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The optimal bit-wise demodulator for M-ary pulse amplitude modulation (PAM) over the additive white Gaussian noise channel is analyzed in terms of uncoded bit-error rate (BER). The BER analysis is based on studying the bit patterns that form a labeling. New closed-form BER expressions for 4-PAM with any labeling are developed. Moreover, closed-form BER expressions for 11 out of 23 possible bit patterns for 8-PAM are presented, which enable us to obtain the BER for 8-PAM with some of the most popular labelings, including the binary reflected Gray code and the natural binary code. Numerical results show that, regardless of the labeling, there is no difference between the optimal demodulator and the symbol-wise demodulator for any BER of practical interest (below 0.1).