Shanghai Poker is a casino table game played with a standard deck of 52 cards and a joker. The joker may substitute for any card. Similar games are Pai Gow and Three Card Poker. The player can make three bets: a mandatory Double Hand bet, an optional Five Card Bonus side bet and an optional Taxpayer's Fortune bet. All bets are made before any cards are dealt. Players and the dealer each receive five cards face down. Players arrange their five cards into a two-card front-hand and a three-card back-hand, making sure that the two-card hand does not outrank the three-card hand.Ranking of 3-Card Hands
- Straight flush
- Three of a kind
- One Pair
- High card
The player's two hands are compared to the corresponding two hands of the dealer. If two corresponding hands being compared are equal, which is known as a "copy," the dealer wins the copy. There will be neither straights nor flushes for the two-card hand. The highest ranking for the two-card hand is a pair.
The player must win both the front and back hands to win. The player loses his bet if both hands lose. If the player wins one and loses the other hand, it's a push. When the player wins both hands, his bet is paid as follows:
- If the dealer's three-card hand is at least King-high, the bet is paid even money
- If the dealer's three-card hand is less than King-high, the bet is paid half
Players may make a five-card bonus bet that pays even money on a pair of Jacks - up to 400 to 1 for five aces. Players who make the five-card bonus bet may also make a $1 Taxpayer's Fortune bet to qualify for the big payouts on the Taxpayer's Fortune.
The player is charged a tax whenever their five-card bonus payout hand is two-pair (paid at 3 to 1) or higher. The tax is $1 for two pair, $2 for three of a kind, and $5 for a straight or better. However, the Taxpayer's Fortune bet can also win a payoff on some tougher to achieve five-card hands. These payoffs start at a pair with a three-card straight for a payoff of $3 and work up to $30,000 for five aces.
As with most bonus bets, the top payoffs are tough to hit. You can expect to hit the five-aces bonus of $30,000 once in 2,869,685 hands. Don't worry, the natural royal hits four times more often with the $10,000 bonus occurring once every 717,421 hands.