Learn To Play Pai Gow Tiles

Learn to Play Pai Gow Tiles

Despite being an ancient game at least eight centuries old, Pai Gow tiles has managed to maintain its popularity. It has in fact spread in acceptance from the East (China) to the West (US). In the US, it is considered a derivative of poker, as legalized in California, and is found in poker rooms.

Pai Gow is Chinese for "make nine", thus leading some people to view it as the foundation for baccarat, where nine is the best hand. Pai Gow Poker comes from the Pai Gow tiles, but surprisingly, 9-high is the worst hand in the poker version.

The Pai Gow tiles game utilizes a 32-piece set of Chinese dominoes tiles which, given the four-tile combination required, result in an astounding 35,960 possible combinations. This huge number of combination possibilities along with unstructured hand values provide great learning opportunities for the players. Tiles may be white with black dots, or black with colored dots, but the color of tiles is actually not pertinent when it comes to the game.

How To Play

Though there are fewer hands dealt per hour compared to other table games, this does not diminish the excitement of the game.

The objective of the game is to beat the dealer's tiles set by making the best two two-tile set combination using the four tiles (or dominoes) dealt to the player. The game begins with the dealer shuffling the tiles together before arranging them into a woodpile, which is basically eight stacks with four Pai Gow tiles per stack. The dealer then rolls or shakes in a metal chamber a set of three dice, which determines which stack of tiles goes to which player.

Once the players are dealt their tiles, they must then make two hands, each with two tiles, both of which must beat the dealer's own combinations. If this happens, the player wins even-money. Having one winning and one losing hand means a push, and no money is exchanged. A case of a player and a dealer having the same hand is called a copy, and the dealer always wins in this case.