Pai Gow Poker History

Go Casino BonusPai Gow Poker as we know it today first came about in the mid 1980’s. While there is some controversy surrounding who first developed the game, its origins are most widely credited to Sam Torosian and his partner Fred Wolf. The game was modeled, named after, and is often times confused and/or associated with the Chinese domino game also named “Pai Gow”.

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Pai Gow Poker first appeared in online casinos as early as the mid 1990’s. Pure Vegas was one of the very first online casinos to offer Pai Gow Poker game play for real money. Over the years they’ve kept their edge and are still one of our top rated online casinos for Pai Gow Poker and other table games.

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Pai Gow Poker Invented

The beginning of pai gow poker occurred around 1985 when Sam Torosian owner of the Bell Casino needed something new to assist him with his struggling casino and combined the popular Asian domino game with elements of poker to create one of the top 10 casino games still to this day: Pai Gow Poker. After its huge success Sam Torosian and his partner Fred Wolf went on to create other popular casino games. Sam, however, never patented the idea and lost millions in royalties due to following the poor advice of a lawyer who misinformed him that it wouldn’t be possible to patent a game based on a 52 card deck.

Pai Gow Tiles

Pai Gow is a Chinese gambling game, played with a set of Chinese dominos. It dates back about a thousand years to the Song Dynasty, 960 to 1279, which makes it as old as the first paper money system, the first known use of gunpowder (a mere coincidence), and the first discernment of true north with a compass.

At first appearance, the similarity between the Pai Gow Poker game and the ancient Chinese tile game is a bit mysterious. In one, there are many tiles similar to dominos with Chinese names, where some tiles match, some don’t, and there are two colors to the dots on them. In the poker game, there are seven cards dealt from which two hands are selected and both must rank higher than the dealer’s two hands. On closer look, however, the mist begins to clear and it can be seen how one led to the other. First of all, pai in Chinese means number. To the Chinese, there is no distinction between the words card and tile; they both have the same meaning. The full term means number-nine, as nine is the highest number to aim for in Pai Gow. There are four tiles dealt to each player from which he tries to make two high ranking sets with which to beat the dealer. It becomes clear that the two hands and two sets as well as the strategies are indeed similar.

Go to our Pai Gow Tiles page for a more comprehensive and detailed analysis of this area of the game.

Pai Gow Poker Variations

Over the years many variations of Pai Gow Poker have been invented. The most common adaption is the introduction of side bets, while other completely different games such as mini-pai-gow and Asian Poker have been introduced. To learn more, visit our page titled: Pai Gow Variants.

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