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Pai Gow Poker provides fun on a budget

14 February 2008

For those of you that can't get enough of Chinese Poker (and you know who you are), give Pai Gow Poker on Bodog a whirl. Like Chinese Poker, Pai Gow Poker places a premium on the ability to arrange hands. But keeping track of bets and who is winning or losing is much easier in Pai Gow Poker. And you can play the game for hours with even a small bankroll.

In Pai Gow Poker on Bodog, the player takes on the dealer heads up. The game begins when the player makes his bet for the game. (Note: this is the only betting round in the game.) After the bet is made, seven cards apiece are dealt to the player and dealer. The player sees all of his cards face up. The dealers cards are face down on the table. The seven cards need be arranged into the two-best possible hands. One hand will consist of five cards. The other will have two cards. The one requirement in arranging the hands is that the five-card hand must be better than the two-card hand.

After the hands are arranged, the two hands are compared to the dealers' two hands. In order for the player to win, the player's five-card hand beats the dealer's five-card hand and his two-card hand must beat the dealer's two-card hand. If the dealer and player split hands, then the bet is a push – no harm, no foul. And if the dealer sweeps both hands, then the player loses.

The subtleties of arranging hands make this game unique. Do you break up a flush to try and scoop both hands, or do you settle for splitting hands? Do you play trip aces, or play the pair and then ace-high in an effort to win both hands? Do you breakup a "low" full house, or go for the draw? All of these strategy questions are very intriguing. Plus, because so many hands end up as draw, it's fairly easy to play this game on a limited budget.

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