Pai Gow Poker Rules

Pai Gow Poker is an American casino game that is loosely based on the Chinese gambling game of Pai Gow, which is played with domino tiles. By contrast, Pai Gow Poker uses a deck of playing cards. Pai Gow Poker is one of the less popular games at brick and mortar casinos, perhaps because it is one of the slowest. It is also not so common at online casinos, but there are some casinos on the Internet that do offer a version or two. Here is a rundown of Pai Gow Poker rules for you. Read them over and then try out this fascinating game.

How to Play Pai Gow

Pai Gow Poker is a comparing game between player (up to six players at a land based casino) and dealer. A standard deck of 52 cards, plus one joker, is used to deal everyone seven cards each, face down. You must then separate your cards into two poker hands, one of five cards and the other of two. The two card hand must be composed of a pair or high ranking cards, and its value must be less than that of your five card hand. The object of the game is to beat both of the dealer’s hands with your corresponding hands. In other words, your five card hand must be worth more than his five card hand, and your two card hand needs to have a higher value than his two card hand.

Important to Remember

Unlike in traditional poker, the joker is not a completely wild card. Instead, it acts as a “bug,” meaning that it may be used as an ace or as any card needed to make up a straight or flush. The dealer is required to organize his cards according to a prescribed “house way,” while the player has more freedom. This has resulted in the development of Pai Gow Poker strategy, which recommends the best way to set up player’s hands according to the cards received.

Determining a Win

As mentioned, you are the winner at Pai Gow poker if each of your hands is worth more than the dealer’s corresponding hand. If each of your hands is worth less, you lose. If only one of your hands is worth more than the dealer’s, the result is a “push” (tie) and no one wins. And if both your hands are worth exactly the same as the dealer’s, the game goes to the dealer. It’s possible, by accident, to “foul” your hand, meaning to arrange your cards so that the two card hand is worth more than the five card hand, or to have an incorrect number of cards in each hand (for example, four and three). In such a case, either your hand will be re-arranged according to the house rules, or you may forfeit the hand altogether.