Pai Gow Poker Online: An Expert Guide

Posted by James Guill . Last updated:

One variation of online casino games that is seeing ever-growing popularity is Pai Gow poker. It has been around for years but has only started to gain popularity recently as more people learn to play. It’s a social game, for those who enjoy the interaction with their poker game. It provides a natural “us against them” spirit since every player’s success depends on how the banker’s hand turns out.

In this guide, we’ll cover:

  • How to play Pai Gow poker
  • How to win Pai Gow poker
  • Pai Gow poker strategies

Where to Play Pai Gow Poker Online

Here are the online casinos our team of experts recommend US players use for playing Pai Gow Poker:

How to Play Pai Gow Poker

Pai Gow is a version of poker that uses a 53-card deck: the standard 52 cards, plus a Joker. Online rumors suggest that this game evolved from American poker and pai gow, a domino game invented by Chinese laborers who immigrated to America during the 19th century.

Players bet against the banker in games of Pai Gow poker. Players and the banker alike are dealt seven cards, which they must separate into two hands: one of five cards, and one of two cards. Your intended goal is to beat the banker’s five-card and two-card hands with your own.

How Do You Win at Pai Gow Poker?

A player win in Pai Gow poker requires that both your five-card hand and your two-card hand be of higher rank than the banker’s respective hands.

  • If your two-card is equal in rank to the banker’s, they are called copies, and the banker wins copies.
  • If the banker’s five-card hand beats or is equal to yours, and their two-card hand beats or is equal to yours, the player loses their bet.
  • You tie with the banker if your two-card hand beats theirs but their five-card hand beats yours. In this instance, no money is exchanged at all.

A tie also results when your five-card hand beats the dealer’s, but their two-card hand beats yours.

Pai Gow Strategy and Tips

Setting your high and low hands is crucial to winning in Pai Gow poker at a USA online casino. The following guidelines list some strategy for setting your hands.

  • As a general rule of thumb, you should try to set the highest two-card hand that you can legally set: the best two-card hand that still leaves a higher five-card hand behind.
  • More specifically, a player should expect an average hand to be something like a medium to high pair behind in the five-card hand and an ace-high in front.
  • Optimal strategy is available for setting hands in Pai Gow poker, but it requires memorizing large strategy charts. You can play close to optimal strategy by learning a few basic rules.
  • But remember, you can always ask to have your hand set the house way. The majority of house strategies can be close to playing optimal strategy.
  • Two-pair hands can be more difficult to play. It’s important to think it through carefully, because two-pair hands are common and one wrong move could ruin the outcome.
  • If your high card is an Ace, you’ll more than likely want to include the two pairs in your five-card hand. You can consider using the lower pair as your low hand if none of your singletons are that high in rank.

Pai Gow Poker Glossary

Here are some terms you might come across when learning how to play Pai Gow poker online.

Pai Gow Poker FAQs

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