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Pai Gow Poker

This is an Americanized version of the Chinese game Pai Gow.  A 53-card deck is used and a joker is the additional card from a normal deck.  The joker may be used as an ace or to complete straights or flushes.   This is the only game in a casino where one of you may act as the bank.  A large bankroll is required though because you must be able to cover the other players bets and you must pay the house a commission. 

Seven cards are dealt to each of you.  Then you must arrange your hand into two hands.  One will be a 5-card hand and the other a 2-card hand.  The 5-card hand is the high hand, and the other hand is the second high hand.  You must arrange the 5-card hand so that it outranks the 2-card hand (pair of kings and pair of six's- you cannot put the kings in the 2-card hand).  The highest ranking 2-card hand is a pair of aces.  You cannot form 2-card straights or flushes.  The 5-card hand is ranked like a normal poker hand. (link to anchor)  In order to win, you must beat both of the dealers hands or the banker's if a player is holding the bank.  If you win one hand and the banker wins the other, it is a push and no money exchanges hands.

Hand Rankings:

1 - Five aces (joker)
2 - Royal flush
3 - Straight Flush
4 - Four of a kind
5 - Full House
6 - Flush
7 - Straight
8 - 3 of a kind
9 - 2 pair
10 - 1 pair
11- No pair

Tips and Strategies:

Try to make the 2-card hand as strong as possible while abiding by the 5-card/2-card ranking rule.

When you have a  hand with no pairs, put the highest card in the 5-card hand and then the next two highest in the 2-card hand.

When you have one pair, place it in the 5-card hand, and put the highest two remaining cards in the 2-card hand.

When you are holding an ace or king and 2 pairs, put the 2 pairs in the 5-card hand and put the ace or king in the 2-card hand.

When you have 3 pair, put the highest one in your 2-card hand.

When you have a straight and 2 pair; play as two pair; ignore the straight.

When you have a five-card straight, play it in the 5-card hand. Play it the same way when you have a six card straight as well.

When you have a flush and  2 pair, you should play it as 2 pair. Ignore the flush.

When you have a flush, use the two highest cards you can in the 2-card hand without breaking up the flush to be used in the 5-card hand.

When you have a full house, use the pair in the 2-card hand and the 3 of a kind in the 5-card hand.

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