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Pai Gow Tiles
Pai Gow Tiles:

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Pai Gow Tiles. Game summary, how to play

The game of Pai Gow Tiles, which originated in Ancient China, is played in most Asian countries. "Pai Gow" is a game of Chinese dominoes. Literally translated, it means "Cards-Nine". The game is played with dominoes and is the forerunner of American dominoes.

The object of Pai Gow tiles is to make two hands that outrank the two hands of the designated Banker known as Player/Dealer (each player deals, in turn).

The unique feature about Pai Gow Tiles is that the Player/Dealer turn is rotated counter-clockwise around the players after each game; that is, each player has the opportunity to deal against other players. The Player/Dealer can win, lose or push on each of the player's individual bets. A Player/Dealer cannot win or lose more than he wagers. A Player/Dealer may "pass" the deal onto the next player if he does not wish to be the Player/Dealer.

How to play Pai Gow Tiles

There are 32 dominoes used in Pai Gow, which are mixed or shuffled by the House Supervisor: The dominoes are placed in eight stacks of four each. The Player/Dealer and up to seven players are dealt one stack (four dominoes). The object of the game is to set the dominoes into two hands (front and back, two dominoes per hand) for the best ranking combination. If they are lower, the Player/Dealer wins. When the Player/Dealer and players have the same ranking combinations, the Player/Dealer is the winner.

The value of each tile does not follow a particular numerical or color sequence, but is determined according to a Chinese symbolic system. Every tile has a corresponding 'twin' 11 of which are 'identical twins'. The other five pairs do not look alike but have the same number of dots and the same ranking value. After all the players have set their hands, the Player/Dealer hand is opened, set, and compared against each player’s hand individually as in Pai Gow Poker.

After the bets are placed, the Player/Dealer casts three (3) dice which determine which player will receive the first stack of dominoes. The players will rank their dominoes and set the two combinations side by side in front of their bets. The Player/Dealer will show his hand first, and the House Supervisor will then open the hands of the players to determine the losers and winners. The House Supervisor collects amounts lost by players in the center of the table. The winning bets are paid off with the Player/Dealer's money.

Ranking combinations

There are 16 ranking combinations in the Pai Gow Tiles game. It is necessary to memorize or refer to the chart for the rankings. The highest are the "Supreme" combinations, which is called in Chinese "Jee Joon" - domino three (red 1, white 2) and domino six (white 2, red 4). The second through the sixteenth rankings are pairs or "Bo". The pairs do not follow a number sequence from the highest to lowest or vice versa. The pairs are actually symbols to the Chinese. For example, the second highest ranking is the pair of twelve called "Double Heaven". Third ranking is the pair of twos called "Double Earth". The fourth ranking is the pair of red eights or "Double People", etc. The thirteenth to sixteenth ranking pairs are not identical dominoes; they are known as mixed (chop) pairs.

After the pair rankings, the best combinations are the "Wong" (King), which is the twelve (heaven) and any nine. This ranking followed by the dominoes two (Earth) and the nine. Next is the "Gong" (Steel), which is the twelve (Heaven) and any eight followed by the two (Earth).

When Bo (pairs) Wong, or Gong combinations cannot be made, the next combinations are ranked from nine to zero. These are the most common rankings and they represent the basis of the game of Pai Gow (Cards - Nine). For example: the two dominoes 10 and 9 make a 9. The 11 and 4 make a 5. The 11 and 9 make a zero.

With the four dominoes you are dealt, you make two combinations, which will both total closest to nine. The object in setting both combinations is to have them both higher than the two combinations of the hand you are playing against.

When the same player and Player/Dealer have two dominoes totaling the same number, the combination with the higher "single ranking" is the winner.

Wild dominoes

The 3 and 6 dominoes that make the "Supreme" combinations (Jee Joon) are "Wild Dominoes". The 3 can be used as a 3 or 6. The 6 can be used as a 6 or 3. For example, dominoes 6 and 4 make zero; however, this 6 can be used as a 3, which makes 7, and is a better combination.

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