Pai Gow Poker is very popular with players who enjoy unique card games. The game was invented in the 1980s. Since then, it has become a favorite in casinos, including online casinos.
Many of our readers have raised questions about playing Pai Gow Poker. In our mission to make Pai Gow Poker as easy as possible for every player, we have answered some of the most popular questions regarding the game.
We have also included a list of the best online casinos that offer real-money Pai Gow poker games so you can practice whenever you like.
Pai Gow Poker Links
- Play Fortune Pai Gow Poker Online
- How Do You Play Pai Gow Poker?
- What is the House Advantage in Pai Gow Poker?
- What Does Pai Gow Mean?
- Can You Win Pai Gow Poker?
- What are the Odds of Getting 5 Aces in Pai Gow?
- What are the Odds of Getting A 7-Card Straight Flush?
- Does a Straight Beat Two Pairs?
- How Do You Deal in Pai Gow Poker?
- What is Face-Up Pai Gow Poker?
- Where Can I Play Face Up in Pai Gow Poker?
Pai Gow Poker is played with a standard 52-card deck seen in most table games and uses joker as a wild card. Bets are placed first, and then cards are handed out. The dealer’s cards are always face down while the player’s cards are always visible.
Each player gets seven cards with which they have to make a five-card hand (also known as the big hand or high hand) and a two-card hand (also known as the small hand or low hand). Unlike in traditional poker, no additional cards are distributed.
The player with best five-card hand and two-card hand wins. While you can make standard poker hands with your big hand (royal flush, full house, straight, etc.), the highest-ranked combination you can make with your small hand is a pair.
Your big hand must always bet better than your small hand. For example, if you have a high card hand, your high card must stay your big hand. If your small hand outranks your big hand, the dealer wins instantly.
The house edge of a standard Pai Gow Poker game is 1.46%. Usually, the house also adds a 5% commission on all winning hands, which some people add to the house edge figure, raising it to 2.84%.
Overall, the game is still one of your safe options in terms of house edge figures. However, we’d stay away from making side bets.
The term “pai gow” loosely translates to “make nine” or “card nine”. Concerning Pai Gow Poker, this doesn’t make much sense. However, when you consider the original form of Pai Gow – the Chinese domino game, it becomes clearer.
In Pai Gow, the maximum points you can get for a hand is nine. So, your ultimate goal in each game is to make a hand with nine points.
Just like any other gambling game, you can win at Pai Gow Poker. However, you must learn the rules of the game to give yourself the best chance of winning.
Always remember that a win is never guaranteed in a gambling game no matter how much you practice and strategize. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t focus on forming a good strategy, though.
After all, there are trusted methods for beating the dealer by setting your hand in a particular way that work more often than not. But you will lose some games along the way.
The odds of getting five aces in Pai Gow poker are 1 in 140,000. This is the second-highest paying hand in the game with players due to get 400x their bet. With such high odds, don’t count on getting such a hand soon.
The seven-card flush is a hand available in the Emperor’s Challenge version of Pai Gow Poker. So, you won’t find it at every online casino. The unique hand pays out 5000x your stake if you get it naturally, and 1000x your stake if you finish it with a wild card.
The payout is great, but the probability of getting a seven-card straight flush is very slim at 1 in 5,000,000. We can say that even small bets will payout great on such a bet. But chances are you will never see such in your lifetime.
In Pai Gow poker, a straight ranks higher than two pairs. The hierarchy of poker hands works as follows in descending order:
- Royal Flush
- Straight Flush
- Full House
- Two Pairs
- One Pair
- High Card
After all of the players have made their bets, the dealer hits a button on the shuffle machine which turns out seven cards. Each spot on the poker table is marked with a number.
There is a random number generator which is used to decide which player gets the cards first. Regardless of how many players are at that table, each spot gets seven cards.
Face-Up Pai Gow Poker is a variation of the game where all cards are dealt face-up, including the dealer’s hand. It also includes unique side bets, such as the fortune bonus. Due to rule changes, there’s no house commission on winnings in Face-Up Pai Gow Poker.
You can play face up in poker at any of the top-rated online casinos we review and recommend. You do not have to travel to Las Vegas casinos to enjoy a game of Face-Up Pai Gow poker. As the variation is relatively niche, there is a chance that your local casino might not offer it.