Pai Gow Poker Online

Ready for the ultimate combination of luck and skill? Get ready to experience the thrill of Pai Gow poker! This Chinese card game will keep you on your toes with an exciting challenge that rewards players who use strategic tactics.
Players are dealt seven cards which they must split into two hands - a five-card high hand and a two-card low hand. The goal? To beat both the dealer's hands with your own! Think you've got what it takes? Either way, we are sure this Pain Gow poker guide will be of great help when you decide to start playing the game.

Ready for the ultimate combination of luck and skill? Get ready to experience the thrill of Pai Gow poker! This Chinese card game...

Written By: Max Dernaker Checked By: Thomas Berg Last Updated

Key takeaways

  • Pai Gow poker is a combination of a classic Chinese game and 7 card poker
  • The game uses a traditional deck of cards and poker hand rank
  • If the player’s hands beats the hands of the house dealer, he wins

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About Pai Gow Poker

Pai Gow, also called double hand poker, is a combination of an ancient Chinese game and seven cards poker.

In the Chinese game, players use Pai Gow tiles to make combinations according to certain rules. In pai gow poker, players use a standard deck of 52 cards plus one joker, and the game is played on a blackjack-style table.

The game’s goal is to create two poker hands out of the seven cards you’re dealt, with one hand consisting of five cards and one hand consisting of two. Your goal in playing the game is to beat both of the dealer’s hands with your own.

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How to Play Pai Gow Poker

As Pai Gow Poker is a lesser-known casino game than, for example, blackjack or roulette, there is a chance that you are not familiar with its rules. It can seem like a complicated game for a beginner, but once you get the hang of it, it is both simple and exciting! Below we will explain the basics so that you can get started with this entertaining card game.

What You Need to Know to Get Started:

  • Classic poker hands and poker hand rankings
  • Minimum and maximum bets at your chosen table
  • Winning hands are paid even money.
  • Two losing hands lose the full Pai Gow poker wager, and the banker wins.
  • If the dealer wins one hand and the player wins the other, the result is a push. It doesn’t matter if the player beat the dealer’s high hand or low hand. In this case, they have the same value and no money exchanges hands.

How To Play Pai Gow:

Step 01

Choose a Table

Whether you are playing in a land-based casino or an online casino with live dealer games, the first step will be to find a pai gow poker table with an open spot. Once you're seated, you'll need to place a bet to start the game. Ensure you know the table's minimum and maximum bet limits before placing your wager.

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Step 02

Dealer Deals Your Cards

The dealer will deal you seven cards face down, and you'll need to separate them into two hands: one hand of five cards and one hand of two cards. The five-card hand should be the stronger of the two hands, while the two-card hand should be the weaker of the two. This is important as you will be disqualified if your hands do not match up to these rules.

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Step 03

Place Your Cards on the Table

Once you've arranged your cards, you'll place them face down on the table in front of you. You can't change the order of your hands once you've placed them down, so make sure you're happy with your choices before proceeding.

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Step 04

Dealers Turn

After all of the players have placed their hands on the table, the dealer will reveal their own hand and arrange it into two hands according to the same rules that you followed. The dealer must always arrange their hands according to a predetermined set of rules, so you don't have to worry about any shenanigans.

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Step 05

Beat the Dealers Hands to Win

Your goal is to beat both of the dealer's hands with your own. If you win both hands, you'll receive an even money payout on your bet. If you win one hand and lose the other, your bet is considered a push, and you'll neither win nor lose any money. If you lose both hands, your bet becomes forfeit to the casino.

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Good to know About Pai Gow

When starting a new Pai Gow poker game, the dealer will split the 53 cards into seven face-down piles. To decide who gets to start, they usually make use of a number generator, but if one isn’t available or if the game is played the original way, a dice cup will be used.

There are specific rules when it comes to the dice cup, but as a live casino player, you won’t need to worry about it. If you play Pai Gow in a land-based casino, you can simply ask the dealer for guidance.

Understanding Hand Rankings in Pai Gow Poker

Here is a simple breakdown of the Pai Gow Poker hand hierarchy:

High Hand Rankings

  1. 5 Aces (with the use of a joker)
  2. Royal Flush
  3. Straight Flush
  4. Four of a Kind
  5. Full House
  6. Flush
  7. Straight
  8. Three of a Kind
  9. Two Pair
  10. Pair
  11. High Card

The high-hand rankings follow the same order as regular poker. The highest ranking hand is the Royal Flush, which consists of a 10, J, Q, K, and A of the same suit in any order. The lowest-ranking hand is a High Card, which means the hand doesn’t have any of the above combinations.

Low Hand Rankings

  1. Pair
  2. High Card

Regarding the low-hand rankings, players can only achieve a Pair or a High Card.

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Examples of Pai Gow Poker Hands

Let’s look at a few examples of Pai Gow Poker hands and how they rank against each other.

High Hand: 10, J, Q, K, A of Hearts

Low Hand: 6 of Clubs, 7 of Spades

This is a Royal Flush, the highest-ranking hand in the game. The low hand doesn’t have any pair but this doesn’t matter since the high hand beats every other hand.

High Hand: 7, 7, 7, 8, 8

Low Hand: 2 of Spades, 2 of Hearts

This hand contains Three of a Kind in the high hand and a Pair in the low hand. Three of a Kind ranks higher than Two Pair and Pair in Pai Gow Poker.

High Hand: A, A, 10, 8, 2

Low Hand: 6 of Spades, 4 of Clubs

This hand contains Two Pair in the high hand and a High Card in the low hand. Two Pair beats a single Pair in the high hand and there are no pairs in the low hand.

In Pai Gow Poker, a High Card can be a winning hand only in the two-card hand, which is the low hand. However, in the five-card hand, which is the high hand, a High Card is considered the weakest hand and will not be a winning hand unless the dealer is unable to make a hand that beats it. It is always advisable to try to create the strongest possible hand rather than depending on a High Card to win.

Overall, understanding hand rankings is essential to becoming a successful Pai Gow Poker player.

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Pai Gow Poker Side Bets

It is common for top online casinos to offer a set of special side bets in Pai Gow Poker. These bets usually have a higher house edge, but when played right they can be profitable, at least short-term.

Fortune Pai Gow poker is a popular side bet among many players and includes all seven cards in the hand. The side bet pays out according to the player’s seven-card hand. In many casinos, the side bet must be placed before any cards are dealt for it to count.

The prices may vary between different casinos and can be anything from a trip to a progressive jackpot for a natural seven-card straight flush.

Paytables may vary much from casino to casino, as do the selection of side bets. For example, it’s common to see side bets such as; Dealer Bonus, Jackpot, Emperor’s Challenge, Progressive, and many more.

Pai Gow Poker Strategy

Pai Gow Poker is a game of chance, but some strategies can help you improve your chances of winning. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when playing Pai Gow Poker:

  • Split your hands strategically: The key to winning in Pai Gow Poker is to create two hands that are better than the dealer’s hands. This means that you should split your cards in such a way that you have a strong high hand and a decent low hand.Some general principles to follow: Always put your highest ranking hand in the five-card hand and the second and third highest in the two-card hand. If you have two pairs, always split them into a pair for the two-card hand and a higher-ranking pair for the five-card hand.
  • Save your joker for the high hand: This is another Pai Gow strategy that can be useful. The joker is a wild card in Pai Gow Poker and can be used to complete a straight or a flush, or it can be used as an ace. Given this versatility, it’s usually best to save the joker for the high hand since it can potentially help you make a stronger hand.
  • Don’t always aim for the bonus: If you’re playing Pai Gow with a Fortune Bonus Bet, remember that this bonus is entirely optional and doesn’t affect your main game. It’s always good to go for the bonus if you have a chance, but don’t sacrifice your strategy in the main game just to win it.
  • Observe and learn from other players: Many experienced Pai Gow Poker players use specific rules or a Pai Gow Poker strategy that helps them decide how they want to split their hands. Observing and learning from other players’ strategies can give you ideas on how to split your hands in a more strategic way.
  • Manage your bets: It is always good to practice good bankroll management while you play Pai Gow Poker. Be aware of the table minimum and maximum before placing your bet.

Pai Gow Live

The best online Pai Gow experience you will, without a doubt, get if you play Pai Gow Poker live. Many online casinos offer a selection of game Pai Gow poker live, even if the selection isn’t as big as when it comes to other casino games.

When choosing to play Pai Gow live, you will get to experience a similar lively atmosphere to the one you would in a land-based casino. With real-time interaction with other players, you can get tips and tricks on how to play more effectively.

You’ll also get to enjoy the advantage of communicating with the live dealer and get first-hand advice on what kind of side bets are available in the specific table.

FAQ: Pai Gow

Pai gow is a Chinese gambling game that translates to “make nine” – referring to the original form of the game which is closer to a form of domino.

The rules of Pai Gow are fairly simple. Each player and the dealer receive seven cards that have to be split into a five-card hand (the high hand) and a two-card hand (the low hand). The goal is to beat the dealer by creating two winning poker hands that beat the banker’s two-card hand and the banker’s five-card hand.

The best hand in Pai Gow is a five-high straight flush. However, with the help of an extra joker, it is possible to create a hand with five aces that will beat all other hands that rank high.

The best way to split your cards in Pai Gow poker depends on what cards you are given. If possible, the best hand is a Straight Flush. it can be beneficial to save your joker for use in your high card hand as it can potentially help you make a stronger combination of cards.

Most online casinos that feature Pai Gow Poker offer side bets. Side bets are optional and can increase your winnings if you make a winning hand. To check what side bets are offered in the specific online casino, simply ask the dealer.

Yes, it is possible to win real money when playing Pai Gow Poker online. Just make sure you practice bankroll management and understand the rules of the game before risking your hard-earned cash. It’s also wise to keep an eye out for promotions and bonuses that can help increase your potential winnings.

Yes, the joker is a wild card and can be used to complete a straight or a flush. It can also be used as an ace. Given its versatility, it’s usually best to save the joker for use in your high card Pai Gow Poker hand, as it can potentially help you make a stronger combination of cards.

The odds of winning at Pai Gow vary depending on the specific game. Generally speaking, when playing Pai Gow Poker, your chances of beating the house are much higher than in other casino games such as slots or the table game craps.