Domino games

Bonanza Pai Gow

This game was copyrighted by Gambology, but their web site, which included a computer version of the game, no longer exists.

Bonanza Pai Gow is a multi-bet variation of standard Chinese Pai Gow. It is played on a standard size blackjack table that can accommodate up to six players.


The game uses a set of Chinese dominoes, three dice and chips for betting, as in regular Pai Gow. The table layout has extra circles for three kinds of bets.

The Deal

See Pai Gow

The Play

The play is the same as regular Pai Gow. The players must form two hands, called the high hand and the low hand, by using their four tiles. The high hand must be higher than or at least equal to the low hand according to the standard Pai Gow ranking. After all players have made their decisions, the Banker turns over his four tiles and forms a high hand and a low hand appropriately.

Betting & Payout

The difference is in the betting. Each player has three options in front of his position at the table. There is the traditional bet to win, the Bonus bet and the Tie bet. There are three betting circles in front of each player. The circle with a seat number inside is where the regular Pai Gow bet is placed. The circle labeled "B" is where the Bonus bet is placed. The circle labeled "T" is where the Tie bet is placed. The regular bet is not mandatory, therefore, Tie and Bonus are more than a side bet.

Regular Bet

The regular bet is simply the standard Pai Gow bet.

Each player competes against the Banker. The player wins if his high hand is higher than that of the Banker and his low hand is also higher than that of the Banker. The player loses if neither of his hands beats the Banker's. If the player wins one hand and loses the other, his bet pushes. If the Player and Banker hands both have the same total, the highest-ranking tile in the hand breaks the tie. The Banker wins all ties if the highest-ranking tiles also tie. When both low hands equal 0, the Banker wins the low hand.

Tie Bet

A player can bet that his hand and the dealer hand will tie. In the event of a tie, whereas a player with a wager on the regular bet pushes, a Tie bettor will win even money, or be paid at 25:1 or 20:1 if his low hand is at least a Gong. If the player also plays the regular bet, then both bets are adjudicated by the same hand set by the player. In other words, the player is only allowed to set his hand once, but not separately. No commission is charged on a winning Tie bet.

Bonus Bet

Unlike the regular bet, the Bonus bet player doesn't compete against the dealer. With a Bonus bet, the player will win if his four tiles make up one of the eight Bonus hands illustrated below.

No commission is charged on a winning Bonus bet.

The player is eligible to win the bonus if any two of his four tiles can form a pair or Wong. Should his hand comprise both a pair and Wong, only the pair will be paid the bonus.

Furthermore, if the player also plays the regular bet, the bonus will be paid no matter how the player sets his high and low hands.

The Bonus bet has a unique feature in that not only will the player win big awards for favorable results in rare instances, but also receive an award for the worst hand. A "Lame Duck," the worst Pai Gow hand that comprises a high 6, a low 6, any 7 and any 4, pays 20 to 1. Making the Bonus bet not only turns a disappointment into a pleasant surprise for the player but also insures against a sure loss for the regular bet.

Comments & Strategy

Unlike standard Pai Gow wherein pushes occur about 40% of the time, the Tie bet and the Bonus bet in Bonanza Pai Gow result in a decision every hand. Also, in standard Pai Gow the house edge is vastly reduced if the players bank every other hand, whereas the house edge on the Bonus bet and the Tie bet never changes whether the players bank or not.

The Tie bet should appeal to regular Pai Gow players because their experience tells them ties occur very often. Player appeal is also enhanced by the high hit frequency and high payoff odds. The Bonus bet players will win once every 3.7 hands.

Bonanza Pai Gow was introduced at Crown Casino, Melbourne, Australia in January 2001 and by June 2001 all 6 of their standard Pai Gow games had been converted to Bonanza Pai Gow. Bonanza Pai Gow increased their hold percentage vastly, achieving an increase of between $50 and $70 per table per open hour in comparison to standard Pai Gow games.