Poll

8 votes (72.72%)
No votes (0%)
No votes (0%)
1 vote (9.09%)
No votes (0%)
1 vote (9.09%)
No votes (0%)
No votes (0%)
1 vote (9.09%)
1 vote (9.09%)

11 members have voted

Wizard
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Wizard
Joined: Oct 14, 2009
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October 23rd, 2017 at 10:18:38 PM permalink
I know we're already talking about pai gow in the thread LET'S TALK ABOUT PAI GOW, but I think this deserves a new thread.

As many of you know, I've made pai gow (tiles) a special calling of mine. However, as much time as I have spent analyzing and playing the game, I never put into writing a strategy I was really happy with. I feel my Wizard Way is quite effective, but difficult to memorize. When JB published two strategies, I thought pai gow had been pretty well covered. However, I've been back in a pai gow mood lately and wanted to come up with a strategy put in a way I tend to think of the game. In particular, I wanted to mention specific tiles, like the high 6, as little as possible, and rely more on general rules of thumb.

Although I've only been working on this the last week, a huge amount of work by JB went into a spreadsheet created showing the expected value of every way to play every hand. This proved invaluable to testing different strategies to find something that balanced simplicity and effectiveness.

Anyway, enough introduction. Please have a look at my new Wizard Basic Strategy for pai gow. I think it is pretty short, easily memorized, and with a cost of errors of only 0.29%, which for pai gow ain't bad.

The question for the poll is what do you think of the strategy?
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
Neutrino
Neutrino
Joined: Feb 20, 2014
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October 24th, 2017 at 1:12:44 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard

The question for the poll is what do you think of the strategy?



I think Pai Gow is a stupid game because the house edge is too high, and dealer takes stupid commissions, and no REAL strategy to speak of and most importantly no way to beat the house
BleedingChipsSlowly
BleedingChipsSlowly
Joined: Jul 9, 2010
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October 24th, 2017 at 2:02:02 AM permalink
Quote: Neutrino

I think Pai Gow is a stupid game because the house edge is too high...

If 1.6% is too high, I guess you will be playing only craps and blackjack.

Quote: Neutrino

... and dealer takes stupid commissions...

I’m with ya! The bastards! If they did away with that commission we could bank with a 4.97% edge for us!

Quote: Neutrino

... [there is] no REAL strategy to speak of...

Read the OP again. I think a strategy is mentioned somewhere that seems “real” in that is designed for a particular purpose, ease of use, and backed up by rigorous analysis.

Quote: Neutrino

... most importantly [there is] no way to beat the house

A lot of casino games have that trait.
“You don’t bring a bone saw to a negotiation.” - Robert Jordan, former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia
BleedingChipsSlowly
BleedingChipsSlowly
Joined: Jul 9, 2010
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October 24th, 2017 at 2:08:45 AM permalink
Well done! Thanks for creating the strategy. I will give it a try.
“You don’t bring a bone saw to a negotiation.” - Robert Jordan, former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia
toastcmu
toastcmu
Joined: Nov 11, 2009
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October 24th, 2017 at 4:14:03 AM permalink
Looks great - there is a typo where you refer to a song as a gong. Can't have two gongs with different point values.
ThatDonGuy
ThatDonGuy
Joined: Jun 22, 2011
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October 24th, 2017 at 5:49:47 AM permalink
Question: what rules are used for setting the dealer's hand when calculating the returns? It would be useful information to somebody who wonders how the numbers were calculated.
PapaChubby
PapaChubby
Joined: Mar 29, 2010
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October 24th, 2017 at 7:18:10 AM permalink
Thanks for your efforts on this (and everything you do on this site). One of the things I love about pai gow is that it is an ancient game, yet it is still possible to have legitimate disagreements about strategy. I can barely imagine how challenging it would be to develop a simple strategy which correctly addresses most conditions.

That being said, here are a few topics for discussion...

As I mentioned in the other thread, I used to employ your strategy number 3. Until I discovered that it was a major leak in my game (by practicing using your calculator, thank you very much). I have now begun playing hands like 4-8-10-12 as 6/8 instead of 4/Gong. It seemed to me that this was saving me several tenths of a percent in edge, but your analysis indicates it cannot help more than 0.127%, and I trust your math. Still, perhaps a fairly simple exception to this rule could significantly decrease this error?

In contrast, rule 4 seems very complicated to me, given the frequency of occurrence and cost of errors. My (poor) strategy for these conditions is something like: "Do what seems right. If it seems too close to call, it probably doesn't matter much what you do. Kinda like hitting a 16 against a 10 in blackjack." I would certainly like a better strategy than this, but I'm not sure I can understand or remember your rule 4. How about something like: "13 or less, maximize the high. 14 or more, maximize the low." Maybe add: "Never play high-8 in a gong." How much would that really cost?

Finally, I'm still trying to work out your rule 2, bullet 3. Off the top of my head, I'm thinking of several circumstances where this is not advantageous (if I'm understanding correctly). I assume this is part of the challenge of drawing a line in the sand, and this rule provides more good than harm. Still, I'm not gonna split 6's.

Thanks again for your efforts. This is an interesting adventure.
Wizard
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Wizard
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October 24th, 2017 at 8:02:45 AM permalink
Thanks for all the comments thus far.

Quote: ThatDonGuy

Question: what rules are used for setting the dealer's hand when calculating the returns? It would be useful information to somebody who wonders how the numbers were calculated.



JB could answer this better but he uses the traditional rules that most casinos follow. When in doubt, I think he favors the Foxwoods house way. All the house ways are pretty similar.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
jmills
jmills
Joined: Sep 16, 2014
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October 24th, 2017 at 12:38:25 PM permalink
Thanks for this. Pai gow is quickly becoming my favorite game. I'm looking forward to the time when I'm not the one stupidly looking at their tiles while everyone else has theirs set.
Canyonero
Canyonero
Joined: Nov 19, 2012
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October 24th, 2017 at 1:39:39 PM permalink
I don't quite understand the numbers in the player banking analysis. The table shows a positive return for the basic strategy, which is actually negative because the player is banking? This might need further explanation...

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