What is Pai Gow Poker?

Pai Gow Poker is a low-risk variant of poker, loosely based on the traditional Chinese domino gambling game known as Pai Gow. Pai Gow Poker is played with a 53-card deck, including a joker, which can be used to complete a straight or a flush or, failing that, as an ace. Each player places one, and only one, bet on each hand, subject to table limits, and all the players plat against the same banker, or dealer, hand. Each player is dealt seven cards and must form two hands; a five-card hand, known as the back, big or high hand and a two-card hand, known as the front, small or low hand. Obviously, the only possibilities for the two-card hand are a pair or a high card and the high hand must outrank the low hand, according to standard poker rules.

The object of Pai Gow Poker is to beat the banker on both the high and low hands. If a player does so, he or she has a winning bet at even money, less 5% commission. If a player wins one hand and loses the other, his or her bet pushes and, if he or she loses and/or ties both hands, his or her bet loses. One of the oddities of Pai Gow poker is that, while standard poker rules apply for the most part, the ace-low, or ‘Wheel’, straight is the highest, rather than the lowest, possible straight.

What is a sucker bet?

A sucker bet is a bet that overwhelmingly favours the casino – that is, a bet with a huge house advantage, or house edge – by offering odds that are significantly lower than the true, mathematical odds of winning. Sucker bets are often created to fool, or hoodwink, inexperienced players into betting against the odds, although experienced players are often just as bad at evaluating true odds. In a single coin toss, the odds of heads or tails are, of course, even money, or 1/1, but in ten tosses of the same coin, the odds of five heads and five tails are 5/2 against, as counter-intuitive as it may seem.

Blackjack, for example, generally offers a house edge of 0.28%, but even something as apparently innocuous as taking ‘insurance’ against the dealer having blackjack when his upcard is an ace adds up to 7% to the house edge. Craps, too, offers ‘don’t pass/don’t come’ bets with a house edge of 1.36% and ‘pass/come’ bets with a house edge of 1.41%, but anyone bold, or foolhardy, enough to bet on ‘any seven’, with a house edge of 16.67%, has fallen victim to a sucker bet. Worse still is keno, which requires little thought or involvement, but is, nonetheless, an uncomplicated, relaxed form of gambling. Keno players may be less relaxed to learn that, at best, they are giving away a 25% edge to the house and, at worst, an eyewatering 29%.

What is Big Six? How does it compare to roulette and slots?

Big Six, also known Big Six Wheel or Wheel of Fortune, is a popular casino game, that draws the crowd. It’s especially popular in Las Vegas, or crazyvegas as I like to call it. It involves a vertical wheel, six feet in diameter, divided into 54 equal segments. Typically, 52 of the 54 segments are marked with numbers representing dollar amounts – usually $1, $2, $5, $10 and $20 – while the remaining two are marked with a joker and a casino logo. Each segment is separated from the next by spokes which, by means of frictional interaction with stationary ‘clapper’, made of leather or rubber, at the top of the wheel, bring the wheel to a halt at the end of each spin.

Fairly obviously, the idea of the game is for players to predict on which, of the six possible segments, the clapper, or stopper, will fall.The payout odds, probabilities and house edge vary slightly from one version of Big Six to another across the globe but, under Las Vegas rules, odds range from even money, or 1/1, for the $1 segment to 40/1 for one of the logo segments. Unsurprisingly, the probability of winning ranges from 44.44% to 1.85% and the house edge – which, at best, is one of the highest to be found in casino games – ranges from 11.11% to 24.07%. To put those figures in perspective, the probability of winning a bet on a joker or logo segment on Big Six is less than that of making three of kind in a hand of poker.

There are obvious parallels to roulette (spinning, numbers), but at the same time it’s also rather surprisingly popular with the slots crowd. Slots – or pokies as they are known in some areas of the world such as New Zealand and Australia – offer the same anticipation of a win, but arguably much more variation with a game Like Big Six. The various pokies machine at online pokies australia and the like, have countless differing themes, prizes and features. Free spins and other such offers are also available when playing online, and so there is often the potential to win with less of a downside to consider.

Which countries gamble the most?

The former Portuguese colony of Macau, or Macao, is the only part of the People’s Republic of China in which casino gambling is legal. Nevertheless, while gross gambling revenues in Macau fell 5%, year-on-year, in January, 2019 to $3.1 billion, according to government figures, the fall was the first for two-and-a-half years. Known as the ‘Vegas of the East’, Macau is the most densely populated region in the world and its burgeoning gambling economy is a shining example of what can happen when a huge, increasingly wealthy population is exposed to legalised gambling.

Even in countries not always associated with being gambling such as New Zealand spent the equivalent of $648 each on gambling in 2018. $895m in total was spent on pokies (slots). Growth in online betting contributes heavily with the likes of newzealandcasinos.io drawing in those interested in winning big.

The United States is, of course, home to the City of Las Vegas, Nevada, which is billed as the ‘Entertainment Capital of the World’ and attracted over 42 million visitors. In the U.S. as a whole, gambling revenues are invariably in excess of $150 billion, with pari-mutuel, legal bookmaking and lottery revenues the major contributors. Several gambling and sports betting regulations have been relaxed and sports betting is legal and making a comeback, so gambling revenues are only likely to increase in years to come. This is nicely complemented with with the best us sports betting sites, where people can ‘chance their arm’ in the comfort of their own home. Gambling on MMA, Boxing, soccer and the like is all the rage!

The United Kingdom has a fraction of the population of China or the United States and British casinos – of which there are apparently 152, according to the latest figures from the Gambling Commission – are ‘small beer’ compared with those in, say, Las Vegas or Macau. Nevertheless, the minimum legal to gamble in Britain is 18, as opposed to 21 for Macau residents and residents and foreigners in many U.S. states and Britons invest heavily on lotteries, sports betting, poker and other gambling activities. According to the Gambling Commission, the total gross gambling yield for the industry as a whole, in the year ending September, 2018, was a respectable £14.5 billion.

 

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