Pai Gow History

Every game is steeped in the past and legend, and the Pai Gow is no exception. This is a game that combines the standard deck of cards that is used in poker with the popular ancient game; resulting in a unique game of chance. There are several rules to the game that mimics the rankings of the hands in poker with the challenge of dividing the dealt hand into to hands where the objective is to beat both of the Banker’s hands. It’s easy to learn and fun to play, but mastering the game takes patience and skill.

Roots of the Games

It is believed that the game of Pai Gow originated nearly 1100 years ago in China, and its original format was played with dominoes or Mahjong-like tiles. It was many centuries later that they began using cards. It’s completely unknown about when the game was brought to the United States, or by whom, but the theory is that when the Chinese were brought over to help construct the railroads during the 1800s they brought the game with them.

The game caught on in America but instead of being played with tiles or dominoes, it became a very popular card game. Soon the popularity of the game grew, and the owners of the saloons and casinos began using the blackjack tables to also host Pai Gow games.

In the same grain, there is no exact knowledge of when Poker began, Some believe it evolved from the old Persian As Nas game, while others disagree stating it was Poque from France, Peimiera from Italy, or Brag from England – no one knows for certain. But what is certain is that it has become one of the most popular games played in modern day times.

Combining the Games

Poker, when combined with the Pai Gow, created one of the most unique games that can be played in the casinos today. In some areas this game is called “Double Handed” Poker which is the Pai Gow contribution to the game. Credit for creating this popular version goes to Fred Wolf (the owner of the Commerce Casino in California) and Sam Torosian in the mid-1980s.

Players learned this new game and it became so increasingly popular that it made its was east to Las Vegas, and later on even further east to the casinos in Atlantic City – they all knew a good thing when they saw it. Eventually, it was cloned and brought to Europe and continued around the world. It has grown in popularity around the world and, in fact, like many other games, successful players have published books on their “strategies” and “how to win” playing Pai Gow.

Goal of the Game

The objective of the game is to divide the original seven cards into two hands (one with five cards and one with two cards) that will each beat the hand of the Banker – the other contribution from Pai Gow History as it originated in China. It takes two very popular games and creates a third challenging game of chance.