Do you remember the first time you stood up on the footrest of your sanghoki┬áchair and yelled across to the roulette players, “Who is winning over there? Because we are winning over here!” Do you remember the first time you took an inordinate interest in your dealer’s country of origin and how to pronounce his/her name? Do you remember your first Greyhound? What about the first time you won a monster by betting the dragon bonus?

Or, let me ask you this, dear reader:

Do you remember the first time you got steak and eggs?

Drizz and I have had many a conversation about the World Series of Pai Gow Poker. Pauly and I thought about doing it during the middle of the other World Series (no, not that one–the other one). We never managed to make it happen. In fact, we never really came up with the mechanics of it.

So, as a mental exercise (albeit, a mental exercise akin to doing bicep curls with a stein of beer), I started thinking about how the WSOPGP might work.


1) Each player buys in fr $210

2) $10 from each buy-in goes to the worst hand fund. At end of designated time period, the player who drew the worst seven card hand gets the pot.

3) $50 from each buy-in goes to champion’s fund.

4) $150 from each buy-in goes in play.

3) Players may bet any amount they like out of $150 stack for a period of one hour.

4) If a player goes bust, he/she may not rebuy

5) During play, chips may be used for bets, bonus bets, bribes, and tokes. No money, however, may be taken off the table once it is in play. If you choose, you may use pocket cash or chips not in play for tokes.

6) In a one table scenario, at the end of a one-hour period, the player who has the most chips collects everything left on the table plus all the money in the champion’s fund. In a two-table scenario, the top two chip stacks split the money 70-30.

I’m not entirely sure I’m up for the kind of organization this would require. However, you never know. I’m just throwing it out there to see what kind of interest there would be.

All else fails, we’ll scrap the idea again and just play Pai Gow like we normally would, which is to say, completely foolishly and bent on regret.

If you’re not familiair with my particular style in the Pai Gow pit, I’ll refer you to How to Play Pai Gow Poker. It is a must-read if you have any hope of holding your own at a Pai Gow table. It also serves as a good warning should you decide to slide into a seat at my table.

If none of that tickles your fancy, consider the night I took Wil Wheaton to the Gold Coast for what was supposed to be a night of $5 Pai Gow and turned into…well this:

The $5 tables were full. We begged for four empty seats together, but the pit boss wasn’t having it. Suddenly, The Mark was spreading six grand in hundreds across an empty table. I dropped a roll of $4,000 on top of it. Thirty seconds later, a new boss was there.


Five more Pai Gow Memories

  1. New York, New York — Rolling with the ‘Lou crew late night. Joey Two-Hands has taken his three sheets and fashioned them into a super kite. Molly, the dealer, has been putting up with his antics for her entire down. Two-Hands is flirting and popping tiny breath-mints like they were trucker speed. What’s more, he’s betting for the dealer…with breath mints. At one point, Two-Hands lays one of his best lines on Molly. She responds, deadpan, “What did you just slur to me?”
  2. Gold Coast — Up until late 2006, the Gold Coast’s chips were decorated with famous cowboys and rodeo clowns. Pauly was on a work-bender and got a rare night off. Using his rare night off to get in rare form, he created “Clown or Cowboy.” The two-chipped chip-based shell game went something like Pauly recorded it here:

I’d yell out, “Yo, Otis… Clown or Cowboy?”

I’d turn over the chips and mix it up. He’d point to one and yell… “Cowboy!”

I’d flip it over and it would be the clown.

  1. Barbary Coast — I learned to play Pai Gow Poker at Barbary Coast before it became Bill’s. It was where I learned everything I know–except for how to go the distance. I woke up in my Bally’s hotel room one morning to discover my brother had never returned home from the night before. It was going on 11am and he had not come home for the night. I worried the youngster had fallen victim to one of Vegas’ many pitfalls. Ultimately, he walked in the door. His body was sagging under the weight of 100 strands of Mardi Gras beads (a one-time token of appreciation from the BC staff). He draped the beads over my head, paused for a moment, and then with a voice I’ve never heard him use before or since, he screamed, “Pai Gow!”
  2. Luxor — It was Marty’s bachelor party and after three nights of revelry, he was waning. I, however, was having a fantastic Pai Gow night. It was nearing 2am when I held out my hand and handed him four pills. He took them before asking, “What was that?” I only answered mysteriously, “They will make you feel better.” In fact, it was only Advil and No-Doz I’d picked up for him on my run to the bathroom. He didn’t know that, though. And that made it all the more fun. Oh, and I won a lot of money that night.
  3. Gold Coast, Redux Redux — It was proving to be the best and worst Pai Gow night of my life. I put down the single biggest bet I’ve ever wagered in a game. The dealer dealt the cards and I…pushed on the hand. My friends looked at me and quietly suggested it was time to pull back the bet and call it a night. I didn’t say a word. I left the bet in the circle and waited. The cards came out and I squeezed them so no one else could see. I set my hand and leaned back in my chair. My friends wanted to know how we were looking. I didn’t say a word. The dealer set her hand and I didn’t say a word. One by one, the dealer flipped up the players’ hands. I looked across the table at one friend and gave the slightest of winks.

Winner winner…steak and eggs dinner.