‘Be the King of Small Stakes Tournaments’ By Mike Exinger

‘Be the King of Small Stakes Tournaments’ By Mike Exinger

October 1, 2017 0 By Gillian

Optimal Strategy For Pai Gow Poker is a complete guide to playing the Americanized game of Pai Gow. Traditional Pai Gow is played with tiles similar to dominoes, but the game was changed to allow more people to play – using a standard deck of 52 cards.

Author Stanford Wong is a long-time champion of casino gambling. He believes there are specific strategies and rules for dominating casino games and he has proven himself in previous books on blackjack, tournaments and video poker. This book allows even players with no knowledge of poker or Pai Gow to excel.

High Points

The author’s background in mathematics is evident throughout the text.

Computer’s were used extensively for mathematical work

Hand frequencies and practice hands are included

Low Points

Text is set forward like a college text and can be dry reading

With no story or background about the game this is a training aid only

Black and white text, no color or illustrations to improve learning


Optimal Strategy For Pai Gow Poker by Stanford Wong was first published in 1990. The book has been expanded and improved slightly since the first printing.

160 pages – Many tables and lists of hands

Publisher: Pi Yee Press

Guide Review – ‘Optimal Strategy For Pai Gow Poker’ by Stanford Wong – Book Review

Pai Gow Poker begins with a short introduction about the game, so a player with no experience can get some understanding about the game. As Wong says, “This book presents only as much detail as seems to be usable.” So, he intimates that there is more, but what could be added is inconsequential or superfluous.

The author next explains how to get an edge in the game and how the cost of the rake affects the outcome of your efforts to beat the game, although the newcomer will find the actual setting of hands to be the most difficult aspect of Pai Gow to master.

Unlike blackjack where a card counter can begin by learning basic strategy and then progress to a simple plus – minus count and gain a small edge on the casino, learning page after page of how to set hands (about 90 pages) is the only way to get close to a break-even game.

If this all sounds daunting, well, it is. Wong’s advice is excellent, and a player with some real desire to learn will do well. Those players who are looking for something easy are going to read a few pages and get bored. There is no story accompanying the text, no color charts or other aids for increased learning. Just text and tables.

For most readers, the text will be dry, because the subject is dry – the book presents the best strategies for increasing your edge at Pai Gow. If that’s what you want, this book is for you. Read it, memorize it, enjoy the learning and improve your game.

In a nutshell, Pai Gow is best when you get to bank a lot. Bet small when you play, take the most bets your bankroll can handle when you bank. If you get to bank a lot, the game’s much more profitable. If you can only bank one hand in seven or you can’t bank at all, you better really enjoy Pai Gow to put the work into reading and learning the lessons – because your biggest edge comes from banking, especially when your opponents make mistakes!