Learn Pusoy

by Gayle Mitchell

For this lesson at Learn Poker, we learn Pusoy Poker, also know as Chinese Poker. It is based on the game of Pai Gow Poker and played mainly in Asia and the Phillipines; however, many international casinos offer the game.
The attraction is that unlike pai gow poker, which seems to have endless ties and no winner, pusoy offers a payout for each hand.
As you move through this lesson, you will find several references to similarities and differences for pai gow poker.

Learn Pusoy -  The Rules:
Hand rankings from the top royal flush to lowly no pair are the same as most poker games. Unlike pai gow poker, the joker is not used in Pusoy and A, 2, 3, 4, 5 is the lowest ranking straight.
Additionally, 3-card straight and flushes have no value, therefore, 3 aces is the highest ‘front hand’ while 2, 3, 4 is the lowest.
The aim of casino players is to arrange 2 or 3 hands based on 13 cards received.
One of the hands, know as a ‘back hand’, consists of 5 cards. Another 5 cards forms the ‘middle hand’ and 3 cards for a ‘front hand’.
As with most casino games, players begin a poker round by placing their bets on the assigned table area.
After the dealer shuffles and cuts the deck, the cards are placed face down, one at a time until all players receive 13 cards.

Once the player arranges his/her cards skillfully, the 3 hands are placed face down in this order: farthest away is the back hand, the middle hand and closest to the center is the front hand.
The pusoy rules dictate that when arranging hands, each hand must be better than the other as follows. Back hand better than middle and front hand better than middle.
Should the player not follow this rule, their hand is disqualified, known as ‘totyo’ and he/she loses double the bet.
You are on your own when arranging your hands and cannot seek assistance from the dealer or other players, unlike pai gow poker. You are also not allowed to touch the cards or change your mind once the cards are placed on the table.
Once all cards have been placed on the table, the dealer reveals her/her hand, calls the wins and losses and pays or collects wagers.

Learn Pusoy: The Win
The first 2 conditions below result in a win for the player:
1) If 2 out of 3 player’s hand beat the 3 dealer hands.
2) If the player’s 3 hands beat the 3 dealer hands, the win is doubled.
3) However, if the player’s 3 hands all lose against the dealers 3 hands, the loss is doubled.
In the case of #2 and #3 above that result in a double loss or win, this is described as ‘pusoy’, which means zero.
The frequent ties in pai gow poker discussed earlier are resolved in pusoy with the dealer being the winner for any of the corresponding 3 hands, back, middle or front.
Therefore, if both middle dealer and player hands are the same, the dealer collects the player’s bet.

Learn Pusoy Strategies:
Similar to pai-gow, it is best to separate two pairs. With a possible full house, the 3 of a kind should be placed in a five-card hand and the pair with the three-card hand.
If you find that it is unlikely you will take all 3 hands, your strategy should be based on possibly winning 1 or 2 hands.
I use the terms great, good and weak hands to illustrate.
Can you arrange 2 good hands and a weak hand?
Arrange 1 great and 2 weak hands?
Arrange 3 weak hands as a last resort?
Or consider these variations.

Pusoy Variations: Surrender
Similar to blackjack surrender, the player or dealer can forfeit their hand, pay the single bet and avoid a possible double loss.
If should be noted that this is an ‘early surrender’ for a player cannot surrender once all three hands have been placed on the table. The players’ cards are then discarded and not revealed.
Should the dealer surrender, only those players remaining in the game are paid.

Pusoy Variations: Royalties
Alternatively, should the player reveal a great hand immediately, it’s an instant win and royalties are paid on their single bet.
These royalties are paid for a straight, flush, four-of-a-kind (quad), or six pairs.
However, the player can choose to consider the strategy of arranging the 3 hands and aiming for the double payout.

If you play pai gow poker, but prefer a fast-paced game that is not slowed by ties, then your best bet is to learn pusoy.

Learn Pusoy is followed by European Games starting with Baccarat
How to Play Poker 1 Program
Learn Poker Games 2 with 7 Game Types

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