Pai Gow Strategy

Although two pairs are the most common hands that come up in Pai Gow there are mistakes made even with some of the more lucrative hands. Drawing three pairs is always a pleasant surprise and usually the best way to play this is by two-carding the highest pair, which means to use the high pair for you two-card hand. By doing this you make the most of your two card hand while retaining a hard-to beat five card hand. Don't forget - to win (or lose) requires winning both the five card and the two card hand.

Three of a kind is a hand that is often misplayed by inexperienced players. The idea is to make the most of you two-card hand while still winning the five-card hand. This all depends on the three of a kind that you have.

If you have three aces split off a pair for the two-card hand and keep the third for you five-card. You now have a very strong two-hand and an ace in the five-card is always useful too. If you have three kings the also two-card a pair of kings unless you also have a single ace, a queen, or a 10-Jack combination as well. If you have three queens or less then always five-card your three of a kind.

A straight of course should always be kept together because it is such a strong hand to play. If you have a lucky six-card straight then two-card the highest card in the straight to strengthen your two hand. Likewise, keep a flush together and if you draw a six or seven card flush (I wish) then two-card the highest cards of the flush without ruining the five-card flush that remains.

A dilemma arises if you draw a straight and a pair where one of the pair cards is required for the straight. Now what? Contrary to what you might think you should split a straight that runs from 10-ace if the pair you can make is 10s or higher. However, the trick is to five-card the pair and put your two highest other cards for your two hand. If however you have any other lowers straight then keep the straight in the five hand and play the next best cards for your two hand. As mentioned above you almost never want to break up a flush to make a pair because the flush is such a strong hand.

There is however a justifiable cause for breaking up a flush under the right circumstances. If you can form a pair of 9s or better and an ace-jack combination or better by breaking up the flush then do it. Keep the pair for the five hand and two-card the high combination. This gives you stronger hands overall instead of concentrating all of you strength into just the five hand (by playing the flush there).

Will Win is a professional gambler, ex casino dealer and author. For the best Online Casino Visit


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