How To Play Pai Gow Poker

From the name of the game, it is pretty obvious that this poker variant is Chinese in origins. In particular, pai gow poker is the card game version of Chinese Dominoes. Pai gow poker currently continues to rise in popularity.

The Rules of Pai Gow Poker

A pai gow poker table accommodates up to seven players. Unlike other poker variants, pai gow poker is a contest between each of the six players and the dealer. It is played using the standard 52-deck card with the addition of a joker. The joker is wild and it can be played as an ace or used to complete hands of straight flush, straight or flush.

The game begins with all players except the dealer making a bet. After every player has made his wager, the dealers roll three dice. The dealer then counts off the number indicated by the dice in a counterclockwise direction to decide who will be dealt first. After that has been decided, the dealer will begin dealing seven hands, one card at a time, in a counterclockwise direction. Every seat from 1-7 are dealt a hand even if a seat is unoccupied. After all seven hands have been dealt, the dealer discards the hands that belong to no one.

The six players will now open their cards. Each player keeps his hand to himself and consultation among players is not allowed. Each player will divide his cards into two hands, a five-card hand and a two-card hand. The two-card hand should always be lower than the five-card hand or the player automatically loses in that round.

Pai gow hands basically follow the traditional poker hand rankings. However, there are significant modifications in pai gow. First, the highest hand in pai gow is five aces. Second, the ace-five hand is not the lowest ranking straight flush hand but rather the second highest straight flush hand.

After the players are done arranging their cards, they place their card face down on the table and wait while the dealer exposes his cards and arranges them into two sets of hands the same way the other players did, with the five-card hand higher than the two-card hand. The players cannot make changes on their hands at this point.

After the dealer is done arranging his cards, the players expose their cards, too, and each player’s hands are compared with the dealer’s. The two-card hand of the dealer is compared with the two-card hand of each player. Likewise, the five-card hand of the dealer is compared to the five-card hand of each player.

To get paid the amount he staked, the player must beat both the five-card hand and the two-card hand of the dealer. In case of a tie on the five-card or the two-card hand, the dealer automatically wins that hand and the other hand will decide who among the dealer and the player wins. If he wins one hand and the dealer wins the other hand, the game is considered a push and nobody wins or loses. If the dealer wins both hands, the player loses his wager to the dealer, the same game can be played online on

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Written by 

Lora Fox a creative writer and a tech geek. She is fascinated by the evolution of technology and its integration in the casino industry.