Canada approved
Verified casinos
Interac Payments
100% tested

Pai Gow Poker – Learn how to play

With all the poker games online today, why choose to play Pai Gow Poker? This derivative of a Chinese domino game that has roots back to the Sung Dynasty is attracting more and more players from novice to experienced player. Pai Gow poker games offer a different challenge to the standard poker games you find online. If you are ready to try something new with easy to learn rules and opportunities for winning payouts, then this is the game for you to try. This Pai Gow poker guide will point you in the right direction for gameplay and for getting to know the game, don’t make the mistake of believing it is standard poker, it is different!

How To Play Pai Gow Poker

Never played Pai Gow Poker online before? Then you are in for a treat. For a first time player, it might be best to play Pai Gow Poker for fun on the free games before playing with your money. Get a feel for the game and test out some strategies and then head for the excitement of playing Pai Gow Poker for real rewards. A typical Pai Gow game screen usually has a background that reflects the Chinese connection and dragons are usually the favoured choice. The play area itself can range from simple graphics to looking at a real play table. The game is played out against the dealer and can be fast, furious and thoroughly enjoyable but make sure you know the differences that single this game out if you want to see some wins.

The play table can be similar to a Blackjack table, spaces for the bet or ‘ante’ and the ‘action’ buttons displayed in front of you. You will find the tables minimum, and maximum bet displayed and in the settings; you can customise most of the sounds and game speed. Pai Gow Poker commences once you have placed your bet into the betting space according to the table limit. Press the ‘Deal’ button, and your seven cards are dealt face-up. The dealer’s cards are dealt face-down. In Pai Gow Poker you are required to make two hands out of the seven, a five and a two card hand. You choose the card hands by clicking on them and press ‘Split’ or if you have chosen ‘House Way’ it will be done automatically for you – this is a good option for learning the game especially if you are playing Pai Gow Poker for fun.

Once you have chosen your card hands, press ‘Done’ the dealer’s hand is then played. The software decides the winning hands on Pai Gow Poker; if you win both hands, you will get your bet payout. If only one hand beats the dealer, you will get a ‘Push’ not losing your money but not winning either. A small commission is taken on the wins. Wins are always paid out even money whatever the winning hands. It is important to remember when sorting your cards that the five-card hand follows standard poker hand rules and has to outrank the two-card hand. The two-card hand can only be a high card or a pair. You commence the new game by pressing ‘Rebet’ or placing a different bet.

  • After first placing your bet, cards are dealt and need to be separated into two hands.
  • Choose to do this yourself by clicking on the cards. The press ‘Split’.
  • Choosing ‘House Way’ The separation will be done automatically for you.
  • After your win or loss you can choose to place another bet or click ‘Rebet’.

Pai Gow Poker Rules

Head off to an online Pai Gow Poker Casino and know you can play the game without knowing the Pai Gow Poker rules, but, it is nowhere as near fun or exciting as when you know them and far less rewarding! Pai Gow Poker uses standard poker hand rules, but as you now know, these are over two hands. The five-card hand has to have the higher ranked poker hand over the two card hand. You play Pai Gow Poker with a deck of 53 cards where the Joker is semi-wild. It can be used as an Ace or to complete a Straight, Flush and a Straight or Royal Flush. If utilised in the two-card hand it is always an ace. One difference you will find in the rankings is that of Ace-2-3-4-5. This is not the top straight hand, and it comes between A-K-Q-J-10 and K-Q-J-Q-10-9. Five Aces is the highest hand beating a straight flush.

Pai Gow Poker Strategies

In Pai Gow Poker the principles are straightforward, but an awareness of the game’s strategies is necessary to make those wins. They do not have to be over complicated, and you can always find a Pai Gow Poker tutorial online to help you out. This Pai Gow Poker guide will share some of the tips garnered from our experiences. As said, you need to know poker hand rules, but you also have to adapt them to meet with playing with two hands. For example, in a standard poker you would not split your Aces, would you? In Pai Gow Poker games, winning strategy indicates you need to if you want to form two strong hands. Say you have been dealt four Aces and 3,6,7. Standard poker would have you smiling in glee and keeping the four aces for your high hand. Not in this game as doing that would leave with only a seven high for your Low hand; playing an Ace there would mean you could only be beaten by a dealers pair, much better play for winning both hands.

Knowing when and where to play the pairs you are dealt, is a very useful strategy in Pai Gow Poker. If your seven cards have only one pair, this is better kept in the ‘Backhand’, the five card hand. If you are dealt three pairs, place the highest pair in the ‘Front Hand’, the two card hand. Now with three of a kind, do not split unless you have Aces. The strategy is an essential part of playing this game and can be learnt from guides and tutorials, and of course playing. Another way to introduce yourself to winning strategies is to take the option of ‘House Way’. This selects the hands for you automatically, following a set of rules that are applied to the dealer’s hand. By playing this option for a time, you see the strategies in action and decided your own.

  • Jokers are semi wild, but can only be used as an ace in the two-card hand.
  • Do not forget how important winning the two-card hand is if you want a win rather than a ‘Push’
  • Remember while standard Poker hand ranks apply. Pai Gow Poker has differences – learn them!

Different Types of Pai Gow Poker

Pai Gow Poker as we have learnt, evolved from a game of Chinese dominoes and became the game it is today in 1985. First played in the land casinos it gained popularity very quickly. In these casinos, you would find six spots for players and one for the dealer; players also have the option to be the dealer. This option can give an advantage over the ‘house edge’, but you need to be able to bankroll the game! In land based casinos, if a place is not occupied the dealer still deals the cards known as a ‘Dragon Hand’. This game can see your money turn over fast, but do set your limits so that you maintain a healthy money management strategy. Of course, you can play for free online, just for fun or to learn the game. Decide to play for real money, and then you need to consider which casino is offering the best bonuses that can be played against your preferred betting limits.

Tips And Tricks For Pai Gow Poker Beginners

Pai Gow Poker is a great game for beginners to play as long as you know poker hand ranking if you don’t then look online for some of the great tutorials to assist you. Playing for free is recommended as is exploring our guides. Most online games offer ‘House Way’, take this option, study the choices to learn how to sort your hand for the best possible play. Payouts can seem confusing for a novice player, you need to remember you only get an even payout on winning both hands and the house takes a commission from that. Winning only one hand gives you a ‘Push’ meaning your bet is not taken but nothing is paid out on it, It does not have a commission charge against it. For any novice player, the best way to learn is to play and play again, study your moves and learn from them.


Glossary Of Terms Used In Pai Gow Poker

  • Hi Hand – This is the Five card hand also known as the back hand
  • Low Hand – This is the Two card hand also known as the front hand
  • House Way – The rules that are followed to organize the dealer’s hand, can also be an option for a player to choose.
  • Split – The actions of separating hands
  • Commision – The house takes a 5% commission when you win both hands

Frequently Asked Questions

What does Pai Gow mean in English?

Pai Gow means to ‘make nine’. Pai Gow Poker is derived from the Chinese game played with tiles and became a popular Las Vegas game in the 1980’s. There is some debate over who deserves the credit. Sam Torosian or Fred Wolf but its connection to the ancient Chinese game is in no doubt, possibly brought to American with the Chinese immigrants working on the railroads.

Is it normal to get a lot of ‘Push’ hands?

In online Pai Gow Poker, it is quite expected to see a number of Pushes, so be patient. The house edge is 2.38%, so you still get a good return for your bet, but Pushes are running at around 40%. This is a game of strategy and skill, and while play can be fast, it does demand attention to make the most of your hands.

What is the worse possible hand in Pai Gow Poker?

The worst possible hand in Pai Gow Poker is when you don’t have any pairs. You then have to look for your two highest cards and ‘Spilt’ them. The highest of the two for the five card hand with the next highest for the two card hand and hope the dealer has a worse hand than you. Information For All iGamblers is your ‘go to’ website for all information related to online gambling. Find the best casinos to play that offer your preferred games like the exciting Pai Gow Poker. Keep up to date and aware of all the latest happenings in the online gambling world, honest reviews, games guides and game reviews to enhance your play.