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Pai Gow Poker Guide

Pai gow is a fun and popular online card game that combines the Chinese domino game of gai gow with poker. Played in both online casinos and land-based gambling venues, pai gow is really worth checking out if you're a fan of skill games. For best results try playing online pai gow via java based software simulation. It's free to play as much as you want either for fun or as a way to polish your skills for when you're ready to join a game of online pai gow played for real money.

In pai gow poker the player receives 7 cards after the initial bet and must split them into two poker hands of 5 and 2 cards. The 5 card hand (often referred to as the bottom hand) has to contain a higher overall rank than the 2 card hand (which is known as the top hand) when the player is splitting up the 7 total cards. When it comes to ranking the pai gow poker hands, the 2 card hand can either be ranked by pair or high card. The 5 card hand follows the same ranking hierarchy as standard online poker.

To determine who wins the hands must be compared. If both of the players hands beat both of the dealers pai gow hands then the player wins. If only one of the two hands beats the dealer's then it is a tie. And if both the player's pai gow hands are weaker than the dealer's he loses. Try out a few hands using pai gow poker simulator software and you'll get the hang of it in no time.

Pai Gow Poker Rules

  • 5 card hand must rank higher than the 2 card hand.
  • Cards are ranked according to standard poker rules.
  • Joker can only be used to complete straights or flushes, otherwise it counts as an Ace.
  • Dealer wins any copied hand.
  • The Player can win if both the 5-card and the 2-card poker hand outrank the dealers
  • The Player loses if both the 5-card and the 2-card poker hand are outranked by the dealers hand.
  • The dealer outranks either of the two hands and the other hand is a copy.
  • The Player pushes if the player wins one hand and the dealer wins the other.

Hand Values in Pai Gow Poker

The hands are ranked according to standard poker rules with one exception: the Ace-2-3-4-5 straight is the second highest straight. Straights rank, from highest to lowest: Ace-K-Q-J-10, Ace-2-3-4-5, K-Q-J-10-9, 6-5-4-3-2. Also, keep in mind that the best two-card hand is a pair of aces; the two-card hand cannot have a flush (since a flush requires five cards).

Pai Gow Poker Hand Name Description

  • Five of a Kind - 4 aces plus the Joker
  • Royal Flush - 10, J, Q, K, A of same suit
  • Straight Flush - In sequence, 5 cards of same suit
  • Four of a Kind - 4 cards of same rank
  • Full House - 3 of a kind, plus a pair
  • Flush - 5 cards of same suit
  • Straight - 5 cards in sequence
  • Three of a Kind - 3 cards of same rank
  • Two Pair - 2 pairs of different rank
  • One Pair - 1 pair (2 cards) of same rank
  • High Card - 5 cards of different ranks and suits

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