Despite the name, Asia poker surprisingly was first played in America. Its influences are ‘Pai Gow’ and Chinese poker games. Although not yet played worldwide, it has found its way into many American casinos where it’s popularity is spreading. Asia poker is also starting to become more available in online casinos where the low house edge and strategic game play makes it an attractive proposition.
In Asia poker you play the dealer using a 53 card deck containing one joker. You decide how much you want to bet then you and the dealer are dealt 7 cards each. Each player then prepares their cards based on strength into 3 groups high, mid and low.
High – 4 Cards
Has to be stronger then the mid or low hands. Similar to many poker games royal flush is the nuts but doesn’t come along often! Look for four of a kind, trips, flushes and if really desperate pairs and high cards, although full houses are not possible in Asia poker.
Mid – 2 Cards
Only pairs and high cards possible here.
Low – 1 Card
Highest card you can afford to use.
In Asia poker the high hand must be the strongest. If not your hand will be declared dead and you will lose your wager. This means if your high hand can’t even produce a pair neither should your mid hand and if they both contain a pair the high hand must have the better one. This also relates to the mid and low hand, where if only holding high cards the mid high card must be the strongest. The joker card in Asia poker can be brought into play to complete straights and flushes. If this isn’t possible it becomes an ace.
Once the players have finished arranging their hands it is then the dealers turn. In Asia poker the dealer has a set way he must sort his cards, known as the ‘house way’. This is a pre-determined exact way of arranging the cards. This is done to reduce the dealer edge and to prevent cheating and because of this it is even possible to show and ask the dealer for help with your hand (obviously not possible online!).
So who wins?
Your High, mid and low hands are compared to the dealers and you need to win two out of the three to win the money. In the unlikely event of a draw the dealer takes it. This is the only advantage given to the house which makes Asia poker an attractive game if you fancy a flutter!