How to Play Pai Gow Poker – Rules, Strategy and How to Deal

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Updated on: July 13th, 2021

How to play pai gow poker is a simple exercise involving two card hands. The object of Pai Gow Poker is to make the best two poker hands possible.  One hand must be made with 5 cards and the other with 2 cards out of the seven cards each player gets. The two hands together must be better than the dealer’s hands combined. There is hand combination hierarchy as in poker.Players who want to give the game a chance needs to understand the rules, strategy and different bets.

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How to Deal Pai Gow Poker

  • Firstly the cards are shuffled.
  • The table has seven numbered seats and the number one seat is the dealer’s.
  • Cards are handed first to the seat number which is randomly chosen and then in a clockwise order
  • Next the dealer hands out 7 cards to each seat regardless of how many players are at the table.
  • In a standard deck there will be four cards left which are discarded and aren’t used.
  • Afterwards each player sets their hand into the best 7 card or 2 card and 5 card hand possible.


What is the Joker in Pai Gow Poker?

Pai Gow Poker makes use of a deck of 52 cards with one joker. The joker is similar to what a wild is in online slots it can substitute any other card. to form a winning straight, flush, straight flush or royal flush. It also has the power of an Ace when it’s not in winning combination.

Pai Gow Poker Rules

  1. Bets are placed before the cards are dealt
  2. Each player gets a hand of seven cards
  3. There are no additional card draws from the deck, players have to separate their hand into five-card and two-card poker hands.

Best Pai Gow Poker Strategy

Players can only win if one or both their hands beat the dealer’s hand. A player wins when the, both the five card and pair beats both the dealer’s hands. In that case the player wins equal to 1:1 excluding the 5%house edge. If only one of the players hands beats the dealers hand the game is over and all players’ bets are returned. in Pai Gow Poker a tie is a guaranteed loss for the player. Where the players and the dealer’s hands match, it is known as a copy and the dealer wins all.

Even the players hands are better than the dealers, the low hand must be lower value than the front. Where the front hand is lower in ranking than the two-card hand. If the two-card hand it is referred to as a “foul” and the player loses.

How to Play Pai Gow Tiles

Pai Gow Tiles is the original Chinese version of the game. Instead of cards the game is played with domino tiles. Only six players may play unlike Pai Gow Poker which allows 7 Players.

  • The dominos are shuffled and each player gets 4 tiles.
  • Dice are rolled three times to choose which player gets the first dominoes.
  • Should the dice total be 8 the banker gets the first dominoes if the total is three then second player on the right of the banker gets the first stack and the rest are dealt anticlockwise.
  • Next the player must create the best two pairs with the dominos and form a high and low hand.
  • Player and dealer compare hands, the hand better than the dealer gets a payout.

How to Win Pai Gow Poker

The best chance of winning pai Gow Poker comes when you have the best hand. Players can take some hints from poker hands, however there are two exceptions. In Pai Gow Poker a joker serves an ace and the best hand is not a Royal Flush but a hand of five aces (Four aces and one joker).

Complete List of the Best Pai Gow Poker Hands

  1. Five Aces (made up of four aces and a joker)
  2. Royal flush- consisting A, K, Q, J, 10,
  3. Straight flush- a hand of similar suit five cards in sequence
  4. Four cards of the similar rank.
  5. Three similar cards and a pair.
  6. Flush- Five cards of differing suits in a sequence
  7. Three of a kind-Three cards of the similar rank.
  8. Two pair– a handmade of Two different pairs.
  9. Pair– this is a hand with Two cards of the same rank. The highest-ranking pair is two aces and the lowest is a two and a three.
  10. High Card this applies when you have none of the previously mentioned hands above, the highest card plays.

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