Yaamava’ Resort & Casino Gambler Wins $747,126 Fortune Pai Gow Jackpot

One lucky gambler at Yaamava’ Resort & Casino, the largest of the Indian casinos in California, highlighted their Halloween weekend with a major jackpot.

That guest, who was not named by Yaamava’, won a fortune pai gow poker progressive jackpot of $747,126 after getting dealt a seven-card straight flush (including one joker). That’s by far the largest jackpot won at Yaamava’ dating back to May 19, which is as far back as the casino’s jackpot winners list goes.

The odds of being dealt a seven-card straight flush in pai gow are 1-in-786,444, according to Wizard of Odds.

For some perspective of just how rare that is, consider:

  • Getting struck by lightning — 1-in-15,300
  • Winning an Olympic medal — 1-in-662,000
  • Bowling a perfect game — 1-in-11,500
  • Dying from bee stings — 1-in-59,507
  • Living to 100 — 1-in-3,777

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The winning hand was dealt the 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 9 of clubs, plus a joker for the seven-card straight flush. The odds of doing this without a joker: 1-in-4,816,971.

How to Play Pai Gow Poker

Players are dealt seven cards and must create the best two hands — a five-card hand and a two-card hand.

If their hands are better than the banker’s hands, they win and are paid even money. When one hand wins and one loses, it’s considered a push and nothing happens with the wager. If both hands lose to the banker’s, the wager is lost. A “copy” happens when both hands are tied with the banker’s — and bankers win all copies.

The best five-card hand in pai gow is five aces (four suited aces plus a joker). Then, a royal flush ranks second, followed by a straight flush, four-of-a-kind, full house, and flush.

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The best two-card hand is two aces. When determining the strength of a pair, the cards are tiered as follows:

  • High: Ace, King, Queen, Jack
  • Medium: 10, 9, 8, 7
  • Low: 6, 5, 4, 3, 2

So, a high-high pair would rank higher than a high-medium pair, for instance.

An important note: The player’s five-card hand must rank higher than their two-card hand.

About the Author

Matthew Bain

Matthew Bain started as News Editor and Content Manager at California Casinos in 2022. Before that, he spent six years as a sports reporter and then deputy sports editor for the Des Moines Register, during which time he won nine statewide journalism awards, including the Genevieve Mauck Stoufer Outstanding Young Iowa Journalists Award. As deputy sports editor, Matthew oversaw the Register's recruiting coverage while also innovating the outlet's high school sports coverage. Matthew graduated from San Diego State and grew up in California, but he's somehow a Boston Celtics fan. Long story.