A Quick History of Pai Gow Poker

Emperor’s Challenge Pai Gow is a popular table game at the casinos in the Washington Gold family. The card and poker game is a variation of another kind of game called pai gow: Chinese dominos. Pai Gow Chinese dominos are perhaps the oldest game ever played in casinos.

Pai Gow poker, however, is much more new. The card game originated in 1985, and was invented by a man named Sam Torosian. Mr Torosian was the owner of the Bell card club, located in southern California. Unfortunately for him, Mr. Torosian missed out on a big win with his game, because he was told that he could not get a patent on a card game, which is incorrect and bad legal advice. Therefore, very few people recognize his name today because he could not prevent other, competing casinos from stealing his game and offering it at their establishments without having to pay royalties to Sam.

Pai Gow is a game of skill, but strategy to succeed is not difficult to learn and many of the hands are easy to play. In the game, a full deck, plus one joker is used for 53 total cards. Six players participate, in addition to the dealer. After being shuffled, the cards are dealt to the players in seven piles of cards with seven cards in each pile. The piles are facedown. Four cards remain unused, no matter how many people are playing.

The players will then separate their pile of cards into a five-card high hand and a two-card low hand. The five-card hand is ranked with normal poker rules, while the two-card hand can only have a pair or not, when the individual cards determine the value of the low hand.

Each of the players is trying to beat the dealer or banker. The object of the game is to create two poker hands from the seven-card hand each player is dealt (the two-card poker hand and five-card hand).

Happy Playing!

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