Learn How to Play Pai Gow Poker like a Pro: A Step-by-Step Guide

Pai Gow Poker is a popular casino game that was invented in the 1980s in the United States. Despite its relatively recent origins, this game has quickly gained popularity among gamblers around the world thanks to its unique gameplay, which combines elements of both poker and the Chinese tile game, Pai Gow.

While the game may seem complicated at first glance, mastering Pai Gow Poker is actually quite simple. By understanding the basic rules and developing a solid strategy, it's possible to become a pro and win big at the casino.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know about playing Pai Gow Poker. From the rules of the game to betting strategies and tips for increasing your odds of winning, you'll learn all of the skills and techniques necessary to master this exciting casino game.

So if you're ready to take your Pai Gow Poker skills to the next level, grab a seat at the table and let's get started!

Pai Gow Poker Rules and Gameplay

The Goal of the Game

In Pai Gow poker, the goal is to create two poker hands – one of five cards and one of two cards – that beats the dealer’s hands. The five-card hand must be higher than the two-card hand.

The Deck

Pai Gow poker is played with a standard deck of 52 cards plus one joker. The joker can be used as an ace or as a wild card to complete a straight or flush.

The Deal

In Pai Gow poker, each player is dealt seven cards face down and must create two poker hands from them. The dealer also receives seven cards which they use to create their two hands.

The Hands

The two-card hand is called the "low" or "small" hand, and the five-card hand is called the "high" or "big" hand. The ranking of hands in Pai Gow poker follows traditional poker rankings, with a few exceptions. For example, a straight with Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, is considered the second-highest straight in Pai Gow poker.

The Outcome

When the player and dealer have both created their two hands, the hands are compared. If both of the player's hands are higher than the dealer's hands, the player wins. If both of the dealer’s hands are higher than the player's hands, the player loses. If one hand wins and one hand loses, the result is a push and the player's bet is returned to them.


Understanding the rules and gameplay of Pai Gow poker is key to playing it like a pro. Keep in mind that patience and strategy are key factors in this game. Take your time, study your cards, and make the best hand possible to beat the dealer. Good luck!

The Top Strategies for Winning at Pai Gow Poker

1. Understand the Rules and Basic Strategy

To win at Pai Gow Poker, it is essential to have a clear understanding of the rules and basic strategy. Familiarize yourself with the game's mechanics, including how to make the two hands. Learn the difference between a high hand and a low hand, and how to maximize your odds of winning a hand. By mastering the basics, you'll be better equipped to make smart decisions during gameplay.

2. Divide Your Bankroll Properly

One of the most important aspects of playing any casino game is managing your bankroll to avoid betting more than you can afford to lose. In Pai Gow Poker, it is essential to divide your bankroll properly to allow for maximum playing time and reduce your losses. Establish a budget and stick to it. Remember, consistency is key.

3. Stay Focused and Patient

Pai Gow Poker is a slow-paced game, and it requires patience and focus to win. Don't let yourself get distracted by outside factors like other players or the casino environment. Stay focused on the game and be patient. Wait for your opportunities to make winning hands and avoid the temptation to make risky plays.

4. Use the Bonus Bets Wisely

Many Pai Gow Poker tables offer bonus bets that can be very lucrative if used wisely. These bonus bets enable you to win big payouts on specific hands, like four of a kind or a straight flush. However, bonus bets can also drain your bankroll quickly if you are not careful. Use them wisely and selectively, and avoid placing them on hands that are unlikely to win.

5. Don't be Afraid to Ask the Dealer for Help

While Pai Gow Poker is a game of strategy, it is also a social game. Don't be afraid to ask for help from the dealer or other players at the table. Dealers are usually happy to assist you with any questions you might have, and other players can provide valuable insight into their gameplay strategies. By working with others, you can improve your chances of winning and learn more about the game.

Key Strategies for Pai Gow Poker Hand Rankings

Understand the Hand Rankings

One of the most important strategies for playing Pai Gow Poker is to understand the hand rankings. In this game, the highest possible hand is a royal flush, consisting of Ace, King, Queen, Jack and 10 of the same suit. The next highest hand is a straight flush, followed by four of a kind, full house, flush, straight, three of a kind, two pair, and one pair.

Splitting Your Hand

Another important strategy to remember is splitting your hand. As the name suggests, Pai Gow Poker requires players to split their seven cards into two hands, with one containing five cards and the other containing two cards. It is important to remember that the five-card hand must always be higher in value than the two-card hand, otherwise, it is considered a foul and the player automatically loses the bet.

The Importance of the Joker

In Pai Gow Poker, the Joker is considered a wild card and can be used to complete a straight or flush. However, it is important to use the Joker wisely as it can also be used to make two pairs and three of a kind. As a general rule of thumb, if you have a pair of aces or better, it is best to use the Joker to complete a straight or flush.

Play to the Dealer's Hand

Finally, one strategy for winning at Pai Gow Poker is to play to the dealer's hand. Unlike other casino games, the dealer's hand plays a significant role in Pai Gow Poker. As a player, it is important to try and create a hand that is stronger than the dealer's hand. This means avoiding splitting pairs and sets that are lower in value than the dealer's hand.

Advanced Pai Gow Poker Strategies for Expert Players

1. Understand the Power of the Joker

One of the most important things for an expert player to understand is the power of the joker. It can be used as a wild card to complete a hand, but it can also act as an ace in certain situations. Knowing when to use the joker and how to use it strategically can make a big difference in your winnings.

2. Learn How to Split Your Hands

Another advanced strategy for expert players is knowing when to split your hands. Splitting your hand allows you to create two separate hands from one set of cards and can increase your chances of winning. It's important to understand the rules for splitting and to make calculated decisions based on your hand and the dealer's up card.

3. Pay Attention to Your Opponents' Hands

One key to success in Pai Gow Poker is to pay attention to your opponents' hands. By knowing their potential hand combinations, you can make more informed decisions and adjust your own strategy accordingly. Keep an eye out for players who consistently use certain types of hands or betting patterns, as this can signal their playing style.

4. Utilize Bonus Bets Strategically

Many Pai Gow Poker games offer bonus bets with higher payouts for certain hand combinations. Expert players know how to strategically utilize these bonus bets to maximize their winnings. It's important to understand the odds of each bonus bet and to only use them when the potential payout outweighs the risk.

5. Practice Banker Strategies

In Pai Gow Poker, the dealer is the banker and has a slight advantage. However, expert players can use specific strategies when playing as the banker to increase their chances of winning. This includes understanding when to set your hand, what hands to play aggressively, and when to use the joker as an ace. Practicing these strategies can give you an edge over other players.


As an expert Pai Gow Poker player, utilizing advanced strategies can significantly increase your chances of winning. By mastering the power and strategic use of the joker, splitting your hands, paying attention to your opponents' hands, utilizing bonus bets, and practicing banker strategies, you can take your game to the next level. Remember to always stay focused and make calculated decisions based on the cards you and your opponents have.

How to Practice Pai Gow Poker to Improve Your Skills

Pai Gow poker is a complex game that requires strategic thinking and a solid understanding of the rules. To improve your skills and increase your chances of winning, it's important to practice regularly. Here are some tips on how to practice Pai Gow poker effectively Mostbet:

By following these tips and practicing regularly, you can become a skilled Pai Gow poker player and increase your chances of winning at the casino. Remember to stay patient and persistent, as mastering this game takes time and dedication.

Pai Gow Poker Tournaments: Winning Tips and Strategies

Participating in a Pai Gow poker tournament can be an exciting challenge for players looking to put their skills to the test. Here are some winning tips and strategies to help you get ahead:

1. Understand the Tournament Format

Make sure you understand the tournament format before entering. Is it single elimination or round-robin? How many players are competing? Knowing the answers to these questions can help you adjust your playing style accordingly.

2. Manage Your Bankroll

Since tournaments can be a long and grueling affair, it's important to manage your bankroll effectively. Determine your budget and stick to it, making sure to spread your bets out across multiple hands.

3. Play Conservatively at the Beginning

Playing conservatively at the beginning of the tournament can help you establish a solid foundation and avoid making costly mistakes. Focus on building a strong hand and don't take unnecessary risks.

4. Be Flexible

Be flexible in your playing style and adjust as the tournament progresses. If you're falling behind, take calculated risks to catch up. If you're in the lead, play it safe and maintain your advantage.

5. Read Your Opponents

Being able to read your opponents is key to success in Pai Gow poker tournaments. Watch their playing style and look for patterns or tells. Use this information to your advantage and adjust your own strategy accordingly.

6. Practice, Practice, Practice

Like any skill, mastering Pai Gow poker takes practice. Take advantage of online resources, such as free games and tutorials, to hone your skills and improve your chances of winning the tournament.

The Most Common Mistakes Players Make in Pai Gow Poker

Pai Gow Poker is a unique and intricate game that requires both skill and luck to win. However, many players make common mistakes that can cost them the game. Below are some of the most common mistakes that players make in Pai Gow Poker.

By avoiding these common mistakes, players can improve their strategy and increase their chances of winning in Pai Gow Poker. Being aware of these errors and taking steps to avoid them can lead to a more successful and enjoyable gaming experience.

Pai Gow Poker Etiquette: How to Behave at the Table

1. Don't Delay the Game

When playing Pai Gow Poker, it's important to remember that you're not the only one at the table. To keep the game moving smoothly, make sure you're ready to play when it's your turn. Don't take too long to look at your hand or make a decision, as this can hold up the game for everyone.

2. Know the Rules

Before you sit down to play Pai Gow Poker, make sure you understand the rules of the game. This will prevent you from making mistakes or holding up the game with questions. If you're unsure about something, ask the dealer for clarification.

3. Respect Your Fellow Players

Pai Gow Poker is a social game, so be respectful of your fellow players. Don't speak out of turn, and avoid using offensive language or gestures. Remember that everyone is there to have fun, so try to create a relaxed and friendly atmosphere at the table.

4. Handle Your Cards With Care

When you receive your cards in Pai Gow Poker, make sure you handle them with care. Don't bend or mark them in any way, as this can be considered cheating. Keep your cards on the table and in view of everyone, and don't look at them too often or for too long.

5. Tip the Dealer

If you're having a good time playing Pai Gow Poker, consider tipping the dealer. This is not required, but it's a nice way to show your appreciation for their hard work. Tipping can also increase the level of service you receive from the dealer, such as better shuffling or dealing.

Tips for Managing Your Bankroll in Pai Gow Poker

1. Set a Budget

It is important to set a budget for your Pai Gow Poker bankroll. Determine how much money you are willing to spend and never exceed that amount. Keep in mind that Pai Gow Poker is a game of skill and strategy, so even if you have a losing streak, you can still turn it around with the right moves.

2. Start Small

When starting out, it's best to start small. Play at lower stakes tables where the minimum bet is smaller. This will allow you to familiarize yourself with the game and get comfortable with the rules and strategies without risking too much money. As you become more confident and skilled, you can gradually increase your bets and move up to higher stakes tables.

3. Avoid Chasing Losses

If you have a losing streak, it's important to resist the urge to chase your losses by betting more money. This will only lead to further losses and could potentially wipe out your entire bankroll. Instead, take a break and come back to the game with a clear head. Stick to your budget and don't let emotions guide your betting decisions.

4. Keep Track of Your Wins and Losses

Keeping track of your wins and losses can help you manage your bankroll more effectively. Knowing how much you've won or lost can help you adjust your betting strategy accordingly. It can also give you an idea of when it's time to walk away from the table and take a break.

5. Don't Forget About Comps and Bonuses

Many casinos offer comps and bonuses for playing Pai Gow Poker. Take advantage of these offers when you can, but don't let them influence your betting decisions. Stick to your budget and only play for the amount you can afford to lose.

  • Set a budget and never exceed it.
  • Start small and gradually increase your bets as you become more skilled.
  • Avoid chasing losses and stick to your budget.
  • Keep track of your wins and losses to adjust your betting strategy.
  • Take advantage of comps and bonuses, but don't let them influence your betting decisions.

The Top Online Casinos to Play Pai Gow Poker

1. Betway Casino

Betway Casino is a great place for beginners to start playing Pai Gow Poker. They offer an easy-to-use interface and a wide variety of betting options. The site also features a generous welcome bonus and frequent promotions to keep players coming back.

2. 888 Casino

888 Casino is known for its high-quality games and excellent customer service. They offer a great selection of Pai Gow Poker games and have a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to place bets and manage your account. New players can take advantage of a generous welcome bonus and ongoing promotions.

3. William Hill Casino

William Hill Casino has a strong reputation for providing a secure and fair gaming experience. They offer several variations of Pai Gow Poker, including progressive jackpot games, and have a loyalty program that rewards players for their continued play. The site also offers a comprehensive FAQ section and customer support team to answer any questions users may have.

4. Betfair Casino

Betfair Casino offers a unique twist on Pai Gow Poker, with their "Zero Lounge" version that features no house edge. This means players have a higher chance of winning than at other online casinos. The site also features a variety of other casino games and a VIP program for frequent players.

5. Casino.com

Casino.com offers a sleek and modern interface and a great selection of Pai Gow Poker games. The site also has an extensive mobile platform, making it easy for players to access their favorite games on the go. They offer a generous welcome bonus and several ongoing promotions.

Pai Gow Poker Variations: How to Play Fortune Pai Gow and Other Games

Fortune Pai Gow

Fortune Pai Gow is a popular variation of Pai Gow Poker that adds an optional Fortune Bonus side bet. In this version, players are not only trying to create two poker hands from their seven cards but also seeking to get a Bonus hand. This hand is determined by a separate Fortune Bonus paytable and is not dependent on the outcome of the main game.

To be eligible for the Fortune Bonus, players must place a separate wager before each hand is dealt. The Bonus payouts can range from 2:1 for a Straight to 8,000:1 for a seven-card Straight Flush. Playing Fortune Pai Gow requires both skill and luck, and having a good Pai Gow Poker strategy can increase your chances of winning the Bonus bet.

Other Pai Gow Poker Variations

While Fortune Pai Gow is the most popular Pai Gow Poker variation, several other games with different rules and payouts are also available. One such variation is called Emperor’s Challenge, which is played with seven hands instead of two.

Another variation is called Face Up Pai Gow Poker, in which all of the dealer’s cards are dealt face up. This version can be quite challenging because players can see the dealer’s hand and adjust their strategy accordingly.

Other Pai Gow Poker variations include Progressive Pai Gow, which offers a progressive jackpot, and Super Nine, which uses only three cards instead of seven. Whatever the version, mastering Pai Gow Poker requires learning the rules and strategies of each game and testing them through practice.

Pai Gow Poker Odds: How to Calculate Your Chances of Winning

Pai Gow Poker is a casino game that uses a standard deck of 52 cards plus one joker, and it is played between the player and the dealer. The object of the game is for the player to make two hands out of the seven cards dealt, one hand with five cards and another with two cards. The dealer will also make two hands with the same cards.

Understanding the Pai Gow Poker odds is crucial in developing a strategy that could give you a better chance of winning. One of the essential things to remember is that the odds of making a five-card hand are significantly higher than the possibility of getting a two-card hand.

The player's winning probability can change depending on the hand's composition. Players should familiarize themselves with the house rules since some casinos have differing odds for winning hands. A basic Pai Gow Poker strategy typically revolves around setting your hands in the best possible way, aiming for a high card count to increase your winning chances.

A simple method to calculate the Pai Gow Poker odds is by calculating the number of possible hand combinations. Since the game uses a standard deck of 52 cards plus one joker, there are 53 possible cards that the dealer can deal with the player. The number of combinations possible is then calculated by taking the product of the number of possible five-card and two-card hands. The formula for calculating a player's odds of winning is as follows:

By doing this, you can determine the odds of getting a specific hand and adjust your strategy accordingly. Remember that Pai Gow Poker is a game of chance, but understanding the odds makes it easier to decide which hand to play and how to place your bets.

How to Strategically Use Bonuses and Promotions to Win at Pai Gow Poker


One of the best ways to get an edge when playing Pai Gow Poker is to take advantage of bonuses and promotions offered by online casinos. These offers can help you increase your bankroll and give you more opportunities to win big payouts. However, it’s essential to remember that not all promotions are created equal, and some are more advantageous than others.

To make sure that you're getting the most bang for your buck, it's critical to do your research and compare different casino promotions. In this guide, we'll cover the most common types of bonuses offered for Pai Gow Poker and provide tips on how to use them to your advantage.

Types of Bonuses:

1. Welcome Bonus:

The most common type of promotion is the welcome bonus offered to new players when they sign up for an online casino. This bonus typically comes in the form of a percentage match on your first deposit, with the most generous offers matching 100% of your initial investment. One important factor to consider when choosing a welcome bonus is the wagering requirements. These are the conditions that must be met before you can withdraw any winnings earned with the bonus funds. Look for casinos with lower wagering requirements to increase your chances of cashing out big.

2. Reload Bonus:

Once you've exhausted your welcome bonus, many online casinos offer reload bonuses to keep you playing. These promotions are similar to welcome bonuses, but typically come with a lower percentage match. Nonetheless, they can still add a significant amount of money to your bankroll. One great way to take advantage of reload bonuses is to time your deposit with a hot streak at the Pai Gow Poker table, giving you an even better chance of winning big.

3. Free Spins:

Some casinos may offer free spins on slot machines as part of their promotions. While these free spins may not apply directly to Pai Gow Poker, they can still be used to boost your bankroll. Any winnings earned from these free spins usually come with wagering requirements, so be sure to read the terms carefully before jumping in.

Tips for Maximizing Your Bonus Potential:

By following these tips and using bonuses and promotions strategically, you can increase your chances of winning big at Pai Gow Poker. Remember to always play responsibly and have fun!

The Fascinating Origins and Evolution of Pai Gow Poker

Pai Gow Poker is a casino game that originated in China and has since become popular in many parts of the world. Its creation can be traced back to the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD), when the Chinese used tiles to play the game of Pai Gow.

During the mid-1800s, Chinese immigrants introduced Pai Gow to the United States, where it was played with traditional playing cards instead of tiles. The game quickly gained popularity among American casino-goers and was eventually combined with poker, resulting in the birth of Pai Gow Poker.

Today, Pai Gow Poker is played both online and at land-based casinos worldwide. The game's rules and strategies have evolved over time, with different variations of the game developed in different regions. However, the core concept of the game, which involves dividing a hand of seven cards into a high and low hand, remains the same.

Pai Gow Poker has also inspired various other casino games, including Fortune Pai Gow and Progressive Fortune Pai Gow. In addition, the game has found its way into popular culture, with references in movies like "Showgirls" and "Ocean's Eleven."

Whether you're a seasoned player or new to the game, understanding the history and evolution of Pai Gow Poker can help you appreciate its unique blend of Chinese and American cultures and improve your gameplay.

Frequently Asked Questions About Pai Gow Poker

What is Pai Gow Poker?

Pai Gow Poker is a card game that originated in Asia and is now popular in casinos all around the world. The game is played with a standard deck of 52 cards plus a joker, and the goal is to create two poker hands, one of five cards and one of two cards, that beat the dealer's hands.

How do I play Pai Gow Poker?

To play Pai Gow Poker, you begin by placing a bet. You will then receive seven cards, which you will need to divide into two hands: a five-card hand and a two-card hand. The five-card hand must be stronger than the two-card hand. Once you have made your hands, the dealer will reveal their cards and the hands will be compared. If both of your hands beat the dealer's hands, you win.

What are the rules of Pai Gow Poker?

The basic rules of Pai Gow Poker are relatively simple. Your goal is to create two hands, one of five cards and one of two cards, that beat the dealer's hands. The five-card hand must be stronger than the two-card hand. In terms of hand strengths, they follow the same rankings as regular poker hands.

What is the house edge in Pai Gow Poker?

The house edge in Pai Gow Poker varies from casino to casino, but it is generally considered to be one of the lower house edges among casino games. It is possible to reduce the house edge even further by using a strategy that is optimized for the game's unique rules.

Can I use a strategy to improve my chances in Pai Gow Poker?

Yes, there are several strategies that can be used to improve your chances in Pai Gow Poker. These include arranging your cards according to a set of rules, taking the joker into consideration, and knowing when to split your hands. It is recommended that players learn and practice a strategy before playing for real money.