Harrah's has that basic strategy printed on the cards they have at their Tile table. It's a pretty handy card if you play there.
Another "rule of thumb" I heard from an old Chinese gentleman is if you still have no idea what to do, "push everything to the front, or push everything to the back." Basically, ignore balance and make either hand as strong as possible in hopes of a push. No idea how the math checks out on this; it's more or less an "emergency" strategy if you just get a brain cramp or something.
2. Yes, but sometimes there is a teen or day with more than one of 7, 8, and 9.
In this case, Harrah's recommends playing the lowest of the 7,8, or 9 first with the 2 or 12. That is, if you have 12 and 7, 9, x, play the 12 with the 7 and the 9 with x. Again, this is purely a basic, basic strategy and is not mathematically sound in all cases. Simply something to give you a decent hand and keep the game going.
Here's a cut and paste from another post of mine about banking, as well as some added information:
When I'm playing alone I bank as often as possible, which of course is every other hand. I also make sure to take my time setting up the tiles for delivery, and select a delivery style that is slightly more complex and will take a longer time to deal (e.g. Phoenix Tail, One Man Two Women, Ghost Closes the Door, etc.). Then when I'm setting my hand I won't just pick them up and look; rather I'll feel all the dots, set my hand blind, and THEN pick them up to double check before finalizing it. Sometime if I'm not sure of a hand I'll ask the dealer what the house way is, and this can lead to a minute or two discussion, especially if the dealer is a talker. All this time-wasting serves to slow down the game and help "eat into" the house edge, but I wouldn't do it if other players were at the table.
When other players are there, ESPECIALLY Asians (I'm white), you have to be careful when you bank because a lot of them are superstitious. Generally it's okay to bank after the dealer has had a huge win, otherwise the other players will either sit out the hand or try to talk you out of banking. Then everyone will go in together against the house, and the players' hand is usually divided up between two people to set. When the table is full of Asians, I usually just go along with whenever they decide to bank purely for etiquette reasons. If there's only one or two other people, I will ask them if they mind if I bank, but even then I won't do every other hand.
Now I will give a detailed description of a co-banking scenario:
At some point after the end of the last end, one person will indicate he wishes to bank. If the player has not specified, the dealer will ask him which spot he wishes the bank to be on. This can be any spot on the table, regardless of where the player sits. The dealer will place the chung (banker tile) on that spot. The dealer then goes around the table asking each player if he wishes to co-bank, and for how much money. There is some stipulation about how much you can bank based on your last hand, but I don't know what it is since I'm a flat bettor. The players do not have to put up any money at this point (nor even play) but I like to at least have the amount sitting in front of me (not in the betting circle) so there isn't any confusion. The dealer will assemble the chips from the chip tray totaling the amount of money wagered by the players and place it in front of him.
After the tiles have been shuffled and stacked (this usually happens before asking the players how much they're banking for), the dealer will push the woodpile over the the main banker who then may cut the tiles and set them up for delivery in a style he so chooses. There is usually a house-approved list of delivery styles, but I am told there are several pit bosses at Harrah's who will allow "outside" styles. The main banker also has the option to just tell the dealer what style he wants, and the dealer will set up the tiles in the appropriate manner.
After this is done the dealer will pick up the dice cup and shake the dice. He will then place the dice cup on the table and slide it over to the main banker, who will then pick up the dice cup and shake it again. One of the funnest parts of banking Pai Gow is slamming the dice cup on the table after you are done shaking it. I'm not sure how hard of a slam the house will tolerate; I've hit it pretty hard myself, and I once saw a high roller slam it so hard I thought he was going to crack the table. I am also not sure if other players are allowed to shake the dice in lieu of the main banker; I've only ever seen the main banker do it.
After the main banker has shaken the dice, the dealer lifts the cup and exposes the dice total. This indicates the spot that the first tiles are dealt to. The dealer will deal all of the tiles out, and place the aforementioned stack of chips on top of his tiles (this is usually done with the chung when the house is banking). The main banker takes the tiles dealt to the banking spot and the rest of the tiles are collected up by the dealer and set aside. At this point several things may happen...
The main banker can simply set the tiles as he wishes and be done with it. However, due to other people's money being on the line, this is usually not done for etiquette reasons. The main banker can also just flip over all the tiles and the banking players may collectively discuss how to set the hand. What usually happens, however, is that the main banker will give one or two tiles to another player to inspect. According to Harrah's, only one other player is allowed to receive tiles, but I have seen four players involved in this with permission from the house. Again, at this point, there are several things that may happen...
The main banker may give one tile to another player, and then looks at the three tiles remaining in his hand. He will set these tiles how he sees fit, or even just flip them over on the table, and then "ask" the player with the single tile for a specific tile, be it "low" or "high" or "teen" or whatever. Naturally the player with the single tile has no control over what tile he has received, but he has to make a show of trying to produced the requested for tile. This can involve rubbing the tile on the felt to "get rid of" bad or unwanted spots. This player most often will not look at the tile first, but rather feel it with his fingers to determine its ranking. He will then either flip it over and give it to the main banker, or ask for one of the three tiles the main banker has to set the hand.
Another option involves the main banker giving one tile to another player, keeping one tile for himself, and flipping over the remaining two tiles on the table. In this case main banker and the player may go through the process of rubbing the tile on the felt and feeling the tile before flipping it, in the hopes of getting a good tile. At this point, if there is an obvious choice, the player and main banker will each select one of the exposed tiles and put it with the tile in their hand. It is often not uncommon for the in-hand tiles to just be exposed and everyone collaborates as to what the best option would be.
A third option has the main banker giving two tiles to a player and keeping two for himself. The main banker and player will again go through the motions of rubbing and feeling the tiles, and if they have a good hand, so be it, or they might exchange a tile to make a better hand. Once the players have decided on what hands to play, it's not uncommon for the tiles to just remain exposed while the dealer sets his hand. He removes the stack of chips from his tiles and sets them according to the house way, and the hands are settled. If there's a push, obviously nothing happens. If the players win, they receive their winnings minus commission, and if they lose, only then do they actually have to produce the chips to pay the house.
As you can see, when there are multiple players at the table, banking becomes a very social, collective, and superstitious affair.