Pai Gow Tiles

Pai Gow, played with tiles, is a very easy game to play once you get used to it. Learning how to play Pai Gow Tiles may seem a bit complicated at first, but once you get a taste of the game, it becomes a lot easier to understand the rules.

Pai Gow Tiles Rules – Game Setup

Pai Gow Tiles like Pai Gow Poker is a game for up to 8 players, including one dealer. All players compete against the dealer, not each other. There are 32 tiles in Pai Gow Tiles, and they closely resemble a set of dominoes except that some of the tiles appear twice in the set. There are two Double-6’s, for instance, but only one 4-2 tile. The numbers on each side of the tiles are represented with dots, again just like dominoes.

Pai Gow Tiles Rules – The Tiles

There are a total of 32 tiles, each containing a number of dots on one half of the tile, and a number of dots on the other half. The total number of dots makes up the number value of each tile.

The following chart shows the number of identical tiles, the dots on the tile, and the total value of the tile:

Identical Tiles Dots On Tiles Total Value Of Tiles
2 6-6 12
2 5-5 10
2 4-4 8
2 3-3 6
2 2-2 4
2 1-1 2
2 3-1 4
2 6-5 11
2 6-4 10
2 5-1 6
2 6-1 7
1 6-3 9
1 5-4 9
1 5-3 8
1 6-2 8
1 4-3 7
1 5-2 7
1 4-1 5
1 3-2 5
1 2-1 3 (Wild Tile)
1 4-2 6 (Wild Tile)

3-3 is an odd tile, there are two dots on top, two in the middle and two on the bottom

The Wild Tiles, when paired, make up the best possible hand. On their own, they can become a 6 or a 3. For example, 4-2 played with 5-1 would be a pair, since both equal 6; 4-2 played with 3-2 would equal 9, counting the 4-2 as a 3 instead of 6.

Pai Gow Tiles Rules – Playing Your Tiles/Winning

Each player, and the dealer, is given 4 tiles. A hand is played by combining 2 sets of tiles, each containing 2 tiles. The object is to play two winning sets of tiles. There is a “best hand” and a “worst hand”; the best of your two sets being the best, and the other being the worst. We’ll call these the “high hand” and “low hand”.

Your high hand must beat the dealer’s high hand, and your low hand must beat the dealer’s low hand. If you accomplish this, you win. If you win only one hand, losing the other, it is a tie and your bet is returned. If you lose both hands, you lose your bet.

Hand Ranks:

  • The highest ranking hand is a Pair (see “Pairs” below for a chart of highest ranking pairs).
  • The second highest ranking hand is called Wong.
  • The third highest ranking hand is Gong.
  • The fourth (worst) ranking hand is a straight value, 1 being lowest, 9 being highest (like high card in poker).

Pai Gow Tiles Rules – Pairs

The way pairs are ranked is just plain weird. There’s no easy way to remember the ranks without a chart handy. We’ve listed the highest ranking pairs below. Be sure to watch for mismatched pairs as well, such as 5-4 + 6-3 (both equal 9).

Pairs Ranked from Highest to Lowest:
4-2 + 2-1 (the Wild tiles together beat any hand, called the “Supreme Pair”)
6-6 + 6-6
1-1 + 1-1
4-4 + 4-4
3-1 + 3-1
5-5 + 5-5
3-3 + 3-3
2-2 + 2-2
6-5 + 6-5
6-4 + 6-4
6-1 + 6-1
5-1 + 5-1
6-3 + 5-4
5-3 + 6-2
5-2 + 4-3
4-1 + 3-2

Pai Gow Tiles Riles – Wong

A Wong beats any hand except for a Pair. You have a Wong if you have one tile with a total of 2 or 12 dots, and another tile with a total 9 dots.

Pai Gow Tiles Rules – Gong

A Gong occurs when you combine a tile with a total of 2 or 12 dots, with a tile totaling 8 dots. Gong is not as strong as a Pair or Wong, but beats all other hands.

Pai Gow Tiles Rules – High Tiles

If you have none of the above combinations, your goal is to get as close to 9 as possible. If the total dots on both tiles exceeds 9, drop the left digit. For example, you have 4-3 + 6-5, a total of 18, drop the 1 on the left and you get a total of 8.

Pai Gow Tiles Rules – Tying Hands

In the case of a hand tying, such as 5-2 + 1-1 (9) vs. 4-3 + 1-1 (9), the first hand would win because the 5 in 5-2 is higher than the 4 in 4-3. The highest tile is always the one compared (i.e. 5-2 is higher than 1-1). In the case of an exact tie, such as 1-1 + 3-3 vs. 1-1 + 3-3, the dealer wins the set.

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