Pai Gow Poker House Way

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Just as the dealer in Blackjack must draw or stand according to a specific set of rules, so must the Banker hand in Pai Gow Poker be arranged according to a strict code known as the “House Way.” The procedures used to set the two Banker hands do not vary much from one casino to the next, so the summary below will provide a good indication of what to expect. However, be sure to ask the dealer for specifics if in doubt about how the House Way works.

No pair – Set the highest card in the 5-card High Hand, and then set the next two highest cards in the 2-card Low Hand.

One pair – Set the pair in the 5-card High Hand and the next two highest cards in the 2-card Low Hand.

Two pair – Split Aces and any other pair between the two hands. Always split a pair of face cards and any pair of 6s or higher. Never split two pairs of 6s or lower. With any other combination of two pairs, split them when there is no Ace; when there is an Ace, set it in the 2-card Low Hand and keep the two pair in the 5-card High Hand.

Three pair – Set the highest of the three pairs in the 2-card Low Hand.

Three of a kind – Set any three of a kind in the 5-card High Hand, with the exception of three Aces, which should be divided into a pair in the 5-card High Hand and one Ace in the 2-card Low Hand. This includes hands containing the Joker.

Two Sets of Three of a Kind - Set the lower three of a kind in the 5-card High Hand and set a pair from the higher three of a kind in the 2-card Low Hand.

Straight – Set any five-card straight in the 5-card High Hand. For any six-card straight, set the highest card from the straight in the 2-card Low Hand. Holding a straight and a pair, place the pair in the 2-card Low Hand. With a straight and two pair, refer to the two-pair rule above.

Flush – Set any flush in the 5-card High Hand. Holding a six-card flush, set the highest card from the flush in the 2-card Low Hand. With a flush and a pair, place the pair in the 2-card Low Hand. With a flush and two pair, refer to the two-pair rule above.

Both a Straight and a Flush – Assuming there is no pair, set the cards to result in the highest possible 2-card Low Hand.

Full House – Place the pair in the 2-card Low Hand. However, when holding any trips and a pair of deuces, place the A-K in the 2-card Low Hand if available.

Four of a Kind – Always keep together in the High Hand four of a kind composed of 2~6. For four of a kind 7~10, split them into two pairs between the hands unless an Ace and a face card are available to set in the 2-card Low Hand. Split face cards, except when the hand also contains a pair of 10s or higher for the 2-card Low Hand. Split Aces, except when a pair of 7s or higher can be placed in the 2-card Low Hand.

Straight Flush – Always set this as the 5-card High Hand, unless an Ace or a face card can be set in the 2-card Low Hand while arranging a non-sequential flush or unsuited straight in the 5-card High Hand.

Royal Flush – Set this as the 5-card High Hand, except when an Ace, King or a pair can be arranged in the 2-card Low Hand while keeping a straight or flush in the 5-card High Hand.

Additionally, when a Dragon Hand is available, House Rules will usually cause its cards be arranged using the House Way. Because Pai Gow Poker dealers are required to memorize the House Way, they can be consulted if the player has any doubt about how to do this.

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