Various forms of poker have some minor differences while others are drastically different. The latter is true in regards to the game of Pai Gow Poker. With Pai Gow Poker, you are only given one set of cards and are unable to add to the hand or exchange them for potentially better cards. This is quite different than some forms of poker that let you switch cards in order to build a better poker hand. Another difference between Pai Gow Poker and other poker versions is that Pai Gow also uses dice in addition to the deck of cards.
When the game commences, the cards are put into seven different piles. These piles are later distributed according to the roll of the dice. When the dice are rolled, they are used to determine how the order in which the cards will be dealt. Each player around the table is assigned their own number. If their number is rolled on the dice, then they would receive their pile. You might wonder since there are only six numbers on the dice, why exactly would there be seven piles of cards? In traditional Pai Gow Poker, one hand will not be played. Therefore only six of the seven piles will be dealt. This hand that is not dealt is known as the dragon hand. The number of dragon hands of course can increase if there are less than six people playing the hand. This can create some interesting implications as the number of players decrease and more cards are out of the game.
In some rules of Pai Gow Poker, players may be able to play their hand as well as the dragon hand. This rule variation is quite a benefit to the player. This gives them an edge over the house. After all, the dealer is unable to see the identity of the cards that comprise the dragon hand. The assignment of the banker can also vary depending upon the specific rules. Players can sometimes take on this role as well as the dealer. This does provide a slight edge over the other players when you serve as banker.