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Poker Blog established in 2003 as the first stop for poker news, poker stories, and bad poker advice.

December 7, 2005

How to Play Pai Gow Poker

by Otis

With less than 24 hours to touchdown, I'm left with too much to do and too little time to do it. There's work, side work, packing, dog kenneling, errands, etc. I've done my best to cover everything I can in advance of the WPBT trip this weekend.

However, one thing remains undone.

So, I give you...

How to Play Pai Gow Poker (Version: Otis)

First, if you don't already know the rules and basic strategy of Pai Gow, go learn. That's not what this is about. This is about how to play optimal Pai Gow Poker while under the influence.

1. Play drunk-- If you are not already intoxicated when you sit down at a Pai Gow Poker table, you're going to have to start getting there as soon as you sit down. Summon the nearest cocktail waitress with the following phrase: "Hey, darlin', you have time for me right now?" Smile when you say it. Then put a dollar chip beside your drink holder and say, "There will be one of those sitting there at all times. Just take it whenever you bring the next drink." Then smile again.

2. Beg the dealer to deal him/herself a Pai Gow-- Ideally, you want the dealer to draw the worst possible cards and let everybody win. You should beg for this at all times and appear genuinely hurt when the dealer draws even halfway decent cards. However, if the dealer cooperates, you must--must--yell "Pai Gow!" at the top of your lungs. Make sure your table yells along with you. High-five each other and stack your chips.

3. Act smug-- After you have completed #2, people at nearby tables (usually those who are losing at roulette) will start to stare at you with annoyed looks on their faces. Look at them and offer a smug smile that says, "We win, you lose, sucker." After you've done this a few times, wave them over and ask them if they'd like to play a game where they can win. If they won't come over, make sure to wave every time you win.

4. Beg for the Dragon-- In some casinos, you are offered the option of playing an empty seat's cards in addition to your own. This is usually called The Dragon. Every player can take the option in rotation. It is your job to beg for it every time it is offered. If necessary, offer to buy the Dragon from your tablemate. If he refuses, look very smug when he loses both hands. Then wave at him like you've been waving at the roulette players.

5. Play the bonus-- If your Pai Gow table offers the option of a bonus bet for high hands, you must--must--play it. If you don't have dollar chips/coins, ask for change. Keep in mind, you will never, ever win. However, each time you drop the coin in the slot, thoughtfully tap the felt and say, "This is the time. I feel it."

6. Make sure the pit boss notices you-- Your antics to this point will surely have drawn the pit boss' eye. He may think you're running some scam. Set him at ease. Call him over and ask him about life, things, and whatnot. If he says, "Life is not whatnot," laugh like you think it's funny. About two hours into the game, start talking about how good steak and eggs would be. If he fails to get the hint, you need to add a bit to your Pai Gow cheer. Any time the dealer draws a Pai Gow, scream, "Pai Gow--Steak and Eggs!!!!"

7. Consume the Official Drink of Pai Gow-- If you want to be a real champ, order a Greyhound every time the cocktail waitress comes along. If she is especially cute, see if you can draw her into a quiet lament about how Salty Dogs aren't allowed because the salt can get on the felt. If she sheds a tear, give her a red bird and tell her to go have a Salty Dog on you. It's up to you how many sexual overtones you want to use.

8. Engage the dealer-- It is your job to be or act inordinately interested in the dealer's name, pronounciation of the name, and country of origin. Do not let up until you could write a paper about all three subjects.

9. Do not be ashamed-- While Pai Gow games work better as group activities, do not be ashamed if you are the only one at the table. At 2am, you have a job to do, and if you have to go it alone, so be it.

10. The Disclaimer-- I play Pai Gow as described above. Please be aware that any of the above can result in going broke, getting slapped, getting barred from the casino, or waking up with a hella hangover.

So, um...who is with me?

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