot up to about $20 an hour in 21 + 3, $40 in Royal Match, and $148 in Lucky Ladies.

“21+3”

This side bet, found at Oxford Casino, in Oxford,ME., pays based on the player’s first two cards and the dealer’s up card. If the three cards equal a flush, straight, straight flush, or three of a kind the side bet pays 9 to 1.  It does come in various versions according to the number of decks.

JG – “21 + 3: At mostly full tables, the $1 side bets mean a risk of $60 per hour. The 3.24 percent house edge means a few pennies shy of $2 extra in the house coffers. For basic strategy players, that’s just $1 less than the losses from betting 10 times as much on the main game.
Average players who are losing $12 an hour might find that extra two bucks palatable for the chance at 9-1 payoffs if their two cards plus the dealer’s up card form a flush, straight or three of a kind. It’s a much smaller leap from their regular loss rate of $1.20 per $60 wagered.

“In BETween”

This blackjack side bet has been seen a few places here and there, and in New England, it’s found found at Oxford Casino. According to Mike Shackelford, the “Wizard of Odds” himself, “The goal is for one card to fall between two others in rank. In this case, the primary goal is the dealer’s up card to fall between the player’s initial two cards.”

Progressives

The “Super Four” side bet in Mohegan Sun is the only location to offer it in New England.  Here’s more on the bet:

  • The side bet is $5 and $5 only.
  • The circle will be to the left of the blackjack bet as Match The Dealer will be retained in it’s usual place.
  • Super 4 is a progressive blackjack side bet based on the four cards consisting of the player’s and dealer’s initial two cards.
  • In both, the player wins on a dealer blackjack. The amount of the win depends on the poker value of all four cards.

One gentleman walked away feeling very lucky on July 12th after hitting the Super 4 Diamonds bonus jackpot totaling $347,456.

At Foxwoods, Blackjack Match Progressive is offered. Here’s more on the bet:

  • Blackjack Match is a side bet that wins if the player and/or the dealer have a blackjack.
  • The value of the win is maximized if the blackjacks are suited and match.
  • Unlike most other progressive side bets, this one costs $5 instead of $1 and are on a “for one” basis, meaning the original wager is not returned on a win.
  • On the top two awards, there is an “Envy Bonus,” which means a win for every other player at the table who made the side bet.

 

We visited all 7 New England Casinos this summer.  This is part of what we found.  More comparisons and info will be presented throughout the fall.

That’s all for now.

 

3 Card Poker – A Primer

Three Card Poker was invented in England in the mid 1990’s by Derek Webb. It was originally called Casino Brag, since it was inspired by 3-card Brag, adapted to create a casino game in which players bet against the house rather than against each other. The name Three Card Poker was adopted when this game was introduced to America.

3 Card Poker’s popularity has separated it from the other fringe “carnival” type games.  It seems you can find it in any casino with table games.  There are usually more than one table, second to blackjack in popularity.  Why? it’s  easy to play, is a lot of fun and is one of the least intimidating table game. Here’s a primer.

Play/Ante

thThe game is played with a single deck of 52 cards. Three cards are dealt to each player who has placed an ante bet and three cards to the dealer. After viewing his three cards the player must decide to either make a play bet, placing an additional amount equal to the ante bet, or fold, losing the ante bet.  Following this decision, the dealer’s hand is revealed and there is a showdown that depends on if the dealer’s hand “qualified” as follows:

    • If the dealer does not have Queen high or better, the ante bet is paid even money and the play bet is returned.
    • If the dealer does have Queen high or better and the player’s hand beats the dealer’s hand the ante bet and play bet are paid even money.
    • If the dealer does have Queen high or better and the player’s hand is equal to the dealer’s hand the player’s ante and play bets are returned.
    • If the dealer does have Queen high or better and the player’s hand is worse than the dealer’s hand the ante and play bet are lost.

    3-card Poker

    3-Card Poker Table

  1. An additional bonus is also payed on the ante bet irrespective of dealer’s hand or outcome of the hand if the player holds a strong hand 
  • Even money for a straight
  • 4 to 1 for three of a kind
  • 5 to 1 for a straight flush

Pair Plus Payout

There is also the Pair Plus wager, special side bet, is based on whether or not you will be dealt a pair or better.  The result of a Pair Plus® bet depends only on the three cards dealt to the player – the dealer’s cards are irrelevant. The Pair Plus® bet is lost if the player does not hold a pair or better. Winning hands are paid as follows:

  • Even money for a pair
  • 4 to 1 for a flush
  • 6 to 1 for a straight
  • 30 to 1 for three of a kind
  • 40 to 1 for a straight flush

A winning Pair Plus® hand is paid out even if the player folds, though in fact this situation rarely occurs, since with any such hand the correct strategy is to place a Play bet.

In most casinos you can bet on either of the games but some casinos require you to make an Ante Bet in order to bet the Pair Plus portion of the game.

Important things to know about 3 Card Poker

  • This is a fast-paced game
  • The strategy is simple for the Ante portion of Three Card Poker. You should fold if you have a hand lower than Queen – 6 -4 and you should continue and make the Play bet if you hand is higher. Yup, that’s all!
  • The hand rankings are not the same as the other poker games. Because only three cards can be dealt to any single player, the poker hands that they must create should be made up of three cards only, and thus have a slightly different hierarchy.  The main difference is the juxtaposition of the flush and straight. Here are common pay tables for the bonus “Pair Plus” ante – some better than others:
Common Pay Structures
Hand Type A B C D
Straight Flush 40-1 40-1 40-1 40-1
3 of –a kind 30-1 25-1 30-1 30-1
Straight 6-1 6-1 5-1 6-1
Flush 4-1 4-1 4-1 3-1
Pair 1-1 1-1 1-1 1-1
House Edge 2.32 3.49 5.90 7.28

For all of the mathematical breakdown, go to the Wizard of Odds website below, or click on the link to the right.

http://wizardofodds.com/games/three-card-poker/

3 card poker – 6 card bonus

Three Card Poker 6 Card Bonus (TCP) is a Three Card Poker game that utilizes a player-dealer position. As in other games featuring a player-dealer, the players play against another player who will collect all winnings and pay all losing wagers to the extent that their wagers covers. The 6 Card Bonus is an additional optional bonus bet for Three Card Poker. The rules are as follows:

1. A player shall only place a 6 Card Bonus wager if he/she has also placed an Ante wager prior to the initial deal.

2. 6 Card Bonus wagers must be placed prior to the initial deal.

3. See the collection rate schedule for restrictions on the amount that may be wagered on the 6 Card Bonus Bet and any collection fees that may be taken.

4. The 6 Card Bonus wager considers the three cards dealt to the player’s hand and the three cards dealt to the player-dealer’s hand. A player then uses any of those six cards, regardless of the number of cards used from their hand or the player-dealer’s hand, to make the best possible five card poker hand.

5. If the player’s hand qualifies for payouts, the player is paid according to the posted pay below by the player-dealer.

6. If the player’s hand does not qualify for payouts, the player-dealer collects the 6 Card Bonus wager.

7. The player-dealer will pay all winning 6 Card Bonus wagers and will collect all losing 6 Card Bonus wagers.

8. The 6 Card Bonus wager may win or lose regardless of the outcome of the Ante wager. The 6 Card Bonus wager shall not be forfeited if the player folds their hand and does not place a Play wager.

9. Once the player-dealer’s wager has been exhausted, the wagers not covered by the player-dealer will be returned to the players.

10. Winning 6 Card Bonus wagers pay as follows:

3 card poker 6 card bonus

For those poker players and enthusiasts who are in search for something new but still want the same exciting aspects and elements of the poker game, why not try three card poker?  Lowest limits in most casinos are $5 ($10 for both ante bets).

That’s all for now

Binbin