Pai Gow, as it is played in most casinos, is a variation of poker using principles driven from the Chinese domino game of the same name. The major difference is that Pai Gow Poker is played with a full 52-deck of cards including a single Joker instead of the set of 32 Chinese Dominos used in the traditional betting game.
The poker game of Pai Gow is becoming increasingly popular in land-based and online casinos, with this page set to showcase a basic tutorial of the game, as well as a list of the best websites to play at.
Basic rules of Pai Gow Poker
The motive of the game is for the player to beat the dealer/banker hand with two sets of higher ranking poker hands in the form of a five-card hand set and a two-card hand set.
Noteworthy is that the Joker card can be used in the game to substitute for an Ace or can be used to complete a straight, a flush or a straight flush.
The game is played as detailed below:
The player is dealt seven cards with which he/she must arrange them into two separate hands.
- The two-card hand follows the following ranking system: two Aces is the best possible outcome, followed by lower numbered pairs, followed by higher valued cards which are not paired.
- The five-card hand follows the same ranking system as traditional poker rankings, with a couple of exceptions. Firstly, a straight of Ace – 2 – 3 – 4 and 5 is the second highest straight you can achieve, being ranked in between the Ace – King – Queen – Jack – 10 and King – Queen – Jack – 10 – 9 flushes. The best possible combination is five aces (i.e. four aces and a Joker) which ranks above the straight flush.
Important to note is that the five-card hand must always be of a greater value than the two-card hand.
Once forming their combinations, the player then places their two hands face down on the table, with the dealer then exposing their seven cards after which the player is no longer allowed to change their arrangement.
The dealer arranges their cards into a five-card hand and a two-card hand, the same combination as the player.
Next, the players’ cards are exposed, with the wager dependent on the result between the player’s five-card hand and the dealer’s five-card hand and the player’s two-card hand with the dealer’s two-card hand.
The payouts are determined as follows:
- If both of the player’s hands win, the dealer pays out the amount wagered by the player, i.e. odds of 1:1.
- If the dealer wins one hand and the player wins the other hand, no money changes hands in what is known as a ‘push’.
- If both hands are won by the dealer, the player loses his/her stake.
However, if either hand is tied between the player and the dealer, the dealer wins that particular hand – a move which increases the house edge of the game and therefore decreases your odds of getting a collect.
After all bets have been paid out, the game repeats.
Pai Gow Poker online for computer and mobile
Pai Gow poker is growing in popularity online, with many casinos offering the game directly through the web browser on your computer or mobile device, meaning there is no need to download an app directly onto your device.
Much like on the desktop version, the mobile game can be played through many of our recommended online casinos for free or real-money, with the game specifically optimised including touch screen controls to ensure it runs smoothly on your phone or tablet device.
Where can I play Pai Gow Poker online?
Want to give Pai Gow Poker a try but unsure which website to trust with your hard-earned coin? The team at Betting Planet have done all the hard work for you, compiling a list of the best online casinos offering a safe betting environment and lucrative sign-up bonuses.
While Pai Gow is difficult to find online, you can find impressive versions of this game available at trusted online casinos like Leo Vegas Casino and Guts Casino. Games require no downloads and can be played for free so you can get a hang of Pai Gow and see if this game is up your alley before handing over any real money of your own – just another reason why online play trumps over land based casinos.