Online Casino Guides

Pai Gow Poker Guide

Pai Gow Poker Guide

Pai Gow Poker Guide: How to Play

Pai gow poker, also called double-hand poker, is a version of the game pai gow played with cards instead of the traditional Chinese dominoes. Unlike most casino card games, pai gow poker is a pretty new concept. The game was created in the United States in 1985 by Sam Torosian, the Bell Card Club owner in Los Angeles, California. Are you interested in this game? Continue reading and learn all you need to know with the best Pai Gow Poker Guide.

Torosian came up with the idea after being taught the game Pusoy, a Chinese card game based on the rankings of poker hands. It’s a game intended for beginning poker players who only need basic poker hand knowledge to play. 

Because he thought the 13-card game with players needing to arrange three separate hands was too slow, he simplified it by making it a two-hand game with only seven cards. This made it easier to learn and increased the speed of play. 

Pai gow immediately became popular and was being played in casinos in Las Vegas by the late 1980s and eventually spread worldwide. Unfortunately for Torosian, he was given some bad legal advice and failed to file a patent on the game, being told it was unpatentable. 

Pai Gow Poker Rules

The pai gow poker rules and game’s object for players are to create two poker hands from the seven cards they are dealt, which are a two-card low hand and a five-card high hand. This card game is different from other poker games because a 53 card deck is used, plus one joker. Players can use the joker to complete a hand such as a straight, a flush, a straight flush, three of a kind, or use it as an ace. In addition, it can be used as the highest-ranking card that is needed.

Players in pai gow poker are not playing against each other but are all playing against the dealer. Play begins with each player placing their desired bets in the designated betting circle. The rectangle marked “L” and “H” on the table is where the players will place their two hands. The two-card low hand is placed in the box marked L, and the high hand is placed in the box marked with an H. 

When playing in a casino, the dealer then rolls dice to determine where the cards will start to be dealt. Each seat at the table is assigned a number, with the dealer being seat one and the seats counted counter-clockwise. 

For example, if the dealer rolls a three, then seat three will get the first hand dealt with them, with the rotation continuing counter-clockwise. After that, the cards are dealt with all seats at the table, including the seats where no one is playing. After all, cards have been dealt; the dealer will collect the cards at the unoccupied seats.

Players may now look at their cards and create two poker hands. The low hand can either be a high card rank or a pair. Once the cards are placed, the player is no longer allowed to touch them. After the dealer has made their two poker hands according to the house method, they will compare their hand to each player’s hand at the table. 

Both the high and low hands must be higher than the dealer’s to be considered a winner, and vice-versa. In addition, the ranking of the high hand must always be lower than the low hand. If players fail to follow this rule, the hand will be considered a “foul” hand, which results in an automatic loss. 

If one hand loses and the other wins, regardless of which the winner, the hand will be declared a push, which means no money is won or lost on the hand. Winning hands a paid even money with a five percent commission subtracted which goes to the house. Understanding these rules and the pai gow poker guide, those big wins are closer than you think.

Pai Gow Poker Side Bets

On each table, there is a circle marked for a side bet. The most common type of side bet is called Fortune Pai Gow, which pays players odds on any hand of three of a kind or higher. This is a side bet that pays based on the value of the player’s seven cards. For example, the fortune bet pays winning hands at the following odds:

Winning HandFortune Bet Pays
7-card straight flush2,500 to 1
Royal Flush + Royal1,000 to 1
7-card straight flush with joker750 to 1
5 Aces250 to 1
Royal Flush125 to 1
Straight Flush50 to1
4 of a kind25 to 1
Full house5 to 1
Straight3 to 1
Three of a kind2 to 1

There are other popular pai gow poker side bets which will vary depending on the casino. Additional side bets offered are Pai Gow Mania, which allows players to make two side bets, and Emperor’s Challenge, which will enable players to make a side bet on pai gow. 

Some casinos feature Progressive Fortune Pai Gow, allowing players to make side bets with a seven-card straight flush winning the progressive jackpot. If a player chooses to place a side bet at the start of play and wins, they will be paid odds on the highest winning hands. 

Like most side bets offered by casinos, they have very low odds of winning as the house edge on these bets is very high. It’s recommended to avoid placing these side bets at all times. 

Pai Gow Strategy

There is not much strategy involved in the game, as the outcome is dependent on how the cards are dealt, and there is only one round of betting. However, there is some skill involved in setting a player’s hands to give them the best chance of beating the dealer. Some hands can be set in multiple ways, making for different outcomes. 

Players should keep in mind that, unlike other casino card games, they can ask the dealer to help if they are confused about how to set their hands. This is because most casinos allow the dealers to help when playing pai gow, and they are always obliged to do so. Remember, if you want to know more about Slots Paradise, check our social media and join our community.