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Wizard
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Wizard
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February 8th, 2016 at 8:42:09 PM permalink
I was reading a help file for pai gow poker the other day and it said:

Quote:

Pai Gow originated in the 1800's during the construction of the railroad when the Chinese domino game Gai Gow was combined with American poker.

Your can find this sentence copied and pasted at lots of affiliate sites, but I have no idea who was the original source. Here are some of them:

http://www.yopig.ag/?p=/online_casino/guide_pai_gow/
http://hrwager.com/online-casino/pai-gow-poker/
http://www.horseracingbetting.com/casino/fortuna/pai-gow-poker.php
https://www.acesportsbook.com/vegas-casino/how-to-play/
http://www.bookmaker.eu/casino-rules

This took me quite by surprise as I thought it was invented in Los Angeles in the 1980's.

Here is what Wikipedia says:

Quote: Wikpedia

In addition to being a games inventor, Fred Wolf was the casino manager of the Commerce Casino in the early 1980s. Fred Wolf decided to sublet a third of the casino floor space of the Bell Club, in the city of Bell, California, to introduce his new Super Pan-9 game. Fred Wolf needed to innovate new gaming structures in order to overcome the competition of the larger Los Angeles area card casinos, such as the Bicycle Club and Commerce Casino. The games of Pai Gow Poker and Super Pan-9 became immediate crowd favorites, quickly spreading to the entire Californian gaming market, and then, worldwide.



My understanding was similar, but it wasn't Fred Wolf but Sam Torosian who invented it. This version is what I've said on my Pai Gow Poker page for years, using this article as a source: Casino Boss Can't Cash In on Game He Developed (Nov 3, 2002 Los Angeles Times).

Can anybody provide any evidence to help clear up the muddy waters surrounding this game?

The question for the poll is who do you think invented Pai Gow Poker?
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
Paigowdan
Paigowdan
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February 8th, 2016 at 9:11:49 PM permalink
It was Sam Torosian, who invented it for his Los Angeles card club, The Bell Club in the mid 1980's. He tried to patent it, but was given horrible legal advice that card games were not patentable then. Actually, this was in the Golden period for patenting casino card games, before Bilsky, when card games were easily patentable. Bad legal advice is alleged to have cost him him about $90M if he HAD patented Pai Gow Poker.

About ten years later, perhaps a little less, a Casino executive named William "Billy Woo" Walsh came up with a house-banked version with a 5% commission, where he also incredulously left in occasional player banking as a legacy feature. THIS became the Casino Pai Gow Poker game, which Shuffle Master "proprietized" with a side bet and a 7-card packet shuffler machine deal, and Galaxy offered with a Pai Gow insurance bet.


.
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beachbumbabs
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beachbumbabs
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February 8th, 2016 at 9:20:17 PM permalink
I think I took your version (Torosian) as the correct one (think I read it there first) in looking at my gaming literature, and have seen it that way at least 2 other places. I thought Eliot's CCTGDesign was one, but he gives joint credit (with no patent) to Wolf and Torosian. There's a detailed version featuring Torosian as the sad center of the story somewhere, but haven't found it yet. Maybe I'm recalling the LATimes article, but I don't think so; might be archives of Casino Gaming or Casino Journal mags.
If the House lost every hand, they wouldn't deal the game.
Rigondeaux
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February 8th, 2016 at 9:23:39 PM permalink
It seems to me that the first example refers to pg tiles.
Paigowdan
Paigowdan
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February 8th, 2016 at 9:26:37 PM permalink
No, all examples and discussion here in this thread refer to Pai Gow poker, played with cards using poker-based hands. There may have been early versions of card based PGP. I doubt American poker players in the American West were playing Asian tiles with domino like tiles,
Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes - Henry David Thoreau. Like Dealers' uniforms - Dan.
Wizard
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Wizard
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February 8th, 2016 at 10:02:58 PM permalink
Quote: beachbumbabs

I thought Eliot's CCTGDesign was one, but he gives joint credit (with no patent) to Wolf and Torosian.



What did Wolf have to do with it?
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
jml24
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February 9th, 2016 at 9:14:56 AM permalink
Maybe some of the confusion is with the history of Chinese poker. I am not clear on that but I always assumed that Pai Gow Poker was a derivative of Chinese poker. Obviously standard Chinese poker is not practical for card rooms due to the max of four players. Dropping the hands to 7 cards solves that problem. Then the addition of a commission makes it practical as a house-banked game.
Gabes22
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February 9th, 2016 at 9:45:01 AM permalink
My guess is it is probably a combination of the above depending on how you wish to view the term invented. I am sure Chinese immigrants who worked with Americans on the railroad, found a way to combine favorite games from their geographic areas, Pai Gow from China and Poker from America. However, the version you and I play which is designed for casino play probably was invented and patented in the 1980s like you stated above. Perhaps the game invented on the railroad provided the inspiration for the casino game, but I doubt it was played in the same fashion as the game today is played
A flute with no holes is not a flute, a donut with no holes is a danish
Paigowdan
Paigowdan
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February 9th, 2016 at 9:51:02 AM permalink
I give credit to Sam Torosian for the 7-card Card room version of Pai Gow Poker,

and to Billy Walsh for the standard house banked 5% commission + house way version.

For the record, standard craps was invented/codified by a John H. Winn (an East coast gambling hall equipment supplier) around 1910 to replace Hazard, according to John Scarne.
Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes - Henry David Thoreau. Like Dealers' uniforms - Dan.
Wizard
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Wizard
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February 9th, 2016 at 11:27:17 AM permalink
Quote: Paigowdan

For the record, standard craps was invented/codified by a John H. Winn



Any relation to Steve Wynn?
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.

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