Pai Gow Poker is a difficult game that involves a bit of strategy, and that is one of the reasons why it is so popular with casino fans. The basic idea is that you have to arrange seven cards from a standard deck into two hands. The front hand is a five-card hand ranked according to the traditional poker hand ranking, and the second is a two-card hand ranked only by pairs and high cards. The front hand has to be better than the back hand, and that’s the main restriction you will need to keep in mind when trying to maximize the value of your two hands together while looking to beat the dealer.
While there are many scenarios in which playing this game can be difficult, many common hands can be played almost on automatic pilot, as long as there are no flushes or straights available. For example, without a pair, you will always play the second and third highest cards in the back without exception. Along similar lines, hands with a pair always play the best two unpaired cards in the back. Again, there are no exceptions to this rule, and that makes it easy to learn.
Playing three of a kind is really easy on similar lines, but it has one exception. In most cases, you will place the trips in the front hand with the two strongest cards not to travel in the back. However, if you have three of a kind in aces, it is actually better to put two of the aces in front with an ace and the next largest card in the back. This has to do with distributing the power of your cards in both hands in a way that maximizes your overall winning average.
Two pairs is a bit more complicated because you have to decide to split your pairs or not. All you have to do is add the value of your pairs, so if you had 88TTxxx, you would do 8 + 10 = 18 for a power range of 18. If your power range is 17 or more, you always divide the pairs. Lower power rankings will be split only if you can play strong high card hands on your back. For example, if you have a power range of 12 to 16, you will only hold pairs together if you have an ace to put in your back hand.