Pai Gow Poker

Summary - Pai Gow Poker is a casino table game based on a Chinese dice game known as Pai Gow, however this version uses regular poker hand rankings.  The object of the game is to make the best 5 card and 2 card poker hand you can.

Pai Gow Poker is a casino table game which is easy to learn and is a great game for beginners to practice.  The game is played against the dealer and uses 5 card poker hand values, however in this variation players are dealt a total of 7 cards.  Pai Gow Poker is based on a Chinese dice game known as Pai Gow and is not to be confused with Pai Gow Poker which is a completely separate game.  Pai Gow Poker uses a 53 card deck (including a joker) and offers a number of betting options plus bonus payouts in which can be very lucrative for players.  The object of the game is to compete against the banker to make the best possible hand and win the game.  In this section, you will find a complete guide to Pai Gow Poker including how to play casino Pai Gow and where the best places to play Pai Gow Poker are online.

How To Play Pai Gow Poker

Below is a complete overview of how to play Pai Gow Poker at the casino, including the game rules, strategy and how betting and game play works for both players & the Pai Gow Poker dealer.  If you are unfamiliar with the game of poker in general, you may want to skip down to the hand ranking table to understand what each hand is and how it is ranked before you attempt to learn the Pai Gow Poker rules.

Pai Gow Table

  • Play begins with each player making a wager in their betting position
  • An automated dice roll then determines who will receive their cards first
  • All players who wager on the hand will be dealt 7 cards by the dealer
  • Player must then arrange their 7 cards into two separate poker hands
  • The first hand is a 5 card poker hand scored according to 5 card draw rules
  • The second hand is a 2 card hand which uses high cards and pairs to score
  • Best hand in two card hand is pair of aces and worst hand is 2, 3
  • Best hand in the 5 card hand is a 5 Aces, followed by normal hand ranks
  • Once player hands are arranged the dealer will arrange their 7 card hand
  • Dealer arranges their hand according to the house rules, varied per casino
  • Player and dealer hands are then compared and highest hand in each wins
  • In the event of a tie in either hand, the banker (dealer) will win the hand
  • If player wins both hands, they will be 1:1 minus a 5% dealer commission
  • If the player wins one and losses one hand, the entire bet will be a push
  • If the player losses both hands, they will lose their entire bet for that game

Pai Gow Poker Rules

Now that we know how a basic game of Pai Gow Poker would run, it's time to learn the additional betting and game play rules that are associated with the game.

  • When arranging hands, 2 card hand must not be higher than 5 card hand
  • Joker may be used to complete a straight, flush or straight flush in a hand
  • If not one of these hands, the Joker will be treated as an ace in your hand
  • Players also have the opportunity to be the banker in Pai Gow Poker
  • When the player is the banker, the 5% commission is still charged on a win
  • In order to be the banker, the player must have played against the house
  • Player may be banker on a rotational basis outlined by casino house rules
  • Player must have enough money to cover bets of the table to be banker

Pai Gow Poker Hands

Below is a table outlining the ranking of hands in Pai Gow Poker games, listed with the highest hand possible and progressing to the worst hand combinations.

Pai Gow Hands dESCRIPTION eXAMPLE
Five Of A Kind 4 ACES PLUS JOKER AS, AH, AD, AC, JOKER
Royal Flush 10, J, Q, K, A SAME SUIT 10H, JH, QH, KH, AH
Straight Flush CARDS IN SEQUENCE SAME SUIT 7S, 8S, 9S, 10S, JS
4 Of A Kind FOUR CARDS OF THE SAME RANK AH, AD, AS, AC, 2S
Full House 3 OF A KIND PLUS A PAIR 3D, 3H, 3C, 5S, 5C
Flush FIVE CARDS OF THE SAME SUIT 4H. 10H, QH, KH, 7H
Straight UNSUITED CONSECUTIVE CARDS 4H, 5D, 6S, 7C, 8D
Three Of A Kind 3 CARDS OF THE SAME RANK 5C, 5H, 5D, 2S, 10C
Two Pair A SET OF TWO PAIRS 8C, 8D, 9H, 9D, JS
One Pair TWO CARDS OF THE SAME RANK JC, JH, QS, 3D, 8C
High Card 5 RANDOM CARDS IN HAND 2S, 10C, QH, 7S, 3D

Pai Gow Poker Strategy

Strategy in Pai Gow Poker is primarily based on the variations between your bets as a player as well as how you play as the banker.  The absolute best way that a player can play Pai Gow Poker is according to the House Way which sets out a defined strategy for how to play every single hand you are dealt.  Below we have provided a summary of the basic rules associated with playing the house way.

House Way Rules: The best strategy that Pai Gow Poker players can use when arranging their two hands to maximize winning percentages against the house.  Please note that front is the 2 card hand and back is the 5 card Pai Gow hand.

Pai Gow Poker House Rules