Pai Gow Poker Strategy

Pai Gow Poker (pronounched “Pie-Gow”) is an interesting form of poker combining skill and luck, in which the player must manage two hands of cards instead of only one, and bets on whether those hands are better than the dealer’s.

Like in other forms of poker, players begin a game of Pai Gow Poker by placing a bet. The dealer then deals the player seven cards, which must be arranged into one hand of five and one hand of two. The dealer, likewise, receives seven cards and will arrange these cards into one hand of five and one hand of two. The five-card hand is called a “High Hand” and the two-card hand is called a “Low Hand.” Your high hand must have a higher value than your low hand in order to qualify.

The idea of Pai Gow Poker, as mentioned above, is for both of your hands to be better than both of the player’s hands. When arranging your cards, it’s important to note than online casinos usually offer the chance for your cards to be arranged automatically. If you prefer this method, click on “House Way” and your cards will be arranged for you.

Pai Gow Poker has slightly different winning hand combinations than other forms of poker. For starters, Pai Gow uses a deck of 53 cards. The 53rd card is a joker, or Wild Card. The joker can only be used as an ace, or to complete three hand combinations: a Straight, a Flush, or a Straight Flush. Another important difference in Pai Gow, one which you should remember, is that if a player’s hand and the dealer’s hand produce the same value, the result is NOT a push. The dealer wins the bet.

Winning hand combinations in Pai Gow Poker, in order of value, are as follows:

5 Aces (including a joker as Wild Card)
Royal Flush
Straight Flush
Four of a Kind
Three of a Kind
Two Pair

Check our Video Poker page for definitions of these winning hand combinations, but be advised that a Straight in Pai Gow Poker has a slightly different order of value than in traditional poker. In traditional poker, a straight of Ace-2-3-4-5 would be the lowest possible straight. In Pai Gow Poker, however, an Ace-2-3-4-5 straight would be the second-highest, following only a straight of Ace-King-Queen-Jack-10.

Check with your online casino for betting limits and payoffs.