Pai Gow Poker – Chinese Poker Rules and Odds

Pai Gow Poker

Pai Gow Poker is a card game based on the ancient Chinese tile game of Pai Gow Tiles. Pai Gow Poker can be found in most casinos, both online and land-based. Like many table games – Blackjack for instance – players compete only against the dealer, not one another.

Pai Gow Poker Rules – Game Setup

Pai Gow Poker is played with a deck of 53 cards, including one Joker. As with many poker games, the Wild Joker may only be used as an Ace, or to complete a Straight or Flush. Up to 7 players, including the dealer, can participate in a single hand of Pai Gow Poker.

Pai Gow Poker Rules – Hand Development

Each player is dealt a total of 7 cards. From these cards, the player must develop two hands – one with 5 cards and another with 2 cards. The rules of hand development require that the 5-card hand, called the High Hand, be stronger in rank than the 2-card hand, or the Low Hand.

For example, if the Low Hand contains a Pair of Aces, the high Hand must be at least Two Pair or higher (or another Pair of Aces, but that is unlikely, and a good Pai Gow Poker strategy would never say to split 4 Aces into both hands in this manner; 3 Aces in the High Hand and Ace High in the Low Hand would be ideal).

Once both hands are complete, the Low Hand and High Hand are placed face down in front of the player, with the 2-card hand on top, 5-card hand below.

Pai Gow Poker Rules – Win, Lose or Push

Once all players’ hands are complete, it is time for the dealer to arrange his/her hand. The dealer exposes all 7 cards and arranges them in proper High and Low hand fashion, according to specific casino guidelines. During this time, players are not permitted to touch their cards.

All hands are then turned face up and compared to the dealer’s.

Win: You will win only if your 5-card High Hand beats the dealer’s 5-card High Hand, AND your 2-card Low Hand beats the dealer’s 2-card Low Hand. If this happens, you win. Your bet is paid even money and the hand is over.

Lose: If both the dealer’s High and Low Hands beat your High and Low Hands, your bet is lost and the hand is over.

Push: If one of your hands beats the dealer’s respective hand, but the other hand loses to the dealer’s respective hand, it is a tie; called a Push. Your bet is returned and the hand is over.

Pai Gow Poker Rules – Proper Hands

It is essential that you develop your hands properly. In a live casino, repeated attempts to develop a higher ranking Low Hand than the High Hand could result in a swift exit from the table, whether it was accidental or otherwise. Play Pai Gow Poker at an online casino site and you simply won’t be allowed to develop a higher Low Hand. The software will reset the hand and ask you to try again.

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