Twist'em, or Double-Hand Dominoes

This is a casino table game designed and patented by Olympian Gaming. It is a version of the Chinese domino game Pai Gow played with a Western domino set instead of the traditional Chinese set.

Equipment

The game uses a double six domino set, gaming table and chips for betting.

The Deal

Each player places a bet receives three tiles. One player is the bank for the game, or the house can be the permanent bank. The bank collects a percentage of all wins as its advantage.

The Play

Each player arranges his tiles in a line, side to side, to form a top hand and a bottom hand. That is, you total the pips reading across the three tiles. For example, if the player held [2-3], the tile could have the 2 was above the line and the 3 below, or flip it and have the 3 on top and the 2 below.

When the player is finished arranging the tiles, they are placed face-down on the table.

The dealer exposes three banker tiles and arranges them in the same way, to form a top and bottom hand.

Scoring

As in Pai Gow, each player's goal is to form two hands which respectively outrank the dealer's two hands. The scoring is done as in Baccarat or Pai Gow; total each hand and drop the tens digit. Nine is high, zero is low.

If the player has set the tiles incorrectly by having the top hand outrank the bottom, the dealer simply turns all the player's tiles 180 degrees -- the player does not automatically lose.

If both player hands win, or if one hand wins and the other ties, the player wins even money.

If one wins and the other loses, the wager is a push. This means that neither the player nor the dealer collects the bet.

If neither player hand clearly wins, the player loses the wager to the banker. The banker gains the advantage of winning when both hands tie.

In house-banked jurisdictions, each player plays only against the house dealer and no commission is necessary. In player-banked casinos, a fee is collected prior to the deal and the player-banker position should rotate in a regular fashion.

Comments & Strategy

See this archive copy of the Double-Hand Dominoes page at Olympian Gaming for more details.

In player-banked play, Double-Hand tiles can outperform Pai Gow by 12.5%.

The game is just as fast as Pai Gow, but with 28 tiles in the standard double-six domino set, the game can accommodate a maximum of one dealer or player/banker and eight other players. Pai Gow can only accommodate one dealer and seven other players. The extra player gives the house an advantage.

In addition, the push percentage drops from around 40% in Pai Gow to under 22%, meaning more hands are won and lost than pushed.

The ranking of Double-Hand tiles is far easier to learn than Pai Gow's ranking scheme, so players can begin play immediately.

There are eight ways to play each hand, but they come in pairs that are rotated 180 degrees. For example:

  • [2-3] [5-6] [1-4] = [8-3]
  • [3-2] [6-5] [4-1] = [3-8]

  • [2-3] [6-5] [1-4] = [9-2]
  • [3-2] [5-6] [4-1] = [2-9]

  • [2-3] [6-5] [4-1] = [2-9]
  • [3-2] [5-6] [1-4] = [9-2]

  • [3-2] [6-5] [1-4] = [0-1]
  • [2-3] [5-6] [4-1] = [1-0]

Clearly the last arrangement is the worst choice; it can be beaten by the other two arrangements. There are two ways to get [9-2] in this case; neither one of them is favored over the other. It is not clear if [9-2] is better than [8-3] until you have done the odds and made a decision to try for a win or to try for a push. Doubles limit the possibilities and obviously two or three doubles can be played only one way.

Olympian Gaming claims the House Way for Double-Hand Dominoes can be described in two sentences, can be taught to a dealer in under ten minutes, and requires no lengthy training or memorization aides.