It would be fair to say that the relatively sedate game of Pai Gow Poker, a.k.a. Double Hand Poker, rarely attracts headlines. However, so-called Face Up Pai Gow Poker, which is played with a fully-exposed dealer hand, did so at Harrah’s Las Vegas Casino & Hotel in November, 2021.
Professional player Quoclong Pham, from Vancouver, Washington, was visiting Sin City for business and pleasure and, early in his gambling session, turned up the third highest possible hand in the game. His combined seven-card straight flush – that is, seven consecutive cards of the same suit, one of which was substituted with a ‘semi wild’ joker, as allowed by the rules of the game – was sufficient to win the ‘Mega Progressive Jackpot’ of $1,393,273. Fortunately, Pham was shrewd enough to invest an additional $5 on a side bet that allowed him to qualify for the Mega Progressive Jackpot.
The newly-made millionaire reportedly had no extravagant plans for spending his winnings and intended to put the money away for a rainy day. Understandably non-plussed by the whole affair, Pham said, ‘It’s just surreal. It’ll hit me tomorrow once it hits the account.’
Coincidentally, Pham was not the only lucky gambler to become an instant millionaire. Earlier the same day, at Circa Resort & Casino in Downtown Las Vegas, ‘Nikki’, from Southern California, won a progressive jackpot worth $1,075,234 jackpot on a ‘Wheel of Fortune’ slot machine.