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June 19th, 2010 at 11:26:19 AM permalink
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Joined: Dec 5, 2009
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June 19th, 2010 at 11:30:45 AM permalink
Quote: odiousgambit

I noticed a similar weird thing too and posted about it regarding Baccarat, where the set rules for the dealer will mean making the Banco hand lose, taking another card, when it had already won. So it is just something that plays out in Casinos due to the need to have these House Ways, which I think I can see is necessary. The Wizard has to be right, technically there is no foul here.

In the case you cite, it would give a feeling of outrage to see it if you didnt understand the bit about House Way. You're right, maybe it makes to set the Dragon Hand first, especially for some folk who would become convinced they got screwed on purpose.

Did anyone "lose it" over this?

No, it was the Bellagio after all; there's a certain amount of decorum there. I noticed the perceived 'error' and asked the dealer why she didn't set the dragon hand to win. "That's not house way", was her reply. The other player and I just shook our heads and play continued.
Joined: Mar 25, 2010
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June 19th, 2010 at 1:37:13 PM permalink
I have seen two different types of "dragon" hands at Pai Gow Poker Tables:

1) The table only seats 5 people. The dragon hand is a completely separate hand, ie, a "phantom" 6th person. In this occasion, bets are available for people to bet on the dragon hand. I've seen both styles where the bet on the dragon hand has to be made before the hands are dealt, and also where one can choose afterwards if one wants to bet on the dragon hand.

2) The table seats 6 people, as a standard PaiGow Poker table. The first seat is sequence that is unoccupied becomes the dragon hand. After all players have been dealt and allowed to set their hands, the option goes around the table for a person to elect to make an additional wager for the dragon hand. There is a marker which indicates who at the table has the first option to choose to play the dragon hand. This marker then rotates around the table giving everybody a fair shot at playing the dragon hand.

In almost all cases, the amount of the dragon bet has to be equal to the amount of your own wager. In some circumstance, I have seen where people are allowed to bet less than their own wager, but at least the table minimum. I have never seen a circumstance where a player is allowed to bet more than their own wager.

In my experience, I have seen people who will always play the dragon hand. I've also seen where people will only play the dragon hand if their own hand was bad, such as a Pai Gow. I think the reasoning on this is that they feel their own hand is pretty bad, so why not try and balance it out with a possible winning dragon hand.

The few times that I've played the dragon hand has been the exact opposite. If my hand is good, and I have a reasonable assurance that I'm going to win, then playing the dragon hand will result in my breaking even (sort of, considering the commission), and or with a possibility of winning even more.

Logically speaking, if you are given the option of playing the dragon hand after seeing your hand, and through conversation at the table, knowing what pretty much all the other players at the table have, then you might open up a mathematical possibility that the dragon hand is stronger or weaker than normal. However, since the cards remaining in the deck could be equally divided between the dragon hand and the banker's hand, I'm not sure if this is really going to give you an advantage or not.
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June 19th, 2010 at 4:32:09 PM permalink
Quote: PapaChubby

I haven't seen it in a long time, but there used to be a "house way" marker that a player could request. ....

Well, in that case, the procedure discussed in the first post makes more sense.
Superstitions are silly, childish, irrational rituals, born out of fear of the unknown. But how much does it cost to knock on wood? 😁
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July 27th, 2010 at 6:14:15 AM permalink
On this dragon hand topic...

At most casinos I play at the player may set the dragon hand to his own hand setting, requiring the dealer to expose his hand last. It's bad "customer service" to gamblers to force them to set their hands to the house way when they may want to play their hands as they see fit. Pai Gow House ways are often weak, because they have to be easy enough for dealers to implement rapidly in a production casino environment.
Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes - Henry David Thoreau. Like Dealers' uniforms - Dan.
Joined: Aug 25, 2010
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April 3rd, 2011 at 6:19:34 PM permalink
A couple of points about this thread:

1. I'm not familiar with allowing all players to buy the dragon hand, but if the rule is that the dragon hand has to be set by the dealer according to the house way, it doesn't matter whether she set her hand or the dragon hand first. I can understand that it might seem more proper to set the dragon first (which is how I would be inclined to do it), but either way, there is going to be room for controversy. (It's possible that the dealer in this case just goofed and forgot to set the dragon before opening her own hand -- even at the Bellagio, the dealers are human, and it's easy for a dealer to forget there's a dragon hand to be dealt with -- a common error that I've made a lot.)

2. I don't know the Bellagio's house way, but at another MGM Resorts property I am very familiar with, the house way would call for keeping the two small pair together, as the dealer did here.

3. In any case, at every casino I've ever dealt, it is standard written procedure that "the written house way will be shown to a player on request" (or similar words to the same effect). No, they won't give you a copy of it to take home, and the copy they show you may be virtually undecipherable, but they will (or at least should) always have a written copy on hand to settle any beefs like this. If you feel that the dealer has set the community dragon hand, or the dealer's own hand, incorrectly, you are ALWAYS entitled to ask to see the written house way to verify that everything is being done according to the rules. The dealer NEVER has discretion to vary from the house way. Again, mistakes happen, but there are procedures in place to correct any mistakes that are caught, and dealers do get sanctioned for screwing up on the house way. Ninety-nine percent of the time (or more), you are not being cheated -- deliberately or otherwise.

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