EZ Pai Gow is standard Pai Gow Poker with no commission. It was invented by Dan Lubin of Lubin-Jones, LLC and introduced in 2009 as Tao Pai Gow at the Barona Resort in San Diego, California. Distributor DEQ Systems Corp. has since placed the game in several locations under the name EZ Pai Gow, which coincides with EZ Baccarat, a similarly commission-free game.
The game play of EZ Pai Gow
EZ Pai Gow is played like any regular Pai Gow game with a refreshing change – no commission. It does come with an additional cost – a hand you can’t beat – a Queen-high pai gow. When the dealer has a Queen-high pai gow, all player hands push. You don’t lose, but you don’t win either.
A Queen-high pai gow only pops up about one time in 58 hands, so you could play all day and never see one. You will like getting five or six more hands per hour since the dealer isn’t fumbling to make change for commissions. An Envy Bet is also available as in standard Pai Gow.
Styles of EZ Pai Gow
EZ Pai Gow comes in two styles. The first version has a standard joker used as an ace or for straights and flushes, and is currently the style in Nevada and the Mid-West. In California casinos such as Barona, Blue Lake and Pala, the joker is a true bug or wild card, used as any card.
In addition, Cannery Casino Resort Properties (CCR), including The Rampart Casino, Eastside Cannery Casino & Cannery Casino, are offering the game with a Progressive variation of the game at their Las Vegas facilities.
The side bet in EZ Pai Gow
The aggregate house edge is less than 2.5 percent, so the game beefs up the casino win rate with three bonus bets to make, none are mandatory. The Queen’s Dragon, pays 50-1. It wins anytime the dealer makes a Queen-high pai gow. The house edge is just over 10 percent on this bet.
Also the dynasty bonus pays each time a player’s best five-card hand is three of a kind or higher. Two styles are in use, one requiring a $1 bet to quality for an envy payoff, the other a $5 bet. Both pay a bonus if another player gets a four-of-a-kind or higher. Both pay 2-1 for a straight and work their way up the pay scale to 2000-1 for a natural 7-card straight flush or a wheel (Ace-5) straight flush with a natural Ace-Queen suited. The house edge depends on the number of players (because of the possible envy bonus) and runs from just over 7 percent to over 8 percent, the highest when you are playing alone.
The bonus bet and progressive wager in EZ Pai Gow
The bonus bet works like the dynasty bonus, a side bet that starts at 2-1 for a straight and works up the pay scale to 8000-1 for a natural 7-card straight flush (no joker). This bet is offered from $1 to $25, but because the envy bonus pays the same, the house edge is smallest when the player bets $5. This edge runs from just over 3 percent with six players, to almost 8 percent when playing alone.
EZ Pai Gow is also offered with a progressive wager. This may be made for a single dollar on each hand, which will be collected before the hands are opened. Payoffs include $4 for a full house, $75 for four of a kind, $100 for a straight flush, $500 for a Royal Flush, 10 percent of the jackpot amount for five aces, and the full jackpot for any 7-card straight flush.