A glimpse of pai gow

Nov 18, 2003 4:13 AM

Pai Gow Poker has always had a following in Las Vegas, especially with Asian players, even though it is actually an Americanized version of Pai Gow, an ancient and mystical game played with tiles.

But Palace Station recently expanded its Asian games area with the introduction of Pai Gow Tiles or Chinese dominoes. The casino on West Sahara Avenue is now one of 17 Las Vegas casinos to offer Pai Gow Tiles and one of only two off-Strip properties to offer the game.

"We’ve added the new game because it is one of the best examples of an Asian game that can be played here. Dominoes has been played in China since at least the 12th century and it is believed that Chinese dominoes were designed to represent possible throws of the dice because there are no blank faces on the tiles," said Jim Dickstein, Palace Station Director of Casino Operations.

Palace Station’s dealers prepared for the new game with training sessions held nightly for about two weeks.

Pai Gow Tiles is an intricate game that is played with a set of 32 tiles or dominoes. After the tiles are shuffled, stacked and cut, then a set of three dice is rolled to determine the order of the deal. The tiles are then dealt four at a time to each hand.

Gee Joon, (tiles 1/2 and 2/4) is the highest hand followed by 11 matched pairs ranked from highest to lowest. After pairs, the next best hand is a nine count, followed by eight and so on.

To play the games, hands are set to have a high and low hand. To win, both hands must win. Once each player has set his hand, the house exposes its tiles and compares the hand to each player.