How to Play Pai Gow Poker to Your Advantage 

Sarah Swanepoel

Pai Gow Poker, a card game, was invented in the 1980s and can include one to six players in addition to a dealer. The game employs a one-of-a-kind deck of 53 cards, which is based on the standard poker deck of 52 cards but includes an additional Joker card that serves as a “wild card.” 

The Fundamentals of Online Pai Gow Poker 

Each player is dealt seven cards, which must be separated into two hands: a five-card hand known as the “High Hand” or “Hand in Front,” and a two-card hand known as the “Low Hand” or “Hand Behind.” 

Taking a Closer Look at the Hands 

Following the dealing of both hands, there is a showdown in which each hand is compared to the “Banker hand” that matches it. The “Banker hand” is held and organized by the Dealer or, in some forms of the game, by whoever is holding the Bank for that round of play. 

Who Has the Advantage in Pai Gow? 

Players that have two hands that are stronger than both of the Banker’s hands are paid even money, less a commission for the House, which is usually around 5%. If a player has two hands and only one of them wins, the game is a “push,” which means there is no clear winner and all bets are returned. 

When a player loses both of their hands, the Banker wins and keeps all of the bets deposited

We refer to two identical hands as “copies” on the highly uncommon occasion that they are identical. In most places, the Banker keeps all of the copies, however in others, the deal is decided by whichever of the remaining hands has a higher rank. The House Rules determine this. 

Pai Gow Poker Guidelines 

The usual poker rankings are used while examining five-card high hands (Hand in Front). These are their names: High Card, Pair, Two Pair, Three of a Kind, Straight Flush, Full House, Four of a Kind, Straight Flush, and Royal Flush are all possible combinations. High Card is the lowest rating hand, while Royal Flush is the highest ranking hand. 

Notably, while Aces are always considered high cards in online Pai Gow Poker, they can be used to form “the wheel,” a low straight consisting of the A-2-3-4-5. This is significant since “the wheel” is a low straight. Due to the existence of an Ace within it, the wheel outperforms all other straights save the A-K-Q-J-10. 

The High Hand is made up of the highest card

A hand of five aces is believed to be the best possible hand in online Pai Gow. This hand can be formed by placing the Joker in the High Hand alongside four natural Aces. 

This particular five-of-a-kind hand is the only one that can be built under any circumstances due to the particular rules that control how the Joker can be used as a wildcard. Except when used to complete a straight or flush, it is normally an Ace. To put it another way, it can only be used to construct Aces and no other form of pair or triplet. 

Touch with Care 

When playing the two-card Low Hand, also known as the Hand Behind, straights and flushes do not count. Only high cards and pairs are used when selecting the winner. A hand of A-5, for example, is preferable to a hand of K-J, while a hand of 3-3 is superior to a hand of A-10. 

The finest conceivable low hand and the highest ranking is a pair of aces, which may also include the joker. The 3-2 is the lowest low hand possible. 

Rules Exceptions 

When playing Pai Gow online, there are additional essential rules to consider in addition to the rules governing the use of the Joker. These principles govern how the two hands are structured about one another. 

  • The High Hand, which has five cards, will always rank higher than the Low Hand, which has just two cards. 
  • For example, with a hand of A-K-K-J-J-3-2, a pair of Kings cannot be set in the Low Hand, but a pair of Jacks, as well as the Ace and a low card, can. The pair of Kings, on the other hand, cannot be set in the High Hand. 
  • The Joker must always be played as an Ace if it is not used to complete a straight or flush. This rule does not have an exception. 
  • When possible, one of the most common hands placement tactics is to position it in the low hand wherever possible. 
  • The average two-card low hand is an A-7, which has a probability of winning 49.7 percent of the time overall transactions. 
  • When the Joker is used in a straight or flush, it is always counted as the highest available card to complete the combination. This is because the Joker can complete any combo. 
  • When combined with the K-10-6-3, it can serve as an Ace, however, when combined with the A-10-6-3, it can operate as a King. 

Hands of a Banker 

There is a comprehensive set of rules that regulate how the two hands held by the bank should be arranged when playing online Pai Gow. 

Because there is no pair among the seven cards, the highest value card must be placed in the High Hand, and the two next highest value cards must be placed in the Low Hand. 

These rules cover every possible combination of the seven cards given, resulting in a total of 27 different hands. It is recommended that new players ask the Dealer about the “House-Way” regulations until they have mastered all of the game’s rules. 

Participate in Online Pai Gow Poker Wagering and Playing 

Pai Gow Poker players should be aware that the House Edge ranges from 1.3 percent to 2.3 percent, which implies that the pai gow odds disfavor the players even before they get down at the table. Depending on the House Rules, the casino expects players to lose anywhere from $1 to $2 for every $100 wagered during their visit. 

Step 1: Making an Ante Bet and Dealing 

The internet is used for wagering. The Ante is the first bet in Pai Gow. It can be less than the table’s mandatory minimum bet, but not less than that. Following that, each player in the game, as well as the Banker, is dealt seven cards face down. 

Step 2: Determine Who Is Responsible For What

Rolling dice is one method for determining who controls the bank and who gets cards first. The dealer of the casino always plays the role of the Banker in the variation of Pai Gow Poker known as Mini Pai Gow Poker. 

The third step is to place a bet

Before the cards are turned over for the showdown at certain online Pai Gow Poker tables, players must double their Ante wager to participate in the game. 

Players with weak hands can “fold” their cards and “abandon” their Ante bets, whilst those with strong hands can increase the amount of money at stake to boost their potential gains. 

Step 4: The Dragon’s Hand 

The “Dragon hand” is an additional hand that is handed out at the table whenever there is an empty seat at the table in numerous casinos. As a result, players now have an additional option to place an Ante wager on this hand. The Dragon’s hand, like the Banker’s hand, must be placed by the House Way. 

Where to Find Winning Strategies for Online Pai Gow Poker 

Pai Gow online does not require players to memorize complex tables or decision trees to win, despite the game’s impression of having difficult-to-understand rules. Because over 90% of all online Pai Gow Poker deals can be classified into six types of hands, even a beginner may learn how to properly arrange the cards for these types of hands and maximize their chances of winning: 

A full house consists of one pair, two pairs, three pairs, three of a kind, and a full house. There is no pair, one pair, two pairs, and three pairs. 

It’s either one pair or nothing

If you don’t have a pair, follow the House Way, which states that you should place the highest card in the five-card High Hand and the next two highest cards in the two-card Low Hand. 

If you have a pair, place it in the high hand, and the two remaining cards with the highest combined rank go into the two-card low hand. 

Two or three sets, whatever you like 

When you have two pairs, divide them so that the higher pair is in the High Hand and the lower pair is in the Low Hand. 

An exception is made when there are two low pairs, such as a pair of 6s and a pair of 5s; in this case, both pairs should be kept in the High Hand. When you have three pairs, place the pair with the highest value in the lowest hand. 

Three of a Kind is another name for Full House

The three of a kind should always be included in the five-card High Hand, with one important exception. Put two aces in the high hand and one ace in the low hand to produce a three-ace hand. If a pair is dealt together with a three of a kind, those cards are added to the Low Hand. 

A Full House should never be placed in the High Hand unless the two remaining mismatched cards are face cards; in that case, they might be placed in the Low Hand. Otherwise, always play a Full House in the High Hand. 

Every Other Possible Mixture 

  • The remaining 10% of hands have combinations that are neither straights nor flushes. 
  • As a general rule, keep straight or flush together, and never give up the High Hand to better the Low Hand.
Sleeping comes so naturally to me that I can do it with both of my eyes closed.