Pok Deng is a hugely popular card game in Asia, especially Thailand, where it's also called Pok Kao. This game has simple-to-understand rules and is quite similar to baccarat with an element of video poker hand rankings. Some players can even argue that the game is more blackjack than baccarat.
But although this game has been confined to Asian land-based casinos for some time, it's now making its way into the best casino sites globally. Recently, in April 2022, SA Gaming released the live version of this game, hoping to introduce it to card game lovers. So, what is live Pok Deng, and how is it played? Read on to find out!
Pok Deng is a card game played by five or six players against the live dealer or banker. In the SA Gaming version, five players compare their hand values against the banker separately. Each player gets two cards, and the hand closest to nine wins the round. Now you know why it's considered a live baccarat 'cousin.'
To start playing the game, choose the number of bets and place the chips in the player's position. The betting round lasts for 30 seconds, meaning you have enough time to organize yourself and place the right bet.
After the betting round, the dealer will issue two face-down cards to each player's position and two face-down cards to the banker's position. Remember that the game uses eight decks of cards with no Joker. Also, the dealer will manually shuffle the cards at the beginning of a new show and insert the "cut" card. If they draw the "cut" card, the round will end, and a new shoe will start.
As for the scoring method, 9 is the highest score, and 0 is the lowest. Cards 2 to 9 represent their face values, and an Ace equals a single point. Also, you'll score zero points if you get K, Q, J, and 10. Of course, you can use these card values to create a Pok Deng strategy, especially in a game that allows drawing the third card to make a straight or three-of-a-kind.
This is where the similarities with poker start. Whenever a player or banker wins the round, they can create a unique pattern: a flush, special pairs, a face card combo, and more. In some games that allow playing with three cards, making a straight, straight flush, three-of-a-kind is legal. Note that when particular combinations appear, the respective hands count as anything between 7 and 8 points.
So, without any further ado, below are the special combinations and their hand rankings in Pok Deng by SA Gaming:
Sometimes you can find the banker and the player having the same pattern or hand value as the ones listed above. For example, both can have a single-face card of no point. If that happens, the round ends in a tie or a push.
For starters, the system will deduct the player's bet twice, the extra money being the "withholding amount." SA Gaming doesn't explain in detail why they do so. But that aside, ensure you have sufficient balance before playing Pok Deng at the best live casino sites. This also applies to other live casino games.
Generally, the odds of winning in the player position are 1:1. For example, if you place a 100-coin bet, the total deduction from your account will be 200 coins. Now, assuming you get 6-7 and the banker gets 4-8, the round will end 3-2 in favor of the player. This means you'll get a total payout of 300 coins (200-coin bet + 100-coin win).
If luck strikes, you can win the round with a flush or any unique hand combinations listed initially. You can hit a Q-J of diamonds against the banker's J-10 of spades. Here, you'll have 7.3 points against the dealer's 7.2. Such a scenario will give players a 2:1 payout. Put simply, a 100-coin bet will return 200 coins. But be mindful if the dealer's hand is stronger because your losing odds will be 2:1.
Meanwhile, getting the special pair presents the most profitable situation in Live Pok Deng. That's because you'll get a massive 11:1 payout, meaning a 100-coin bet will return 1.100 coins. Also, the house won't withhold any amount for special pairs. But if you create a special pair and the banker has 6 points, like 4-2, 4-5, or 3-3, the payout is 1:1.
The live casino always has a mathematical edge in all online casino games. Without this advantage, most of them would close shop. The house edge guarantees them their share whenever a player wins or loses a bet. In Live Pok Deng by SA Gaming, the house edge can drop as low as 1.65% when using an optimal strategy. This is one of the lowest house edges you can face in the casino.
So, which strategy can reduce the house edge when playing Pok Deng?
Forget about the slight similarities with poker. Pok Deng is purely a game of chance like baccarat, roulette, and slot machines. The thing is that players do nothing after placing a bet on Live Pok Deng. For this reason, we play the game for fun and have a budget. Playing with a bankroll allows you to prolong your stay on the table and win an amount in the long run. But even with that, always leave the table after adding a specific amount to the bankroll.
This point is somewhat connected to bankroll management. Effective management is easier with a betting system like Martingale, Paroli, and Fibonacci. Consider this; players have almost a 50% chance of receiving a 1:1 payout. This means a betting system like Martingale will recoup your losses whenever one or two wins come knocking. But you'll need a big bankroll for these systems to favor you.
Some Pok Deng variants can allow players to draw an additional card or hit depending on the situation. For example, if you receive two cards with a total score of less than four, the best strategy is to hit. But if the total value is 8 or 9, stand pat because your probability of creating a Pok is high.
If Pok Deng is an entirely new concept to you, play the demo version before risking real money. Unfortunately, players cannot use live casino bonuses on live games. But SA Gaming knows this fact pretty well. Visit the official website and play the live demo version to understand how the studio feels and the payout frequency. There are also multiple demo videos.
Now you should be ready to play Pok Deng at SA Gaming live casinos. The idea of this popular Thai card game is to create a stranger hand than the banker's with just two cards. This is why it's advisable to lower expectations and play the game strictly for fun. But if you want to win often, play early and aggressively before the house edge catches up with you.