It is way more complicated than regular Pai Gow, as the complexities of maximizing 3 hands is far greater than the binary thoughts of pai gow. You win if 2 or 3 of your hands beat the dealer, you lose if 2 or 3 of your hands lose to the dealer. There is no commission, but the house wins on copy hands. There seem to be far less copy hands than one would expect. An example of the complexity would be the following-- A A K 8 6 4 3 is played as follows A 8 4 3 A 6 K. It is far stronger way to play than keeping the aces together in the high hand. When to keep flushes or straights together or split them is also more complicated, and I believe that house ways are weak enough to take advantage of. The house ways focus on 'pushing' the highest cards to the low hand, if possible, at the expense of the higher hands. Of course there are times (most) where this makes perfect sense, but I saw one particular example where the dealer had to play a Q 9 in the middle hand instead of a Q 8 at the expense of a straght in her high hand. Anyway, at Paris yesterday, I sat down and started playing $20 Asia Poker. The dealer would often misset her hand, and of course, when it would affect me negatively I would just point it out, and if positevly I would remain mum. Even the sub dealers, who were better than the main one, were weak. I made 400 in slightly less than 3 hours. I returned to the Rio, and though the dealers were far better, there were enough 'corrections' I could make that I believe turned the game into a positive EV game. I played for a few more hours ($25 table) and left up 300 more. Anyway, having read the Wiz's take on Pai Gow Poker and Pai Gow tiles, I think that Mr. Wiz would LOVE figuring out the nuances of Asia Poker. I may sell an "Asia Poker Investment Strategy"....... Ok, I couldn't resist.
I think I've seen it as Venetian and/or Palazzo.
Yes, I commented the other day that Venetian got rid of their Pai Gow tiles table. Replaced it with at least one Asia Poker table. I'm pretty sure that I also saw Asia Poker at Paris and Harrah's.
The house edge is ridiculously high and it's a terrible game.
4.82% per WoO, that is pretty bad for a main game HE with a more sophisticated strategic decision process. I wonder how bad the average player's mistakes make the HE (e.g. I don't think players would naturally split high pairs)?
Its at Gold Coast and Paris from my last trip. I find the house edge can be lessened substantially with weak dealers, which are pretty common. I have played many times where I am sure it was positive EV.
Bally/SHFL bought the distribution rights this last year, and they are aggressively placing tables. I don't know what the sidebet is they're selling, but IMO the sidebet Paris had was very good. I think you're going to see it in a lot of houses to start, but dealer errors might make it crest this year and then get uninstalled most places. It's a VERY hard game to play correctly. I'm sure I still make mistakes. But I love it. FWIW, I ended up slightly negative overall in my CET play for all of last year; all games positive for me and at all houses, except a gross loss learning this game at Paris made me net down for the year. So proceed with caution; tuition is very expensive.
As far as strategy is concerned; when you have a choice, I suggest you make the 1 card and 2 card hands as strong as possible even at the expense of the back hand being weak. Do whatever you can to put a pair in the middle. There are a lot of times when it's wise to split Aces, so you have a small pair in the back, Ax and A on the other two hands, especially if you happen to know the other players have most of the other aces. It's been several months since I played, so I'm trying to remember where the holes are in the House Way, but there are some you can exploit, as you already know.
At Paris (which has been dealing this game for close to 10 years), the midshift dealers (8pm-4am) are extremely strong on House Way and setting hands correctly for the most part (there was one new to it that wasn't). Day shift is absolutely weak and exploitable last I saw. Also frustratingly slow.