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Pai Gow

Pai Gow, which means "make nine" or "card nine", is the predecessor of today's popular casino game - Pai Gow Poker or Double Hand Poker. However, Pai Gow should not be confused with Pai Gow Poker, they are two separate games.

Pai Gow is played using a standard 32-tile Chinese domino set, though in ancient Chinese, the word p'ai is used for both dominoes and cards.

Players must arrange four domino tiles into two hands - two domino tiles on each hand. The objective is to beat each of the dealer's corresponding hand.

At the start of each Pai Gow game, the domino tiles are randomly shuffled on the table. The tiles are then arranged into a "woodpile" - eight stacks consisting of four tiles each. Then, more ceremonial shuffles are made to the woodpile - rearranging the tiles standard ways that result in a new woodpile. Bets are then placed.

After all bets have been placed, the dealer and all the players are dealt four tiles each, from which to make two hands - the front hand and the rear hand. Each hand should have two tiles each.

The front hand is the hand with the lower value, while the rear hand should have the higher value.

The player's hands are compared only against the dealer's hands. If a player's front and rear hand beats that of the dealer's, the player wins the bet. If a player's front hand wins and the rear hand loses, the player is said to push or tie. If both of the player's hands loses to dealer's, the player loses his bet.

Scoring the hands

As mentioned earlier, Pai Gow means "make nine" or "card nine". This is because the best hand score is nine (just like in Baccarat), with a few high-scoring exceptions, of course.

Scoring the hands in Pai Gow is similar to Baccarat - simply add the total number of pips on the two tiles, and drop the tens place. For example, a 2-1 tile (a tile with two pips on one end and one pip on the other, has a total of three pips) used with a 1-5 tile (with six total pips) will score nine, since three plus six is nine.

Meanwhile, a 3-4 tile with a 6-7 tile will score zero, not twenty. Remember, in Pai Gow, like in Baccarat, we drop the tens place. Thus a 4-4 tile with a 3-5 tile will score six, since eight plus eight is 16 and the tens place disregarded.

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