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Last Updated: August 01, 2001

Pai Gow Poker: No-Push Pai Gow


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No Push Pai Gow Poker

No Push Pai Gow Poker is a pai gow poker variation I have seen at the Palace Station in Las Vegas. The rules are the same as pai gow poker with these exceptions.

  • The dealer is always the banker.
  • No 5% commission. If the player wins both hands it truly pays even money.
  • After seven hands are dealt, including a dragon hand, there are still four cards left over. The dealer will take the next one and put in a marked area on the table for the players. The next card will likewise be placed in an area for the banker. Both cards are placed face down. These cards will be turned over after the dealer has set his hand.
  • In the event of a push the player and dealer cards shall be used to break the tie. If the player's card is greater than the banker's card then the player wins. If the banker's card is equal or greater than the player's card then the banker wins. In the tiebreaker the joker counts as an ace.

To analyze this game I used the following probabilities, which I determined by random simulation assuming both player and banker used the Trump Plaza house way.

Possible Outcomes in Pai Gow Poker

Outcome Probability
Player wins both 28.55%
Tie 41.47%
Banker wins both 29.98%

The probability of a tie between the player and banker cards is (48/53)*(3/52)+(5/53)*(4/52)=0.05950. If the game goes to the extra cards, which is does 41.47% of the time, then the player's expected value is -0.05950. The overall expected value of the game is 0.2855*1 + 0.4147*-0.05950 + .2998*-1 = -0.03898. So the house edge is about 3.90%. The player may be able to cut the house edge down marginally by assuming a more aggressive strategy in setting his cards, trying to avoid pushes. Although I didn't study this directly I speculate the effect strategy variation is very small.

The house edge in regular pai gow poker as the player is 2.85%. So even if you never bank the conventional game still has a lower house edge. The difference increases according to the player's willingness to bank. If you're bored with all the pushes of conventional pai gow poker then you may find new excitement in this game. However if you want to lose less money stick with the conventional pai gow poker.

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