Panguingue and other fading games
|August 7th, 2012 at 3:28:57 PM permalink|
Member since: Jun 12, 2011
I was shopping online for casino supply and found a site based in East Asia that had some felts for Pai Gow tiles that I was really interested in. They had a lot of great equipment for tiles, actually, but the other games that they offered equipment for were somewhat limited -- Baccarat, Keno, and something called Panguingue, which I don't recall having heard of before. Looking at pictures of the Panguingue equipment only confused me further, since the equipment involved looked nothing like anything I'd seen for any other game, and so my first instinct was to search here. Nothing came up, though, so I thought I'd start a thread.
Cards are dealt from a swivelling tray called a dradel:
Five or six decks are used, minus the eights, nines, tens, and jokers; each player gets ten cards to make hands of three or four cards called "melds" from. Melds can be three of a kind or straight, and must be suited unless formed of Aces or Kings. Sounds like a rummy variant of some sort. The Wikipedia article explains the rules somewhat, but not in a manner that would seem to apply to a casino environment, and if there's a source of HE I'm not seeing it. Being unfamiliar with the game, I was curious as to whether anyone was familiar with it, had played it, or had seen it offered anywhere.
Here is a game in progress. I am hoping that the girl sitting on the table is not someone's bet. Or maybe the guy in white is the cashier and she's on deposit at the cage.
So the idea of this once having been available in Las Vegas but all but gone today reminded me of other casino games that you don't see any more:
- Faro. The only source of HE was doublets; a casino executive said that any other game in the same space would make more money, and the last few tables in Nevada disappeared in the 1980s.
- Trente et Quarante. Extremely difficult for players to comprehend the rules and very little source of HE. Hands take much longer to deal than Baccarat hands without providing significantly more betting options.
- Fan Tan. Only profit for the house comes from paying off at less than true odds; very easy for players to get the impression that the dealer is cheating, especially in electronic versions.
- Hazard. They say that Craps overtook it in popularity in the Nineteenth Century, but I feel like it evolved into the current version of Sic bo, myself.
- Chuck-a-Luck/Birdcage. Like Hazard but with Keno equipment; again, I think this is in Sic bo today. Some of the same bets and payouts as in Sic bo. Of course, I've also seen it suggested that it could be the other way around -- Hazard and Chuck-a-Luck evolved from Sic bo (presumably Crown and Anchor would be a Yee Hah Hi derivative). The other way around makes more sense to me, and the Chinese have a long and well-established history of backing up the ages of games for nationalist reasons. Why are gambling games so poorly documented?
And that got me thinking about games that seem to be fading out, or that are at least very hard to find, if you can find them at all.
- Big table Baccarat. Places are taking their big tables out. The LV Hilton's Baccarat Room has only midi and mini-Bacc. My game of choice, unfortunately.
- Pai Gow tiles. Now hear me out on this. I am one-quarter Chinese and was born in British Hong Kong. I saw somebody say that the Chinese think of Pai Gow the way Americans think of Checkers, and I think that's exactly right. Pai Gow is what old men on the porch play when a movie director wants to make things look rustic. It's a game that families play at parties if and only if the grandparents turn up. There are surprisingly few Pai Gow tables in Macau casinos, from what I've heard (also, in East Asia Pai Gow is played without looking at the tiles). I *love* Pai Gow (also Tien Gow, another Chinese domino game that's more like Bridge), but have always had trouble finding good games, in LV or AC. I personally like that it tends to be offered at higher limits, but could see this fact being a turn-off to potential players who might otherwise find the game interesting. Oh, then there's that learning curve.
- Sic bo. Another one of my favorite games. James Bond played it in a movie back in the 1970s but nobody remembers. The first time that I played it was at NYNY in Las Vegas about ten years ago, and I was told at the time that they were the only place in Vegas that offered it. It's still really hard to find. I played at the Trop and Bally's in AC last year. Delighted to see from JB's excellent Foxwoods review that there are two tables there, which I'm currently drooling to check out. I've never seen the variant Tai Sai offered anywhere that I've been (I talked about Tai Sai a little in this post; Wizard has odds for the additional bets on his Sic bo page, in the Macau rules section). It plays a lot like Roulette, but with greater variance. I like holding my breath while waiting for the dome to be uncovered (like bending the cards at Baccarat), and I really like the idea of being able to bet on dice that have already been rolled -- never heard of any other game like that).
Two years ago I would have put Sigma Derby on that list, but it seems to be making a minor comeback. Twelve years ago it seemed like every casino in Las Vegas had it. Last year there was one. Now there are more. Never would have guessed!
I'd love to check out that casino Backgammon game that the Wizard tried. Looked fascinating. I think they were just doing a trial run at one place at the time; haven't heard anything since.
Anyway, if you're still with me, thanks for reading such a long and rambling post. Any games that you've been noticing offered less than you'd like to see?
|August 7th, 2012 at 4:55:08 PM permalink|
Member since: Nov 14, 2009
I wouldn't lose hope for Pai Gow. It is available at every casino in Atlantic City (except Revel; get with the program, Revel!), and most Strip casinos plus a few others. I swear that about 30% of the people that play are white people. I'm sure it used to be 100% Asian. The Wizard had something to do with that. I will say that in A.C. it is 95% Asian. Most of the whities I've played with in Vegas. Younger people too.
"Dice, verily, are armed with goads and driving-hooks, deceiving and tormenting, causing grievous woe." ― Rig Veda 10.34.7
|August 7th, 2012 at 5:37:11 PM permalink|
Member since: Nov 17, 2009
I did see "Pan" played at the Plaza poker area a few years ago (before the recent remodel). The players sat around the "shoe" (what you refer to as a "dradel") and took turns drawing cards with, what looked like the eraser end of a long pencil. As it was described to me, the object of the game was to get a score of 9, so I assumed it was similar to baccarat. However, from your description it sounds alot like a rummy type game I know as "Canasta".
What about "Mahjong" (sp?) I always here that it is a backroom gambling den game, and I see it all the time in movies, but I haven't heard of any casino offering a player vs. house version. I think there may be an opportunity here...
I am the 16.67%
|August 7th, 2012 at 6:58:07 PM permalink|
Member since: Feb 24, 2011
What about Sic Bo using a pai gow dice cup/three dice that the casino actually let players shake? Of course I think they would have to have shaken it before offering it to you and the dealer would likely be the one to "reveal" the dice roll. Wonder if that would spice up Sic Bo so that players actually thought they had a sense of control, like in craps. It would need something like that to gain some more acceptace in the US. If you go the word out that the house edge was less than 3% on Big & Little, seems like it is a better game than Roulette.
Seems like if you put the "dice in their hands", US players will play a game more. What was that game at Turning Stone? Beat The Dealer? Simple dice game with horrible odds as I recall, but had a crowd at the table at least early on.....wonder if it is still doing well.
There needs to be more dice games on the floor! They are quite effective at eliminating card counting & hole carding in a game. Course there is always that dice control that the crap dealers are always battling ;-)......those dice are more difficult to set inside the cup!
Attempting to add value one post at a time
|August 8th, 2012 at 3:43:36 PM permalink|
Member since: Jun 12, 2011
I love seeing a new demographic starting to pick up Pai Gow, with its declining popularity among its target market.
There are Mahjong games after hours at Chinese restaurants in every city in the US. That's probably a huge amount of money. It is even more complex and harder to learn than Pai Gow, and moves kind of slowly. I could see it making a great casino game. You could get that asthetic that you see in Asian gangster movies with high-stakes Mahjong games. I bet a lot more people already know how to play Mahjong than Pai Gow.
I kind of vaguely remember news stories a few years back about a major Mahjong tournament in LV, but I just Googled and didn't see anything so maybe I'm misremembering.
Some Sic bo tables allow for this! Some of them have a feature called a bash button. After the dice have been covered, and after the dealer has pressed the button to shake them, you also have a button in front of you that you can hit as hard or as many times as you want to shake the dice up some more. Here's an electronic table (with real dice) that includes the feature.
As far as Sic bo with a dice cup, that's how it's played informally in China and Southeast Asia. There are some benefits to the casino in addition to allowing the players to participate more directly. If you're using Pai Gow dice and cup, it would already be approved gaming equipment. You already have dice and cups on the floor and you don't need the dome aspect of the table at all. (You'd probably still want a table with a layout that lit up, though, which might cost more as a custom order than a prefabricated Sic bo table with dome if you're only wanting one or two tables.)
The only thing that keeps me from bringing that up in Roulette threads is certainty that the reply will be pointing out that every other possible bet is Sic bo has a steeper HE than any bet in Roulette. But, if you're only playing the even money bets in Roulette (which many players do), Sic bo would absolutely be a better bet. Plus, the layout lights up, which is fun (well, I think it's fun).
|August 8th, 2012 at 3:47:54 PM permalink|
Member since: Nov 17, 2009
One game I don't see anymore is five card draw poker (Hi or Low versions). I guess having players exchange their cards introduces too many security problems.
I am the 16.67%