How to beat Pai Gow Poker

April 3, 2014

Being an advantage gambler makes me always interested in ways to beat the casino. I regularly read about the latest news for those figuring out nifty ways to beat the dealer. I have to admit, I am not the most creative one when it comes to these things, but I have a knack for copying the findings of others :)

Many people are looking for ways to win at pai gow poker, and recently I came about an article outlining how people were able to beat the casinos for a pretty decent sum of money over a five year period. Now the casinos have found a simple way to stop this advantage play, but if you happen to come across a game that serves it with the old rules, you could be cleaning up.

The basic idea is to take advantage of the great edge one can get as a player when you can see the hole card in your hand. But that is impossible you might retort? That is true, but not for the “dragon hand”.

A dragon hand is a hand dealt at any vacant seats that might be present at your table which the other players can bet on in order to entice more action. This way the casino can get more action on every hand and in turn earn more money. See how the casinos fooled themselves?

The way one could make money off of this was that you were able to see the hole card of the dragon hand before you made a wager, and if you see that this is a good card (especially the joker) you would have a positive edge as a player even with the house setting the hand.

If you read the article they will go in depth on how the players advantage increases for the different hole cards showing. Queens is marginally profitable, the King is pretty good and the Ace is double digits in EV. The Joker is amazing, giving an expected value of over 25%!

Once you saw any of these cards in the hole card, you simply bet the maximum on that hand and could rake in the cash, all the while betting the minimum on your own hand.

As mentioned, this was eventually exposed and the casinos countered by adding a limit to the dragon hand bet. This bet could be maximum the bet you bet on your own hand, essentially removing the whole edge the player had. Those who took advantage of this did so from 2007 untill 2012 and probably made great money too. I am sad to say that the solution to making big money playing pai gow poker is still the same as always: invent a time machine 😛

You can read the whole article at here:


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