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Last Updated: July 5, 2017

EZ Pai Gow Poker

Question 1 - [00:04]

Angela Wyman: I've got another question for you, Mike. You've been teaching me how to play pai gow and we're using this table and we've been acting as this is a regular pai gow table but it's as easy pai gow and no commission pai gow, what's the difference?

Michael Shackleford: Before I answer that question, you just don't address this game as pai gow. That's my biggest faux pas I have about this game. The game pai gow is actually played with 32 Chinese dominoes and this is a variation of that game, called pai gow poker. So, always say the poker because if you don't say it, then it's unclear to me which game you're referring to. But in answer to your question, yes, I know I asked you to pretend this was a regular pai gow poker table, but now let's quit pretending. This is easy go pow, this is a variation of pai gow meant to take away the pesky 5% commission and I will let dealer Dan explain the rest.

Dan Lubin: Easy pai gow is a variation of pai gow poker where every player winning hand does not pay a commission, so if you bet $100, you win $100 instead of winning $99 after paying a 5$ or 5% commission. What the house does to compensate is that if the dealer has a queen-high pai gow and only a queen-high pai gow, then the main bet is going to push instead of probably win for the player, and that takes the place of the commission.

A queen-high pai gow occurs once in average every 58 hands, so the players are actually gambling that they will have a complete one-hour or two-hour sessions without ever having to experience the dealer's queen-high pai gow and hereby take more money. But if the dealer does have the queen-high pai gow, they're going to push on a hand that they normally or otherwise would have won. And that is the difference between easy pai gow and commission-based pai gow. There's no commission but the dealer doesn't qualify with the queen high.

Michael: You said pai gow, not pai gow poker.

Dan: You're right, slap me.

Angela: [laughs]

Dan: All right.

Michael: So, the odds are about the same as long as the player doesn't intend to bank, right?

Dan: Right.

Michael: I guess that about does it. Do you have any other pai gow poker questions?

Angela: No, I think that this was a great lesson on pai gow poker for me, so thank you.

Michael: Well, I thought you were going to ask me about the side bets.

Angela: Ah. [laughs] Just give me a kick under the table next time.

Michael: [laughs] As I've said, with all the other games I've addressed, as a rule of thumb, side bets are sucker bets and there are a host of different side bets available for pai gow poker. As a rule of thumb, 100% of them I would call sucker bets, they carry a much higher house advantage than the just the basic game. So, although they offer opportunities for the big wins, they carry a much higher house advantage and over the long run, if you want to lose less money, stay away from the side bets. Sound good?

Angela: It sounds good.

Michael: And I know this was a little confusing, this is all on my website as well, wizardofodds.com. Thanks Angela, thanks Dan.

Angela: Thank you.

Dan: We're okay.