How To Play Pai Gow Poker

How To Play Pai Gow Poker – Detailed Guide

First and foremost, pai gow poker is not to be confused with pai gow, which is played with dominoes instead of cards.

Pai gow poker is an evolution of the classic Chinese game and is widely available to play among the best Microgaming casinos.

You can learn how to play pai gow poker by reading through this casino guide.

Pai gow poker rules

Pai gow poker can be a slow and relaxed experience compared to many other table games.

As such, it can be a pleasant game to chill out with, especially when considering that the game is low in risk, what with the relatively frequent volume of pushes that can occur.

The rules of pai gow poker dictate that the game is to be played with a standard deck of 52 cards – plus a joker.

As you would expect, the joker can be used in a variety of ways.

Technically, the joker is semi-wild in functionality and can be used as an ace or substitute for a range of hands, including straights, flushes, straight flushes, or royal flushes.

Something that you can also draw from the above rule is that pai gow poker uses poker hands.

For the most part, these are ranked in the order that you would expect.

At times, however, there can be an exception, with some pai gow poker casinos choosing to rank A-2-3-4-5 as the second-best hand in the game.

Once your stake has been placed, the game can begin.

At this point, the dealer will proceed to give you and themselves seven cards each.

For clarification, all seven of the cards shall be relevant to the game so don’t go thinking that some of them shall be irrelevant.

After receiving your seven cards, you have to arrange five of the cards to create a strong pai gow poker hand.

Meanwhile, the two remaining cards shall form a weaker hand that is nowhere close to the same level of quality.

As explained, the five-card is most likely judged on conventional poker rules, but make sure to check if an A-2-3-4-5 is treated any differently.

Obviously, it is only possible to make a pair with the two remaining cards – otherwise this will be a case of whether the dealer or the player has the higher card.

If you are able to beat the dealer on both comparisons, then you will receive an even-money payout on your wager.

In the event of a win and a loss, the wager shall be pushed back to your.

Finally, the result will be a loss if it transpires that your tie both of the hands or lose both of the hands.

At some pai gow poker tables, the dealer and players will take turns to be the banker, with players often choosing to bet against each other.

A benefit of being the banker is that they claim the stakes of any players who tie during a round of the game.

Pai gow poker payouts

Pai gow poker is one of the simplest online casino games, and much of that fact derives from the absence of complex payouts.

As stated, the wins are paid out as even-money when beating the dealer.

In addition, it can be possible to claim additional staked when serving as the bankers and a range of ties occur during the round.

Please note, however, that being the banker can often result in 5% commission having to be paid on winnings to the casino operator in question.

Pai gow poker house edge

The house edge of pai gow poker is quite reasonable at 2.69% when the dealer is serving as the banker.

By contrast, the house edge drops right down to 0.21% when you get to be the banker.

This is worth bearing in mind if you should ever have the chance to act as the banker for a round.

Pai gow poker tips and strategy

When playing pai gow poker, the challenge of strategy is to arrange your cards optimally, so that you will have a stronger five-card hand, but also a two-card hand that is capable delivering a complete victory against the dealer.

No straight or flush possible

Fundamentally, there are two broad scenarios to consider when arranging your cards in pai gow poker.

In the first case, you are going to assume that there is no possibility for a straight or flush.

This means that the following decisions make the most sense for your pai gow poker strategy:

5 aces: This can only be created with four aces and the joker. Place a pair of aces in the weak hand leave three of a kind in the stronger hand.

4 of a kind

• Plus three of a kind: make the best pair using the cards.

• Plus a pair: put the pair in the low hand.

• Four 2s, 3s, or 4s: Never split these cards.

• Four 5s: split if 10 high or better in weak hand.

• Four 6s: split if Q high or better in weak hand

• Four 7s or 8s: split if K high or better in weak hand.

• Four 9s, 10s, or Js: split if A high or better in weak hand.

• Four Qs, Ks, or As: split in two pairs across each hand.

3 of a kind

• Three aces: Ace and highest kicker go to low hand.

• Plus three of a kind: make the best low hand with remaining cards.

• Plus two pairs: Higher pair goes in low hand.

• Plus a pair: put the pair in the low hand.

• Other: highest two kickers go in low hand.

3 pairs: higher pair should go in the lower hand.

2 pairs:

• 6 or fewer: keep together with Q high in low hand, or split otherwise.

• 7 to 11: keep together with K high in low hand, or split otherwise.

• 12 to 16: keep together with A high in low hand, or split otherwise.

• 17 or higher: split the pairs into each hand.

Pair: make the best low hand.

No pair: make the best low hand.

Straight or flush possible

Next up, you can see how to form hands when a straight or flush is going to be possible.

Four of a kind: put A-A in the lower hand.

Three of a kind:

• Plus a pair: pair in lower hand unless making a straight or flush with 7-7 or better.

• Only three of a kind: Straights and flushes go in high hand; best other hand in low.

Three pairs: place any A-A pairs in the low hand.

Two pairs:

• 6 or fewer: keep together with Q high in low hand, or split otherwise.

• 7 to 11: keep together with K high in low hand, or split otherwise.

• 12 to 17: keep together with A high in low hand, or split otherwise.

• 18 or higher: split the pairs into each hand.

One pair:

• 9s, 10s, Js, or Qs: place A-K in low hand if present.

• Otherwise: straights and flush go high and best other cards in the low hand.

No pair: straights and flush in high hand, with best other cards in the low hand.

Once you grasp your strategic situations, pai gow poker is quite a straightforward game to play.

As you can see, it is quite clear how to optimally arrange the cards into hands that can stand the best chance of winning.


Mitko Atanasov

Mitko Atanasov is a highly respected expert in the online casino and slot review industry, boasting over 14 years of experience. He is dedicated to providing unbiased and accurate reviews, empowering players to make informed decisions. His vast knowledge and expertise make him a trusted source of information for both novice and experienced players.

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