Pai Gow Poker House Ways
House Way is a Pai Gow Poker term referring to the way “the house” is required to set their hand. Pai Gow players are often surprised to learn that the actual “house way” is different from casino to casino. In some cases these differences are not small either. For example, at Imperial Palace in Las Vegas there is a rule where two pair both under six are always kept together. This means that if a dealer is dealt 2233765 the hand would be split as 22335 with a 76 on top. This is an odd rule not used at any other casino including Harrah’s which is next-door to and owned by the same company as Imperial Palace.
The only thing of importance as far as House Way variant advice that we have to offer is to learn the rules of the casinos you populate often, and when visiting new casinos, ask and get further clarification when in doubt. At your local casino you can be the table watchdog, and there will never be a question about whether or not the dealer has set their hand correctly. At newly visited casinos, if you suspect the dealer might have played the hand against house way, then it’s always best to call the floor. For the most part, dealers always set hands based on the house way rules for their given casino; however, they’re human and with many 7-card hand combinations possible, mistakes do occur. In near all cases these mistakes are quickly resolved with a call to the floor. Let us also mention that most mistakes are made in the player’s favor; so for a knowledgeable player, human error can be a good thing if they’re only pointing out mistakes made against them.
House Way Examples
It’s not possible that we cover the house way at every casino, as there are literally thousands of variations, most dealing with very odd situations, such as how to split quads, or how to play a straight, a flush and two pair when all in the same hand.
For specific examples of House Way: refer to the following pages from leading casino strategy wizardofodds.com Pai Gow Poker page, where links to the house way at the following casinos can be accessed.
* Bally’s (Atlantic City)
* Barona (San Diego)
* British Columbia (Canada)
* Canterbury Park (Minnesota)
* Claridge (Atlantic City)
* Four Queens (Las Vegas)
* Flamingo Hilton (Las Vegas)
* Golden Nugget (Las Vegas)
* Texas Station (Las Vegas)
* Trump Plaza (Atlantic City)
Reason House Ways Differ
Every fraction of a percent a casino gains in terms of house advantage can mean tens of thousands of dollars in added profit. Casino executives use experienced mathematicians to study a number of factors in deterring optimal “house-way” for their particular casino. These consultants know that not all players will play their hands optimally, so great study goes into player tendencies. These tendencies will be different at each casino; therefore, optimal strategy at one casino might be different than that at another. The high paid casino consultants go through this with a fine comb to come up with the most optimal way to increase the casino’s profit, hence the reason each casino has their own “house way”.
Can These Difference Be Exploited
The simple answer is “yes, to an extent: The casino is not going to have a house way sophisticated players can exploit to the point that they would be playing with positive expectation; however, it is possible to greatly reduce the house advantage playing optimal Pai Gow strategy other than playing along with that casinos “house way”. For more on this, we recommend Stanford Wong’s book Optimal Pai Gow Strategy.
What Casinos Give Players the Best Odds
Using Optimal Pai Gow Strategy, a player’s expected loss will be the lowest at Imperial Palace in Las Vegas – due to a higher frequency of pushes.
Why Can’t a Casino Give me a House Way Print Out
Most casinos do not publish house way. This is not because they desire to keep it a secret from their customers; it’s to do their best to keep competition from copying them, as each casino bases their own house way on detailed research which involves not beating hands played optimally but rather beating hands the way players at their particular casino most often play them. This information is worth a lot to the house. In such cases where a dispute arises over how a hand is set, almost all floor supervisors will be happy to show their Pai Gow Module (every casino has one on site) which clearly states the house rules and reasons the hand was set the way it was.
Don’t Stress too Much over House Way
A reminder: do not stress too much about the difference in House Way. All that we recommend is that you become familiar with the most common rules at the casinos you play at most often and are quick to speak up if something does not seem right at the casinos you’re visiting.