Poker Rules

Pai Gow

An extremely easy poker game to learn you can find in online poker is Pai Gow Poker. It is more a casino-based game because like in many other casino games you play Pai Gow Poker against a dealer. So it does not matter what hands do your poker colleagues have. You win if your hand is better than the dealer's. But as Pai Gow Poker in certain aspects is very similar to regular poker games like Texas Hold'em or Omaha, make sure you understand the rules of these games before trying to learn Pai Gow Poker. Good news is that we have detailed Texas Hold'em rules so make sure to check it out if you are new to poker.

Pai Gow Poker Rules

Pai Gow Poker is a casino based poker game that in a sense is very similar to most poker games. If you understand poker hand strength you will crack Pai Gow Poker in a second. Unfortunately, Pai Gow Poker is more based on luck rather than skill like Texas Hold'em, Omaha and other poker variants.

In Pai Gow Poker the main distinction is that you are dealt 7 cards from the very beginning and neither receive nor get to throw away any of your cards. There are no community cards either. The goal is to make not one, but two of the best poker combinations that are available to you. If they both beat the dealer's combinations, you win the pot.

Lets break it down in turns:

  • You make a bet
  • You get dealt 7 cards. The dealer gets 7 cards, too.
  • You make 2 hand combinations
  • The dealer opens his cards
  • The dealer sorts his cards from the lowest to the largest and make two combinations
  • The winner is determined

The Deal in Pai Gow Poker

Once you get your 7 cards, you must make two combinations. The stronger of these combinations is called the High Hand. As a player you do not have to play the strongest combination as your High Hand. However, in the end the High Hand must consist out of 5 cards while the second highest hand must consist of 2 cards.

So, in an example below you see a Pai Gow Poker hand that a player holds {k-Hearts}{k-Spades}{5-Diamonds}{5-Spades}{q-Diamonds}{10-Diamonds}{2-Hearts}. As in Pai Gow Poker there are no community cards and no drawings, by using 7 cards you must make two combinations. As you see, the strongest combination would be {k-Hearts}{k-Spades} while the second strongest combination in poker would be {5-Diamonds}{5-Spades}.

The rules of Pai Gow Poker state that your strongest combination must be moved to the back while your weakest combination is moved to the front. This is important to know how to do because in order to win your both combinations have to win over both of the dealer's combinations. Do not worry, you lose only if you lose both combinations as well. If you win one and lose one, this is called 'the push' or simply a tie.

Pai Gow Poker Strategy

Even though this poker game is designed as a casino game and the house does have an edge over the player, there are some Pai Gow Poker strategy hints and tips that you can use to win more than you play!

  • Try to find the balance between both combinations. If it is possible, don't make your high hand too strong as you will leave you other combination too weak. Remember, the dealer must use his hands always in the same – the best possible combination has to be the High Hand. Use your edge to be able to choose which combinations to use.
    For example, do not play full house as your High Hand. 3 of a kind is usually strong enough to be able to win over the dealer's High Hand Combination. This will leave you with wuite strong 2n Hand combination.
  • Second Highest Hand will not often make a pair but the dealer won't often have it, too. So, think about putting at least one high card such as Q, K or A. (rarely does the kicker decide the winner).
  • If you get 3 pairs in one hand, consider not using your strongest pair in your High Hand. A two pair out of two least strongest pairs should be enough to win over the dealer's High Hand and your strongest pair would be a perfect representative for your 2nd Highest Hand.
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