How to Play Pai Gow

Pai Gow is a form of poker where the object of the game is to create 2 separate poker hands out of the seven cards dealt to start the game. The first hand must contain 5 cards and the second hand 2 cards. The 5 card hand must be the higher of the 2 hands (meaning your 2 card hand can’t be able to beat your 5 card hand). Normal poker hand rankings apply. In order to win, both of the player’s hands must beat the dealers hands. If not the result is a push.

One reason for the popularity of Pai Gow poker is that it is slower paced than regular poker and therefore more relaxing to play.

If you don’t understand poker, it would be wise to visit the following like HERE (link) before playing Pai Gow poker.

Here are the general rules:

  • Although standard poker hand rankings do apply, there is one exception. This is referred to as the “wheel”. The “wheel” is the following hand (A-2-3-4-5). It is considered the second highest straight in the game.
  • Joker’s are semi wild in the sense that they can be used for as on Ace (usually in your 2 card .hand) or to complete one of the following ONLY: Straight, Flush, Straight Flush and Royal Flush.
  • To begin the game 7 cards are dealt to the player and dealer.
  • From those 7 cards the player must make the best 5 card hand he can and a 2 card hand.
  • The best possible 2 card hand is a pair or high card (this makes it easier to figure things out).
  • After the player has set his 2 hands, the dealer will turn over his cards and make his 2 hands according to the “house way”. (Not sure if they wanna provide a link to this)
  • The 2 high hands will be compared as will the low hands. In the even that there is a tie (you and the dealer have the same 2 card hand for example) the dealer wins any tie.
  • If the player looses both hand they loose their money
  • If the player looses one and wins one, it is considered a push
  • If the player wins both, they win even money (1:1) minus 5% commission.

Just like regular poker, Pai Gow poker does involve strategy. The focus in Pai Gow strategy has to do more with how you should split the 7 cards dealt into 2 hands. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • If your hand is completely unconnected, play your Highest card in your 5 card hand and your Second and Third highest cards in your 2 card hand
  • If you only have 1 pair, play that in your 5 card hand and your two highest cards left in your 2 card hand
  • If you have 2 pairs, you should split them if one of them is a pair of Aces (remember that your 5 card hand MUST be stronger, therefore in this case the pair of Aces would go into your 5 card hand).
  • You should also split 2 pairs if both of them are high pairs (an example of a high pair would be anything Jacks or higher)

Of course there are many other Pai Gow strategies available once you get into the swing of the game. With these tips we have provide, you have all you need to get started on your experience playing this exciting game.