Even before players sit at the Pai Gow poker table, the house ensures that they start at a disadvantage. There is a 5% commission charged on the value of all winning hands. But there's more: in games where the dealer always plays as the banker, there is an additional profit margin for the casino, ranging from 0.10 percent to 0.25 percent. Over time, casinos expect players to lose $1 to $2 for every $100 they bet.

So, how can one win at Pai Gow poker? The answer lies in the short term. Losses and victories occur in each session. A player fortunate enough to stop playing while still making profits can avoid the foreseeable long-term losses. Moreover, utilizing all available strategies to minimize the house edge will also contribute to the success of every session played.

In 1990, Stanford Wong, an American mathematician, meticulously penned a rulebook centered around the intricacies of Pai Gow poker. With utmost precision, he dissected the game, leaving no stone unturned. His literary masterpiece, aptly titled "The Ultimate Strategy for Pai Gow Poker," delves into the realm of 27 distinct hand types that can materialize during gameplay. Wong devoted countless hours to studying each potentiality, ultimately divulging the most optimal strategy for constructing a winning hand and ensuring a fruitful gaming experience.

Given that the book covers every aspect of Pai Gow, one can acquire knowledge of all possible Pai Gow poker combinations. Mastering this may take some time, but luckily for beginners, there are specific shortcuts available to help them make the best decisions during their gameplay without requiring a prodigious memory. The majority of Pai Gow hands fall into six major categories: no pair, one pair, two pairs, three pairs, trio, and full house. A player who understands how to navigate these situations will find triumph in nine out of ten instances.

The fundamental approach of Pai Gow poker is to seek equilibrium in both the two-card hand and the five-card hand. Rather than aiming for an excessively strong hand, strive to distribute the strength among the hands in such a way that both become good hands, thereby increasing the chances of winning for both. By adopting this playing style, you ensure the potential to earn more throughout your Pai Gow gaming experience.


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And because the five-card hand should always be stronger than the two-card hand, it is always created first. The remaining cards are used to form your lower hand, the two-card hand. In 16 percent of hands, there will be no pairs, so the highest of the seven cards is chosen as the highest card and placed in the five-card hand. Next, the two highest value cards are placed in the lower hand. It couldn't be simpler than this.

More than half of the hands dealt during the game will fall into two scenarios: hands without a pair and hands with a single pair. Another 42% of all hands will consist of a single pair, which must be placed in the higher hand. The next two highest cards should be placed in the lower hand. These two situations, the non-pair hand and the single pair hand, account for the majority of hands that will occur throughout the game.

Roughly 24 percent of the hands dealt in Pai Gow poker will consist of two pairs. In such a scenario, it is advisable to split the pairs between your two hands. Naturally, the higher-ranking pair will go in the five-card hand, while the lower-ranking pair will be placed in the two-card hand. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. When both pairs are of low rank, meaning pairs of six or lower, keep both pairs in your five-card hand, especially if a high-value card is present in the two-card hand, such as an ace or a joker. When dealing with three pairs, the highest-ranking pair should go in the two-card hand. With all the knowledge we've acquired so far, approximately 82 percent of all situations are covered, which is more than enough for even a novice player to play with confidence.

In a realm where possibilities abound, a mere 8 percent of hands possess an extraordinary rarity: a triumvirate. The elusive trio of aces exists to adorn the pinnacle of every hand, that is, the five-carded masterpiece.

Sometimes, very seldom, you will be dealt a hand with a pair and a three-of-a-kind. Do not treat this as a full house. Keep the three-of-a-kind in the five-card hand and the pair in the two-card hand.

The remaining 10 percent of all hands will likely include straights and flushes, with some even having pairs of high cards. To prevent strengthening the two-card hand and weakening the five-card hand, it is best to keep the straights and flushes together in the five-card hand. This strategy will almost certainly guarantee victory.

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