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What is the Best Hand in Pai Gow Poker?

Recently updated on January 1st, 2023

The best hand in Pai Gow poker is five Aces or four Aces and a Joker. In this poker version a five-of-a-kind hand made up of four Aces and a Joker or five Aces beats a royal flush.

Read further to better understand what sets Pai Gow poker apart in comparison to other poker versions. We also highlight the types of poker hands and give the best tips to win Pai Gow poker.

Best hand in Pai Gow

Best Hand Rankings in Pai Gow Poker

Pai Gow typically uses the same hand rankings as other poker versions. The only thing different about the version of poker is that a Joker is added to the cards deck. A Joker can be played as an Ace and can also complete a flush or a straight hand.

We look at the best hand rankings for Pai Gow poker from the highest to the lowest. The lowest hand on the list is the weakest.

Pai Gow Hand Cards
Five of a Kind A Joker and four Aces, or five Aces.
Royal Flush An Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and a 10 of the same suit.
Straight Flush Five successive cards of the same suit.
Four of a Kind Any four cards of the rank value
Full House Three similar cards and a pair.
Flush Any cards of the same suit.
Straight Five successive cards of any suit.
Three of a Kind Three of the same ranking.
Two pair Two cards of the same rank with two other cards of the same rank.
One pair Two cards of the same rank.


How to play Pai Gow Poker

Pai Gow poker is played with a deck of 52 cards and a Joker, which makes a 53 deck. Betting is also done before cards are dealt and there is no more betting afterwards. There is basically no opportunity to bluff in Pai Gow poker.

  • After all the bets have been made, the dealer deals seven cards to each player on the table.
  • The dealer/banker is also dealt seven cards faced down.
  • Each player, including the banker, then has to separate the seven dealt cards into two separate cards a five-card high and a two-card low.
  • Players can either win, tie/push, or lose.
  • A player can win if both their hands are better than the banker’s hand.
  • A player pushes/ties if only one of their hands beats the banker’s and the other is beaten by the banker.
  • Players lose when they either tie or lose both hands to the banker.

Pai Gow Poker Vs Other Poker Games – Conclusion

One key thing setting Pai Gow poker apart from other poker versions is that the banker is also playing. Players get to play against the banker and not each other. The banker can be played by the dealer or any player. Both the player and the dealer also play together as a banker. Players also get the opportunity to choose to be the dealer as well.

Pai Gow poker is also slow-paced compared to other poker versions and this makes the game less risky than other poker games.

Pai Gow also obviously differs from No Limit Texas Hold’em because it is played with 53-card deck, which includes a Joker. This thus makes the highest-ranking hand in Pai Gow different from that of No Limit Texas Hold’em poker.

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