Pai Gow Poker

Pai Gow Poker

Pai Gow was founded in the mid-1980s by American casino owner (Sam Torosyan) (unfortunately without a patent) and has developed into a large casino that will be continued 30 years later.

Your simple goal is to form two poker cards – 5 card and 2 card. If your poker hands win both of your poker hands, you win.

If only one of your hands wins, that is encouragement. And if both hands lose, you lose the bet.

Simple is not it?

As you can imagine, the game itself is easy and fast to learn for anyone who plays poker and is perfect for live casino games that are fun, entertaining and slow.

How to Play Pai Gow Poker

As you might have guessed from the simple rules above, Pai Gow Poker is a game full of impulses. Lots of momentum.

That is cool. Sit at the Pai Gow table (live or online) and you can spend a lot of time playing the same bets – and making lots of money.

The chances of winning are clearly advantageous for winning a deal, making it a relatively low-risk casino game and a relaxed way to interact with other casino players.

For even more friendship, each player plays against the banker at the Pai Gow table, which means that the players usually win or lose together.

Another cool thing about Pai Gow?

If you are not sure how to set your hand, you can turn it over and ask the dealer. He will tell you how the home will define it and here you are!

How to Bet in Pai Gow Poker

Like most casino table games, Pai Gow Poker starts with players who bet before accepting cards.

This is the only bet you make on the length of your hand that must be within the minimum and maximum tables.

At some Pai Gow tables, you can also place bonus bets on whether to make a “premium” card. Most casinos are 3 types or better.

The better your premium hand is, the more casinos pay for your bets. Bonus bets do not depend on whether you win your first bet or not.

Expert Tip: Never use your bonus! House bonus bets are relatively large. By placing a bonus bet, you are guaranteed to lose money in the long run.

If you are not sure how to set your hand, you can turn it over and ask the dealer. He will tell you how the home will define it and here you are!

Pai Gow Poker – The Deal

After placing all the best players, each player (usually 6 players and one dealer) receives 7 cards face down from 53 deck cards (52 cards plus one wildcard).

Although not all seats on the table are occupied, the dealer gives 7 cards in each seat. The remaining four cards face down like piles of pain.

After the dealer takes the unused hands, each player can make both Pai Gow hands.

How to Arrange a Pai Gow Poker Hand

It is your job to arrange your cards in two poker hands.

The back hand (or big / high hand) is a standard 5 card poker card. The front hand (or small / low hand) only consists of two cards

What’s a Joker Worth in Pai Gow?

If you’re dealt the joker (yes, the joker is included in the deck for Pai Gow Poker play) it can be used to substitute for a card in 3 ways:

  • Can be any card to to complete a straight
  • Can be any suit to complete a flush
  • If it can’t be used for either of those, the joker will always be an ace

In the two-card hand a joker is always an ace.

Your 5-Card Hand MUST Be Higher

The only rule for dividing your two hands in Pai Gow is simple: the hand with five cards MUST exceed the hand with two cards. As an example:

You provide: A ♥ Q ♣ J ♠ 8 ♦ 8 ♣ 4 ♠ 2 ♥


Large: 8 ♦ 8 ♣ J ♠ 4 ♠ 2 ♥

Small: A ♥ Q ♣

As you can see, the big hand has a pair while the small hand only has one ace. If you do the opposite (put both 8 in your small hands), this is not allowed because small hands exceed large hands.

Important Note: If you are confused and cause your small hand to exceed your big hand, it is called “wiping a hand” and you lose your bet. So don’t do it!

Card 5 Your card is rated Standard Poker Hands, with the exception of some casinos:

Rights A-2-3-4-5 (also known as “wheel”) are the second highest right

This is a strange rule and many casinos have dropped it now, but many are still true. Check with your local home rules to be sure.

How to Set a Pai Gow Hand – Basic Pai Gow Poker Strategy

A common strategy is to divide your hands so that you get the best possible two-card hand

Because you can’t lose money if only one of your hands is better than the dealer, it’s a common strategy to divide your hands so that you get the best two-card hand (without crossing your hands with five cards).

Pie Gow how to play
The exception to this strategy is when you can make a five-card hand that is very strong like straight or better. In this scenario, your five-card card is almost certainly the winner, so you can play the freeroll in the two hands that you play.

When playing hands without a partner (ie a fully independent set of 7 cards) the conventional method is:

  • Leave the highest-ranked card in the back (big) hand
  • Put the second two highest-ranking cards in the front (small) hand

That makes your front hand as strong as possible without outranking the back hand.

If you have one pair in your dealt hand:

  • Play the pair in your big (high) hand)
  • Play your two other highest cards in your low hand

If you’re dealt two pairs you should always split them if you have:

  • A pair of Aces
  • Two high pairs (JJ-AA)
  • One high pair (JJ-AA) and one medium (77-TT)

Unless you have an Ace in your hand you should also split:

  • Two medium (77-TT) pairs
  • One high (JJ-AA) and one low (22-66) pair

Unless you have an Ace or a King you should always split:

  • One medium (77-TT) pair and one low (22-66) pair
  • Two low (22-66) pairs


  • Play 3-of-a-Kind in your High hand unless you have 3 Aces. If you have 3 aces, play a pair in your high hand and Ace-high in your low hand
  • Play straights and flushes in your high hand unless you also have two pair. Then split them according to above rules for two-pair hands
  • Split quads (4-of-a-kind) into two pairs if they are JJ or above
  • Keep 4-of-a-kind 6s or lower together
  • Keep 4-of-a-kind (77-TT) together only if you also have an Ace.

When you have a Full House:

  • Always play the pair in your 2-card hand and 3-of-a-kind in your high hand unless you also have a second pair
  • If so, play the higher of the two-pair in your low hand

If you have five Aces including Joker:

  • Always split them unless you also have a pair of Kings (In which case play all five Aces in your high hand)

Pai Gow Poker Dealer Rules or “House Way”

In every Pai Gow casino game, the dealer must lay his Pai Gow hand in a certain way. This is called the driveway.

This varies from casino to casino, but is listed in the game manuals of each casino. Check with local casinos like House Way.

How to Determine a Winning Pai Gow Hand

Once all hands are set you must compare your two hands to the corresponding two hands of the dealer.

  • If both of your hands are better than both of the dealer hands, you make 1:1 on your bet
  • If only one of your hands is better than the dealer’s, it’s a push
  • If both your hands are worse than the dealers, you lose your bet

Important note: In Pai Gow ties go to the dealer so if you have the exact same hand (eg a pair of 88s in your low hand) the dealer wins that hand.

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Pai Gow Poker – House Edge

The end of a house in Pau Gow was initially quite low and can be reduced even further (around 2.8%) when you learn how to adjust your hands well.

If you win, the casino gets a 5% commission, but some casinos decide not to. Without a home commission, bankers have a profit of 1.3%.

Play Free Pai Gow Poker Online

Now that you know the rules and simple strategies for cutting the edge of your house, your next step is to put pictures online in some free Pai Gow games.

Check out our list above for casinos that offer Pai Gow Poker. If you want to try it before you lose all real money, all have free or cash versions, you might try to familiarize yourself with the rules and play. Have fun!

Information That Gives You The Edge

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