ArtooDetoo
Joined: Jan 9, 2012
• Threads: 8
• Posts: 33
January 9th, 2012 at 11:20:01 PM permalink
Hey guys, first of all, a big thank you to the Wizard for his amazing sites. Whenever I have questions about casino games, I always refer to his websites first.

I've been trying to learn Pai Gow recently, and have been using the advanced strategy with exceptions (http://wizardofodds.com/games/pai-gow-tiles/strategy/jb/advanced/), but have ran into a lot of problems when trying them out with the Pai Gow game provided. I'm not sure if these are because the game is using more optimal strategy than the JB strategy, or because I'm actually misinterpreting a lot of these rules. Sorry for this relatively newbie question, but these are some examples of my incompetence:

1) H4, L10, 9, H8
The possibilities are 9/2, 8/3, and 7/4. I interpret that 9/2 would be the choice because there is a high 9 (play high 9 whenever possible), and it does not follow the exception (with 11 point hands where best low hand is 4, play 7/4 if any tile is a Gee) since there is no Gee. Yet, the correct play is 7/4 according to the calculator.

2) H7, 9, GJ, L10
The possibilities are 9/3, 7/5, and 6/6. Again, I interpret that 9/3 would be the choice because of the high 9, but 6/6 is the correct choice.

3) 11, GJ, H8, 2
The possibilities are Gong/7 and 9/8, and once again, I interpret 9/8 to be the choice since there is a high 9 and not a low 8 gong, since the gong is with a high 8. Yet, gong/7 is correct.

4) 5, GJ, L10, H10
This is more of a situation that I didn't find in the strategy. The correct play is clearly 6/5. GJ and 5 are the lowest ranking tiles here, so the rank of the high and low hands depends on which 10 is played in each hand. I thought that the high 10 should be played in the high hand, but the optimal strategy states that the low 10 is the one that should be played in the high hand with the Gee.

5) H7, L10, GJ, L7
The possibilities are 7/3 and 6/4. I use the rule that since the point total is not 5 or less, and the best low hand is not 5, 6, 7, or 9, the best hand hand should be played, which is 7/3. Again, I am mistaken, as 6/4 is the correct play.

6) 9, 5, H10, L8
The possibilities are 9/3, 8/4, and 7/5. I once again use the rule to play a high 9, and the exception is not used (play 7/5, 7/6, or 7/7 instead of high 9 if tiles include 2 with any 4, 5, or 8) since there is no 2, so I play 9/3. Yet, the correct play is 7/5.

I'm sorry for what seems to be a long and unnecessary thread about a specific case, but these errors for me are happening at an alarmingly high rate. Please let me know if it's me making the errors, or if it's just the strategy that doesn't cover all of these situations. Thanks!
FinsRule
Joined: Dec 23, 2009
• Threads: 121
• Posts: 3722
January 10th, 2012 at 4:48:27 AM permalink
Ok, I am not even close to being the Pai Gow Tiles expert on this board, but let me give it a shot, and have the Wizard or someone else make a fool of me when I'm wrong.

When he refers to High 9, I believe he refers to a 9 that is made with the teen and day tiles only.

And in case #4, you want your low hand to be as high as possible, so you want the high tile in it.

Not sure about case #5, I would think 6-4 is right too...
dlevinelaw
Joined: Dec 3, 2009
• Threads: 15
• Posts: 230
January 10th, 2012 at 6:11:02 AM permalink
I believe, and Wiz or JB can correct me on this, that when you play the Pai Gow game on this site or WoO, and it offers to "correct" your plays, that this correction is based on the house way, and NOT optimal strategy. Therefore, when you make a play that may be optimal, but not the house way, it still offers to "correct" it to the house way, thus the conflicts you are seeing.

I'd like to know if I'm correct on this, as I'd love to be able to play with an optimal-strategy-based correction system as opposed to a house-way correction system.
kaysirtap
Joined: Nov 1, 2011
• Threads: 3
• Posts: 55
January 10th, 2012 at 7:44:23 AM permalink
1*) "High nine" (or any "high" number) must contain a tile from one of the top six individual rankings. That would be Teen (12), Day (2), Yun (H8), Gor (H4), Mooy (H10), and Chong (H6). It has nothing to do with whether it is the high hand or low hand. The tiles 9 and L10 do not make a high nine in your example (highest tile is Ping, which does not qualify). Tiles H6 and GJ make the lowest high nine possible.

2) Again, the tiles 9 and L10 do not make a high nine.

3) One of the first rules for the house way is to play a Teen (12) or Day (2) with 7, 8, or 9. I agree that 8/9 is a strong hand here, and as a player you may have a tough choice, but this is not the house way.

4) The house is trying to make the hands as close as possible in this case (the low hand as high as possible, if you want to look at it that way), so they will want to play the 5 as high as they can. To do that, you need the tiles H10 and 5 in the low hand, and L10 and GJ in the high hand (read together has H5/6).

5) I'm not sure I understand your rule for figuring out how to set the tiles here. 4/6 looks good to me here.

6) I'm not sure I understand your rule for figuring out how to set the tiles here. 5/7 looks good to me here as well.

*EDIT: Sadly, the explanation of high nine is incorrect. Oops.
ArtooDetoo
Joined: Jan 9, 2012
• Threads: 8
• Posts: 33
January 10th, 2012 at 10:42:27 AM permalink
Thanks for your explanation of high nine! It makes things a lot clearer now. And thanks to everyone who helped. As for the hands that you don't understand the rule I'm using, it's from JB Advanced Strategy with exceptions, where there are four main rules after the pairs and the obvious stuff:

1. Play 0/Wong, 1/Gong, and 1/Wong whenever possible.

2. Play High Nine whenever possible. If given a choice between 2 and 12, play the 12 in the high hand. If given a choice between Low 7 and High 7, play the High 7 in the low hand if it will improve it.

3. Play a Low 8 Gong whenever possible, except when you also have a High 8 and cannot use it to make a low hand of 7 or better. If given a choice between 2 and 12, play the 12 in the high hand.

4. Determine the best low hand and best high hand by comparing only those ways to play which have the highest point total. Play the best low hand with point totals of 5 or less, and when the best low hand is a 5, 6, 7, or 9. Play the best high hand in all other circumstances.

So going back to my situations:

3) 11, GJ, H8, 2
The possibilities are 7/Gong and 8/9, and rule 2 says that I should play high nine whenever possible. There is also no exception telling me to play a high 8 Gong instead of a high nine.

5) H7, L10, GJ, L7
The possibilities are 3/7 and 4/6. I follow rule 4, which tells me that since the point total is greater than 5 and the best low hand is not 5, 6, 7, or 9, I don't play the best low. Instead, I play the best high, which is 3/7.

6) 9, 5, H10, L8
The possibilities are 3/9, 4/8, and 5/7. I follow rule 2, telling me to play the high nine whenever possible. The exception of playing 5/7 instead of high nine only takes effect when the tiles include a 2 with any 4, 5, or 8, and there is no 2 in this hand.

Thanks again for helping me understand this wonderful game!

--EDIT--

Okay, I think I understand that a high 9 means a 2 with a 7 only, so that clears situations 3 and 6, and all that's left is why 4/6 is better than 3/7 in situation 5.
Tiltpoul
Joined: May 5, 2010
• Threads: 32
• Posts: 1573
January 10th, 2012 at 5:14:59 PM permalink
Quote: kaysirtap

1) "High nine" (or any "high" number) must contain a tile from one of the top six individual rankings. That would be Teen (12), Day (2), Yun (H8), Gor (H4), Mooy (H10), and Chong (H6). It has nothing to do with whether it is the high hand or low hand. The tiles 9 and L10 do not make a high nine in your example (highest tile is Ping, which does not qualify). Tiles H6 and GJ make the lowest high nine possible.

Most casinos I've played tiles at consider high nine to ONLY be a seven tile and Teen or Day. For example, a Yun +11, Teen + Tit (giggity), is declared as 9/HIGH 9. Now for advanced strategy play, it might mean the Chong 9 or better. Horseshoe Southern Indiana has a strange house rule where you set 7,8,9 with a Chong 3 or better, meaning the ranking of the 3 must be Chong or better. When I kept asking about this in Atlantic City, I got some very weird looks.

EDIT: I realized in my original explanation of HSI's house way, I didn't clarify. They play 7,8,9 first if they can't make a chong 3 or better... if they can, the split the hand and balance the values. Here's an example. Mixed 7, L10, Gor 4, and Look 6. The house way most places would be to go 3/4. However, the 3 is Look 6 an Mixed 7, neither which is higher than Chong. So HSI's house way sets the hand 0/7. It would also be the difference if there was a 2/9 or 3/8, but the three is chong 3, they would play the 3/8.
"One out of every four people are [morons]"- Kyle, South Park
kaysirtap
Joined: Nov 1, 2011
• Threads: 3
• Posts: 55
January 10th, 2012 at 7:30:44 PM permalink
Quote: Tiltpoul

Most casinos I've played tiles at consider high nine to ONLY be a seven tile and Teen or Day.

I'll admit that it's been a while since I've been on this game, so this may be more accurate than my explanation. I do remember that Chong factors into at least the High 3 rule... beyond that, I'm just not sure anymore. Sadness.
JB
Administrator
Joined: Oct 14, 2009
• Threads: 334
• Posts: 2089
January 10th, 2012 at 8:52:14 PM permalink
As others have mentioned, a High Nine is only [Teen + 7] or [Day + 7].

In some situations, like H4-L4-5-GJ, you can play 8/8, 7/9, or 7/9. In this case, we would distinguish between the two 7/9's as "high 7/9" and "7/high 9" based on which hand has the H4 tile in it, but "7/high 9" does not contain a High Nine.

With H7-L7-GJ-L0 you have four lousy low-ranking tiles, so making the best low hand (4/6) ends up being the best play.

The Pai Gow game on here and on WizardOfOdds.com offers optimal strategy advice, not the house way. (The Pai Gow Poker game offers the house way as advice.) But note that there are three types of optimal player strategy: optimal strategy when the dealer is banking, optimal strategy when you are banking, and an optimal single strategy regardless of who is banking. If you check the box "Use a single strategy" then it will offer the single-strategy advice. If this box is not checked, it will offer optimal dealer-banker or player-banker strategy, depending on whether or not you are banking.
ArtooDetoo
Joined: Jan 9, 2012
• Threads: 8
• Posts: 33
January 10th, 2012 at 9:28:46 PM permalink
Thanks a lot to JB and everyone else for helping me! JB, can you direct me to where in the strategy it tells me to play 6/4 over 7/3, or if it's not in there? I've just been making a lot of mistakes compared to the game on the Wizard of Odds site, and it makes me think that I'm not reducing the house edge to 1.78%/-0.08%. I came across a ton more mistakes today:

1) L10, H8, L6, 2
Correct play is 8/8, but I played 6/Gong since the last rule states that I play the best low hand if it's 5, 6, 7, or 9, and the best high hand otherwise, and since the best low hand is an 8, I played the best high hand.

2) H8, L8, L6, H6
Correct play is 4/4, but I play 2/6 since, again, I play best low hand if it's a 5, 6, 7, or 9, and the best high hand otherwise, and since the best low hand is a 4, I played the best high hand. An exception is that I play 4/4 if the tiles include two 7s without a 10, but there are no 7s.

3) 12, 2, H6, 11
Correctly play is 4/7, but I play 3/8 under the same exact rule. An exception is that I play 4/7 if the best low hand is a 4 and any tile is a Gee, but no tiles are Gee.

4) L7, H8, 9, L8
The correct play is 5/7, but i play 6/6 under the same rule again. Exceptions only talk about play 5/7 over High Nine.

Maybe I'm misinterpreting the rules/exceptions but it seems like these are very simple decisions that I am messing up on.
JB
Administrator
Joined: Oct 14, 2009
• Threads: 334
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January 11th, 2012 at 1:54:20 PM permalink
Quote: ArtooDetoo

JB, can you direct me to where in the strategy it tells me to play 6/4 over 7/3, or if it's not in there?

It's probably not in there. That strategy is just a guide, it is not perfect strategy. There are lots of differences between that and perfect strategy. Perfect strategy is difficult to put in simple terms.

I should probably ask the Wizard about removing those old JB strategies. You would be better off if you went here, click the Analyze button, (wait for it to analyze), click the Show Strategy button, and follow that strategy.

It will give you a computer-generated strategy which was generated by trying various rules, and settling for those which produce the fewest exceptions. It is better than the human-generated versions I made (the "JB" strategies); in fact, the base rules plus the exceptions represent perfect strategy.

The key rule for hands with no Pair/Wong/Gong/High Nine is: play the best low hand if it ranks between 4-with-H8 and 8-with-L10 inclusive, or if the best high hand ranks lower than 6-with-H6; otherwise play the best high hand. But of course, there are exceptions to it.

Quote: ArtooDetoo

L7, H8, 9, L8

7-8-8-9 is an interesting combination, where you always play 5/7, but sometimes you will play the H8 in the low hand and sometimes you will play it in the high hand. The way to remember when is to look at the 7 tile: if it's a L7, then play the lower-ranking 7-point high hand. If it's a H7, play the higher-ranking 7-point high hand. In other words: with L7-L8-H8-9, play H8+L7 in the low hand and L8+9 in the high hand (high 5/low 7). With H7-L8-H8-9 play H7+L8 in the low hand and H8+9 in the high hand (low 5/high 7). So if you have a L7 tile, play a low 7 in your high hand, and if you have a H7 tile, play the high 7 in your high hand.

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