bigfoot66
bigfoot66
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July 12th, 2014 at 9:46:25 AM permalink
I was playing Pai Gow Poker at an Indian casino and recieved a hand of Kings and Queens and was counting my winnnings in my head. And then the dealer flipped over TTTJK*A (no flush possibility). She set her hand as TTTKJ, A*. I asked to see the house way since I thought that TJ*KA, TT would be a better play and I had a financial interest in the outcome. They showed me the house way and it did not clearly address this hand. They ended up taking my money and giving me double my bet in non-negotiable chips so that the game could continue, which was ok. There was a pow wow in the pit with 4+ suits about how to set the hand and it lasted well over half an hour. They decided that TTTJK/A* was the proper way to set it and would change the house way as such. If you ask me they should just add the line: If a hand may be played as a straight with a pair on top or trips with a pair on top, play the way that makes the stronger top.

How would you set the hand if dealt it?

We asked a number of players and dealers and the TTTJK/A* seemed to win our nonscientific poll by about 3:2.
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boymimbo
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July 12th, 2014 at 9:53:11 AM permalink
Trump Plaza HW according to Wizard of Odds:

Straights, flushes, straight flushes, and royal flush:
...
•With full house: Use full house rule.

-----
Golden Nugget:

Straights, flushes, straight flushes, and royal flushes: Always play straight or flush in the high hand except play as a two pairif one of the following:•Any two pair and an ace singleton.
•Pair of jacks and pair of 6's.
•Pair of aces and any other pair.
With a six or seven card straight or flush put the highest hand possible in frontwhile maintaining the straight or flush in back. Play staight or flush over straight flush to improve front hand to jack or better. Play staight or flush over royal flush to improve front hand to king or better.

-----
Foxwoods:

•Straight, Flush, Straight Flush:
With No Pair: Place the two highest cards in front that will leave any complete hand in back.
With One Pair: Place highest possible two cards (pair or no pair) in front that will leave any complete hand in back.
Exception: With an Ace and a pair of Kings, Queens, Jacks or 10s, play the Ace in front and pair in back if front hand can be improved.
With Two Pair: Play according to two-pair strategy.
With Three of a Kind: Place complete hand in back, pair in front.
•Full House: Put highest permissible pair in front.


------

Full house always better way to play. They would play two pair rule anyway, that is if the hand was TT8JK*A, they would play it AA TT.
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bigfoot66
bigfoot66
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July 12th, 2014 at 10:02:40 AM permalink
Quote: boymimbo

Full house always better way to play. They would play two pair rule anyway, that is if the hand was TT8JK*A, they would play it AA TT.



I can make an argument that the pair rule doesn't really apply here. A) The two pair rule says to sacrifice a straight in order to put a pair on the top. In this case you can keep the straight and still have a pair on top. B) There are not , technically, 2 pairs in the hand.

Its also not clear that the full house is always a better play. My gut tells me that the difference between TT and AA on the top is very small. However the difference between middle trips and the highest straight could be more significant. Keep in mind that, in Pai Gow, it is easier to make a straight than trips.

A possible counterargument is that it is impossible to have this hand without the joker, so removing the joker from the pack makes it a lot less likely that someone else will have a straight.
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Wizard
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July 12th, 2014 at 11:18:00 AM permalink
I hope PaiGowDan finds this thread. Meanwhile, my interpretation of the various house ways is that you go by the highest possible five-card poker hand you can make. In this case a full house, so follow the full house rule, and play the pair of tens aces in the low.
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98Clubs
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July 12th, 2014 at 11:30:41 AM permalink
Quote: bigfoot66

I was playing Pai Gow Poker at an Indian casino and recieved a hand of Kings and Queens and was counting my winnnings in my head. And then the dealer flipped over TTTJK*A (no flush possibility). She set her hand as TTTKJ, A*. I asked to see the house way since I thought that TJ*KA, TT would be a better play and I had a financial interest in the outcome. They showed me the house way and it did not clearly address this hand. They ended up taking my money and giving me double my bet in non-negotiable chips so that the game could continue, which was ok. There was a pow wow in the pit with 4+ suits about how to set the hand and it lasted well over half an hour. They decided that TTTJK/A* was the proper way to set it and would change the house way as such. If you ask me they should just add the line: If a hand may be played as a straight with a pair on top or trips with a pair on top, play the way that makes the stronger top.

How would you set the hand if dealt it?

We asked a number of players and dealers and the TTTJK/A* seemed to win our nonscientific poll by about 3:2.



Given no clear rules its a Full House (w/ Aces in the 2-card hand: it out ranks the Straight as other possible hand). House played corectly. Had there been clear indication of the play, then I side with the House Way as printed. As it stands by your account, they had wiggle room and played the best poker-hand ranking.

Upon lookup at WoO appendix 1... TTTxy/AA scores as EV=+0.875. AKQJT/TT scores as EV=+0.877 0.919. EDITED
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Deucekies
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July 12th, 2014 at 11:54:17 AM permalink
When it comes to house ways, the golden rule is Give Youself the Best Front Hand. Aces up.

As a player, I'd consider 10s up.
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bigfoot66
bigfoot66
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July 12th, 2014 at 12:03:18 PM permalink
Quote: 98Clubs

Upon lookup at WoO appendix 1... TTTxy/AA scores as EV=+0.875. AKQJT/TT scores as EV=+0.877.



Aha! I knew that the straight was a better hand.
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bigfoot66
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July 12th, 2014 at 12:09:52 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard

I hope PaiGowDan finds this thread. Meanwhile, my interpretation of the various house ways is that you go by the highest possible five-card poker hand you can make. In this case a full house, so follow the full house rule, and play the pair of tens in the low.



I think you mean play the aces in the low.
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Paigowdan
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July 12th, 2014 at 3:35:18 PM permalink
Quote: bigfoot66

I was playing Pai Gow Poker at an Indian casino and recieved a hand of Kings and Queens and was counting my winnnings in my head. And then the dealer flipped over TTTJK*A (no flush possibility). She set her hand as TTTKJ, A*. I asked to see the house way since I thought that TJ*KA, TT would be a better play and I had a financial interest in the outcome. They showed me the house way and it did not clearly address this hand. They ended up taking my money and giving me double my bet in non-negotiable chips so that the game could continue, which was ok. There was a pow wow in the pit with 4+ suits about how to set the hand and it lasted well over half an hour. They decided that TTTJK/A* was the proper way to set it and would change the house way as such. If you ask me they should just add the line: If a hand may be played as a straight with a pair on top or trips with a pair on top, play the way that makes the stronger top.

How would you set the hand if dealt it?

We asked a number of players and dealers and the TTTJK/A* seemed to win our nonscientific poll by about 3:2.



Here's something scientific:
1. The correct set of the Broadway Straight with a pair of 10's has an EV of +85.03% - versus 81.57% for the incorrect and lesser split full house setting, which is really trips plus a pair as it is set in PGP.

2. If the house way does NOT compare or break out cut-off the points between two settings of trips or better, - both having a pair up - the default "correct" setting is the strongest high side hand that maintains any pair on the low side. Notice that with both a straight and a flush, the strongest low side is chosen between the two because it has to be specifically spelled out to be played. This is because otherwise it will default to the strongest high hand between the two choices unless detailed otherwise. Trips with a pair (a split full house) versus a straight or better with a pair is the highest hand with a pair, unless detailed. Now, the pit bosses excuse is to treat it like a full house because that is mentioned in the house way, - but the hand is really "trips + Pair" versus "straight + pair", because that is really the final hand setting comparison.

3. A "pow wow of suits discussing something" in a card room pit is consistently a Kangaroo Kourt, a coin flip among clowns, and this was indeed the case. The approach is consistently about paying everyone off with a buffet comp or some promo chips and moving on, as opposed to spending resources on dealer training and game analysis to get it right.

4. Now, they can still rightfully make the call as a full house to be split, as the house way did "trap" that hand set scenario as an officially defined item, while the straight with full house mixed in is an unaddressed/undefined item, and so was ignored. A better house way would have included straight or flush with pair as "always play if 9's or better" before hitting the full house handling, but house ways have to be simplistic to be processed by burnt out human dealers.
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Wizard
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July 12th, 2014 at 4:32:11 PM permalink
Quote: bigfoot66

I think you mean play the aces in the low.



Oops. Indeed I did. I owe ten push-ups for that.

I'd still be interested to know how to properly interpret a house way in writing. The Foxwoods house way is typical. It says how to play full house hands and straight hands, but which set of rules do you follow if you can play both?

Using my pai gow poker appendix 1, here is my casino EV of each play, assuming the dealer is banking:


High Low High PR Low PR Win Push Loss House EV
AQKJT TT 0.966111 0.952117 0.966111 0.032266 0.001623 0.964569
TTTKJ AA 0.874877 1 0.874877 0.125123 0 0.874877


PR = Power Rating = Probability of Winning
House EV = Pr(win) - 0.95*Pr(loss)

So, mathematically, playing it as a straight hand is better. However, I'd still like to know how casinos interpret their own house way rules in writing. One day a dispute like this is going to go to Gaming.

Quote: bigfoot66

I was playing Pai Gow Poker at an Indian casino ... There was a pow wow in the pit



I'll forgive you for the pun.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.

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