Casino Games – Pai Gow

Casino Games - Pai Gow Not to be confused with pai gow poker, pai gow is a Chinese gambling game, reputedly dating from the days before the Song Dynasty, which arose in Central China in the tenth century, which us played with a set of Chinese dominoes. The name ‘pai gow’ is an Anglicisation of the Cantonese phrase ‘páai gáu’, meaning ‘nine cards’.

A set of Chinese dominoes consists of 32 tiles, made up of eleven matched pairs of ‘civilian’ suit tiles and five unmatched pairs of ‘military’ suit tiles. Civilian suit tiles are known by names such as ‘heaven’, ‘earth’, ‘man’ and so on, and are ranked according to the cultural significance of their names. Generally speaking, military suit tiles are ranked by the total number of pips, or spots, but the 2-4 and 1-2 tiles, when played together, consistute the highest ranking pair, known as ‘Supreme’.

Each player receive four dominoes, which are arranged into a ‘high hand’ and a ‘low hand’, each consisting of two tiles. Starting with the betting position known as the ‘action hand’, determined rolling dice, players take turns to compete with the hands held by the designated player-dealer; to win, the player, or player dealer, must prevail in both hands.

Casino Games – Poker

Casino Games - Poker In simple terms, is a card game played with a standard, 52-card deck of cards, in which players bet on the value of their hands. The value of a hand is inversely correlated to the likelihood of that combination of cards occurring, such that three of a kind ranks higher than a pair, and so on. Numerous variants of poker exist, but in all cases players have the option of calling, or matching, a bet, raising, or increasing, a bet, or folding, which means that they take no further part in the hand being played.

Since the early Seventies, when it became the featured game in the World Series of Poker, Texas Hold’em has risen to become the dominant variant of poker worldwide. In casino poker, where a non-playing dealer does the actual dealing, a round disk, known as the ‘dealer button’, indicates which player has the dealer position. The two players to the left of the dealer button post ‘forced’ bets, known respectively as the ‘small blind’ and ‘big blind’, to ‘seed’ the pot and each player is dealt two cards, known as ‘hole cards’, face down.

The first round of betting follows, after which three shared or ‘community’ cards, collectively known as the ‘flop’, are dealt, face up, in the middle of the table. A second round of betting follows, after which two further community cards, known respectively as the ‘turn’ and ‘river’ cards, are dealt one at a time and followed by further rounds of betting. The winner is the remaining player who can form the highest-ranking five-card hand using a combination of hole and/or community cards.

Casino Games – Backgammon

Casino Games - Backgammon Backgammon is a gambling game but, notwithstanding high-profile tournaments, such as the Backgammon World Championship, which is held annually at the Fairmont Hotel in Monte Carlo, Monaco and offers $250,000 in prize money, is not really a viable proposition for bricks-and-mortar casinos. Traditional backgammon is a board game that can accommodate just two players and requires no dealer, so is better suited to private cash-only contests than regular casino play. A table game, known as Casino Backgammon, did make a brief appearance at O’Shea’s Casino in Las Vegas, in the days before its closure and relocation, but lacked the skill component of traditional backgammon and did not last long.

Traditional backgammon is played on board divided into four quadrants, known as the home, or inner, board and outer board for each player, each of which contains six, alternately-coloured triangles, or points, making a total of twenty-four. A raised ridge down the centre of the board separates the home boards from the outer boards. Each player starts the game with fifteen counters of a particular colour – typically black, or red, for one player and white for the other – arranged on the board in prescribed fashion.

Players have their own pair of dice, which they roll in turn, with the object of moving all their counters into their home board and bearing them off, or removing them from the board. The first player to do so wins the game. A single counter standing alone on a point is known as a ‘blot’; if an opposing counter lands on the same point, the blot is said to be ‘hit’, placed on the bar and must be ‘entered’ into the opposing home board, according to the dice roll on the next turn.