Pai Gow Poker

How to Play Pai Gow:

Pai Gow is a form of Poker with a twist which sees the player being dealt seven cards, with which they must create two hands. One hand of five cards (“high” or “back” hand) and another hand of two cards (“low” or “front” hand), they then play these hands against the dealer’s two hands to see who wins.

The five card hand is played the same as that of original poker, and the two card hand has a strongest value of a pair of aces. If both hands beat the dealer then you usually win even money (with possible commission introduced depending on which casino you play at), if only one hand wins then your bet is returned and the game is declared a “push”.

However, if both hands are tied with the dealer then this is declared a win for the dealer.

Rules of Pai Gow:

The ranking of cards is very similar to original poker apart from one or two differences, these being that a Joker card is used as the 53rd card, it can be used as an Ace or as a high card to finish a straight, flush, straight flush or a royal flush.

Also, in conventional poker, an Ace-2-3-4-5 is the lowest possible straight but in Pai Gow the same straight would be treated as the second highest, beaten only by a straight of Ace-King-Queen-Jack-10.

Tips/Strategy:

The best tip to give any Pai Gow novice is to, if they offer it, check the “House Way” option. Once enabled, this option will arrange your own cards automatically in the same way the dealer arranges their own cards.

This will of course help you eliminate any card arranging mistakes that may occur in your first few games of Pai Gow, every little helps! Another tip to remember is, when you set down your two hands (high/low or back/front), always make sure that the high/back hand is higher than the low/front hand, else your game will be deemed as a “foul” and you’ll lose your bet.