There are a number of variations of Pai Gow poker that are popular in casinos today.
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Pai gow poker (also called double-hand poker) is an Americanized version of pai gow (in that it is played with playing cards bearing poker hand values, instead of pai gow’s Chinese dominoes). The game of pai gow poker was created in 1985 by Sam Torosian, owner of the Bell Card Club.
The game is played with a standard 52-card deck, plus a single joker. It is played on a table set for six players, plus the dealer. Each player attempts to defeat the banker (who may be the casino dealer, one of the other players at the table, or a player acting in tandem with the dealer as co-bankers).
The object of pai gow poker is for a player to create two poker hands out of the seven-card hand he/she is dealt (a five-card hand and a two-card poker hand) that beats both the dealer’s corresponding hands. The five-card hand’s rank must exceed that of the two-card hand, and it is for this reason that the two-card hand is often called the hand “in front” or “on top” or “hair”, or the “small” or “minor” or “low” hand. The five-card hand is called the hand “behind”, or the “bottom” or “high” or “big” (as they are placed that way in front of the player, when the player is done setting them).