It can almost break your heart. Walk into practically any casino in America, and you'll see people dogpiling on every blackjack, roulette, or craps table in sight--but what about those lonely tables that remain empty night after night? These games are just as fun as blackjack, and have just as much money to give away, yet are ignored by most gamblers because of fear and yes PREJUDICE.

Baccarat Let it Ride Pai Gow Poker. Sound exotic, do they not? And though the names may befuddle, the games themselves are remarkably easy to play. JUST WATCH!


This is the game James Bond plays in all those old movies! Plus it's very similar to blackjack, the odds are more in your favor AND it's easier to play when you're drunk. Here's what the table looks like:

The object of the game is to bet whether your hand or the banker's (the dealer) will be the highest, not exceeding the point value of nine. Here's how you bet

Put your chips in one of the three spaces: the player wins, the banker wins, or a tie--each has a different payout. Bets on the "player" get even money, bets on the "dealer" also get even money (minus 5% to give the house a slight edge), and a "tie" pays--WOW!--9 to 1?!?

The dealer slaps down two cards for you and two for herself. Let's say you get a 10 and a 3. Add those together, and you get 13. Now here's the not-so-tricky part. The value of your hand is the last digit of your total--which in the case of 13 is three. So if you got a 4 and a 6, your total would be 10, and your hand's value is 0. Get it? Got it? Good.

Remember: the point of all this is to get the total closest to 9. And if your total value is between 0 and 5, you're gonna need another card--but one more card is all you're gonna get. If it's 6 or 7, you don't get another card, and if it's 8 or 9? Whoopee! You're holding what's called a "natural" and you stand.

Meanwhile, the banker/dealer is playing by the same rules, except if her two cards total 3, 4, 5, or 6, and you drew a third card. Then she must also draw a third card. I know that part is confusing, but don't even try to remember it, because (and this is the best part of Baccarat)

THE DEALER DOES ALL THE WORK FOR YOU. She lets you know when you get a third card, and all you have to do is sit there, get drunk, and bet on if the player wins, the dealer wins, or if it's a tie.

Yes, it's that simple. However, here's a helpful hint to all you low-rollers. On the Vegas Strip, the Baccarat tables can be anywhere from $25 to $500 per bet (OUCH!!). My advice is to play in old town Vegas on Fremont Street where you can find $5 and $10 tables. But perhaps you're interested in a game that involves yelling. In that case, let's take a look at


Another easy game--especially for you Poker lovers! You put down three equal bets, and you get three cards. The dealer gets two face down "community cards" which, along with your cards, will make a five-card hand. If your original three cards are looking tasty, leave all of your wagers where they are. If you've got a handful of crap, you're allowed to take back your first bet.

That's when the dealer turns over her first "community" card. You still got crap? Then you have the option of taking back your second bet (but the third bet always remains!). You got a sweet hand going? That's when you tell the world you're going to "LET IT RIDE!"

Then the dealer turns over her final card, and if you have a pair of 10s or better, she pays out your winnings according to this schedule:

Player's Hand (bolded) Pay-Off (unbolded)
Pair of 10s or better Even money or 1-to-1
Two pair 2-to-1
Three-of-a-kind 3-to-1
Straight 5-to-1
Flush 8-to-1
Full House 11-to-1
Four-of-a-kind 50-to-1
Straight Flush 200-to-1
Royal Flush 1,000-to-1
••••(WOW!!!! I'm gonna be RICH!!!)••••

However, before you count yer chickens, remember that payout is gonna be different depending on if you're in Vegas or La Center. Also, PLAY SMART. The object is to get a pair of 10s or better, so if you have several cards with a ten-value or higher, what do you do? Annoy everyone around you and "LET IT RIDE!"


This game scares the shit out of honkeys, but once again, it's EASY. As the name states, it's a cross between the ancient Chinese dominos game, Pai Gow, and the rootin' tootin' American standby of poker. And here's how it goes

You're dealt seven cards, and the object is to use these cards to build two great hands: a "high hand" of five cards, and a "second-high hand" of two cards--both according to traditional poker rankings (two-of-a-kind, straight, flush, etc.).

Both of your hands must be higher than the dealer's in order to win. If one is higher and the other is lower, it's a tie. And if both of your hands are lower well, we know who the boo-hoo baby in this situation is.

Also working to your advantage is the Joker card. If you're dealt the Joker, you can use it as an ace or to complete a straight or a flush. After arranging each of your hands, simply lay them face down in the designated spots on the table, wait for the dealer to finish, and watch the money start pouring in. Pretty soon you'll realize Pai Gow is Pai GREAT! Okay that was stupid.

(That's not a game, by the way)

The best way to learn these games is to either stand behind players (not too close, please) and mentally play their hands, take a casino-sponsored class, or show up during the daytime when you can ask the dealer a lot of questions and not feel like a jackass. And while you may occasionally run into an asshole at the table who is intent on giving you "advice"--they rarely if ever know what they're talking about. When in doubt, ask the dealer. They are paid to be nice to you. There are also plenty of online game and strategy sites if you wanna bone up before sitting down at the table for real.

So c'mon! Give blackjack a rest, for chrissakes. The way I see it, you've got a lot of money--so why lose it all on just one table?