How to Play Fortune Asia Poker

Forturne Asia Poker
Fortune Asia Poker. Photo Courtesy (SHFL)

Fortune Asia Poker is an adaption of the game of Pai Gow Poker. Just think of it as Pai Gow with three hands instead of two.

The game of Fortune Asia Poker is played with a standard deck of 52 cards plus a single joker that can be used to make flushes, straights, or can be an ace. If you already know how to play Pai Gow, it's really not a stretch to learn this game. Players make a single wager on their hand and the dealer gives seven cards to each player and themselves.

Players arrange their cards into three hands of four, two and one card. The dealer must follow a set of house rules, but the players may set their hands as they wish, as long as they remember that the four-card hand must be higher than the two-card hand and the two-card hand must be higher than the one-card hand.

Four Card Hand: These cards can make a four-card straight or flush (or straight flush) as well as four-of-a-kind and three-of-a-kind.

Two-Card Hand: These cards can only make a pair or no pair. Obviously a pair of aces is best and three-deuce is worst.

One-Card Hand: This lonely card is best as an ace and worst as a deuce.

Each of the three hands are compared to the dealer's three hands and the hand with the higher value wins. All ties go to the dealer. The player must have two higher hands or they lose their wager. There are no overall ties as so often happens in regular Pai Gow. In addition, there is no commission paid on winning hands.

Bonus Wager

Yes, there is a Bonus Bet for Fortune Asia Poker. This wager pays on any 4-card straight or higher (up to 5,000 to 1 for Quads) as well as a special payoff of 10-1 for a 9-high Pai Gow. The Bonus Wager has a house edge of about 6-percent, depending on the pay scale. The standard wager has a house edge of about 5-percent.

Strategy

Many hands will be pretty easy to figure out. If you hold a no-pair nothing hand, you must play the highest card in the 4-card hand, the next highest card in the 2-card hand and the 3rd-highest card in the low (1-card) hand.

You'll have to constantly keep in mind that unlike Pai Gow, where you'll sometimes keep a monster in the high-hand because you are willing to take a push, there is no push in Fortune Asia Poker. You have to win two of your hands or you lose your wager.

Suppose you are dealt a hand like Ace-Ace-8-7-4-3-2. You can play Ace-Ace-3-2 with 8-4 and 7 in the lower hands, but the house way is likely to demand that the dealer split the Aces between the 4 and 3-card hands with the 8 in the low (single card) hand.

A couple other tips that may seem counterintuitive:

If you hold two-pair, split them between the high and middle hands, unless on of the pairs is aces or kings and there are no other face cards, then play the pairs together in the high hands.

If you hold four-of-a-kind, split them between the high and middle hands, unless you hold at least two face cards, one of which is an ace - then play them together in the high hand.

If you hold five aces and two non-paired cards, play a pair in the high and middle hands and a single ace in the low hand.