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Asian Games : Game Tips & Strategies

Pai Gow is played with a set of 32 Chinese tiles which form 16 permissible pairs. A hand with any permissible pair is ranked higher than a hand which does not contain a pair. Play begins with all players making a wager. As the players decide how much to bet the dealer mixes up the dominos and puts them in 8 neat stacks of 4.

Then the dice are rolled to determine who gets the first stack and then proceeds counter-clockwise. After the dice are exposed the player may not change his bet. Each player is given one stack of 4 dominos, which they are to arrange into two groups of two.

Each pair of dominos has a ranking. The player must decide how to arrange his dominos into the strongest possible pairs. Sometimes the choice is obvious but often a decision must be made whether to have a strong hand and a weak hand or two more balanced hands. At most there will be three possible and viable ways to play the hand. After a decision is reached the player should lay the dominos face down with the higher pair laying horizontally and the lower pair vertically. Only after all players have set their hands can the banker examine and set his dominos.

After all dominos have been arranged the banker and player will turn over their hands. Each player will in turn compare his hands to those of the banker. If the player wins both hands his bet pays even money less a 5% commission. If the player loses both he loses his entire wager. If the hands split, one win and one loss, then the bet is a push. After all bets have been settled the banker pays a 5% commission on the net win, if there was one.

The highest ranking hand is the Supreme Pair, followed by Matched Pairs and Unmatched or Mixed Pairs. The next highest ranking hands are special combinations known as Wongs and Gongs. Hands consisting of Wongs or Gongs are ranked lower than Pairs.

Wongs are formed with the highest ranking single tile, 12, and either 9 (Teen Wong) or the second highest tile, 2, and either 9. Please refer to the Single Tile Ranking Chart.

Gongs are formed with the highest ranking single tile, 12, and any 8 (Teen Gong) or the second highest tile, 2, and any 8 (Day Gong.)

The next highest ranking hands are numeric value hands, the highest of which is 9. Hands that do not contain pairs have numeric values. Each tile has a numeric value and a symbolic ranking.

To find the numeric value, add the spots on each tile. The total will never be higher than nine because only the last digit in the total number of spots is used.

To find the ranking of each tile and each permissible pair, refer to the ranking charts. Two tiles will combine to form a hand. Add the total number of Spots contained on the two tiles. If the numeric total of the spots is a two digit number, the left digit is discarded and the right digit is the value of the hand.

When two hands have the same numeric value, the ranking will determine the winner. To determine which hand is higher, find the highest ranked tile in each hand and compare them.

When two hands have the same numeric value and identical high tiles, it is called a "Copy" hand. The bank wins all "Copy" hands.

When two hands have the numeric value of zero, they are considered equally bad, regardless of the high tile and the bank will win all zero ties.

Asian Games School Lessons
Lesson 1: Sic Bo History
Learn about this Chinese dice game
Lesson 1: Pai Gow History
Learn about this ancient Chinese tile game.
Lesson 1: Pai Gow Poker History
Find out how Pai Gow tiles evolved into Pai Gow Poker and got to north America.
Lesson 2: Sic Bo Rules and Betting
The general game and how to bet
Lesson 2: Pai Gow Rules
How to play this intriguing game.
Lesson 2: Pai Gow Poker Rules
Learn the rules of play for this Poker hybrid.
Lesson 3: Pai Gow Poker Tips
Once you have the basic, see how to play like a pro.
Lesson 3: Pai Gow Pairs
The pairs detailed and explained.
Lesson 3: Sic Bo Tips and Probabilities
Rules of thumb to play smart Sic Bo
Lesson 4: Pai Gow Tips and Strategy
Important pointers and advice.
Lesson 4: Pai Gow Poker Probabilities
What are the payouts like and how likely is it to get a winning hand? Find out here.
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