Pai Gow Tiles is a game of Chinese dominoes. It originated in Ancient China and is played in most Asian countries, but the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino offers this unique game exclusively in Jubao Palace. Translated into English, Pai Gow means “to make nine”. It is layered with 32 dominoes, also called tiles, 11 of which are identical pairs.
So what’s the object of the game? When playing Pai Gow Tiles one must make 2 “ranking” hands using 4 dominoes (2 dominoes per hand). The 2 hands consist of the “high hand” and the “low hand.” In order to win, the player’s rankings in both hands must be higher than the bank’s. For the bank to win, its rankings must be higher than the players. If the banker wins one and the players the other, the hand is a standoff (“push”). If the bank and player have the same ranking hand and their highest ranking individual dominoes (tiles) are also the same, then the banker wins. This is known as a “copy hand”.
Now you may be wondering, how does one plays this exotic game? First, the dealer must “shuffle” the dominoes. The dominoes are then placed in 8 stacks of 4 and during that time the players must place their bets. Prior to shaking the pai gow shaker (which contains three dice) the dealer will announce there will be “no more bets allowed”. The dealer shakes three times and then totals the dice amount showing.
This determines which player will get the first stack of dominoes. The dealer will then deal one stack (4 dominoes) to each players position, whether there is a player seated there or not including himself or herself and a dead hand. The players then rank their dominoes and place two hands face down immediately behind the players betting area.
Each player at the table is responsible for setting his or her own hand and no other person except the dealer may touch the tiles (dominoes) of that player. Each player is required to keep the 4 tiles (dominoes) in full view of the dealer at all times. Once each player has set a high hand and a low hand and placed the two hands face down on the layout, the player is not allowed to touch the tiles (dominoes) again. The dealer will always set his or her hand using a set of rules known as House Way. The banker’s hand is shown first and then the dealer reveals the players hands. The dealer collects the losers and pays the winners at even money less a 5% commission for the house.
Only players who are seated at the Pai Gow Tiles table may place a wager and receive tiles (dominoes), that player must remain seated until the completion of the round of play.
Information provided by Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa