Pai Gow Poker, Rules and How to Play

pai gow poker

Pai Gow Poker is based on the ancient Chinese game Pai Gow played with dominoes, Pai Gow Poker is a card game variant played with a 52 card deck + 1 joker.

It’s a very fun game and when playing at the casino can be played without losing too much money. For this reason it’s often played by high roller for big stakes at high levels.

Here we take at look at how to play Pai Gow Poker and explain the rules as best we can. Although it’s quite a simple card game, it’s actually quite difficult to explain. If you would rather you can Play Pai Gow Poker Online for free or for real money here.

Pai Gow Poker rulesQuick Pai Gow Poker Rules Run Down

  • Played with 1 pack of 52 cards + 1 x joker
  • Joker can be used as an Ace, to complete a flush, or straight only.
  • Up to 7 Players at any time
  • It’s a dealer Vs Player card game
  • Players must make 2 hands from 7 cards – 1 x 5 card hand, 1 x 2 card hand
  • The 5 card hand must be higher than the 2 card hand
  • If the dealer wins both hands, they win
  • If the player wins bnoth hands – the player wins
  • When the dealer and player win 1 hand each – noone wins and no money is paid either way
  • The dealer wins any tied hands

Pai Gow Poker Betting and Deal

Each player places their stake in front of them, this is the amount they are betting against the dealer. The dealer deals each players and himself 7 cards, one at a time in a clockwise directions, dealing to themselves last.

The players then arrange their cards into 2 hands. the 5 card hand and a 2 card hand. Important to remember the 5 card hand must be higher than the 2 card hand. So if your 2 card hand is a pair of ‘s your 5 card poker hand must be a pair of 8’s or higher to play.

Once done the dealer turns over their 7 cards and makes to his or her 2 hands. Once the dealer is ready the players in turn in a clockwise direction turn over their hands one at a time, the 5 card hand first.

As above in the quick rules if the dealer wins both hands the dealer wins. If the player wins both they are paid from the dealer or banker the same amount as staked. If both player and dealer win a hand each that’s a push and no money changes hands.

Traditionally and in whats described as a “formal game of Pai Gow” the dealer deals 7 hands and then rolls the dice (3 dice are used). What ever number the dice total is counted counter clockwise and where it stops, that player gets the first hand, the remaining hands are distributed counter clockwise from that player. It is extremely rare to see this unless playing with a traditional chinese family or gambling establishment. It is however fascinating to see.

Pai Gow Poker Hand rankings

The hands are the same as traditional poker hands with the following exceptions:

  • The 2nd highest run is Ace,2,3,4,5
  • 5 Aces (one being the joker) beats a Royal flush and is the highest hand in Pa Gow Poker

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