Overview of Pai Gow Poker

Pai Gow Poker is a 7-card game where players need to form two hands – one 5-card hand (the ‘back’ hand) and another 2-card hand (the ‘front’ hand). The goal of the game is to beat the dealer with both hands.

What sets Pai Gow Poker apart from other poker variations is its fun and exciting challenge of creating two strong poker hands and the strategic decisions this involves. It is an intriguing blend of luck and skill that never fails to captivate players.

How to Play Pai Gow Poker

To guide you through the gaming process, we’ve detailed a step-by-step instructional guide on how to play Pai Gow Poker:

  1. Placing Bets: At the start of each round, place your bet according to the table’s betting limits.
  2. Dealing Cards: You and the dealer are both dealt seven cards.
  3. Forming Hands: Organize your cards into a five-card hand and a two-card hand. The five-card hand must be stronger than the two-card hand.
  4. Revealing Cards: After forming your hands, the dealer reveals their cards and arranges them into a two-card and five-card hand using predefined rules (the House Way).
  5. Compare Hands: Your hands are compared to the dealer’s. If both your hands are stronger, you win. If only one of your hands is stronger, it’s a push (tie), and if both dealer’s hands are stronger, you lose.
  6. Payouts: Winning both hands results in a payout, minus a 5% commission for the house.

Pai Gow Poker Strategies

Like all poker games, Pai Gow Poker involves both luck and skill. Understanding the strategic nuances of the game can improve your chances of winning. Here are some Pai Gow Poker strategies:

  • Balancing Hands: Always ensure your five-card hand is higher ranking than your two-card hand.
  • Handling No Pair: If you don’t have any pairs, put the highest card in your five-card hand and the next two highest cards in your two-card hand.
  • Managing Pairs: Place your pair in your five-card hand if you have just one pair. If you have two pairs, split them between your hands based on the House Way.

Beginner's Tips for Pai Gow Poker

If you’re just starting with Pai Gow Poker, here are some helpful tips:

  1. Practice for Free: Use our free-to-play version of Pai Gow Poker to understand the game mechanics before wagering real money.
  2. Learn Hand Rankings: Familiarize yourself with poker hand rankings to make the best decisions when forming your hands.
  3. Manage Your Bankroll: Always bet within your means. Setting a budget and sticking to it is a cornerstone of responsible gaming.
  4. Learn Basic Strategy: Use our Pai Gow Poker strategy guide to understand the best course of action for all possible hands.


What is Pai Gow Poker?

Pai Gow Poker is a unique variant of poker that blends the American poker game with the Chinese game of Pai Gow. It involves players being dealt seven cards, which they must divide into two separate poker hands: one five-card hand and a two-card hand. The aim is to beat the dealer’s corresponding hands.

How do I play Pai Gow Poker?

In Pai Gow Poker, you start by placing a bet, then you’re dealt seven cards. You’ll need to split these cards into two hands: a five-card hand and a two-card hand. The five-card hand (also known as the ‘back’ hand) must be higher than the two-card hand (the ‘front’ hand). After all players have set their hands, the dealer reveals their cards and arranges them. Your hands are then compared to the dealer’s hands. Winning requires your both hands to rank higher than the dealer’s respective hands.

Can I play Pai Gow Poker for free?

Yes, many online casinos reviewed by Real.Casino offer free or ‘demo’ versions of Pai Gow Poker. This allows you to familiarize yourself with the game and understand its mechanics without risking any real money.

Can I play Pai Gow Poker on my mobile device?

Absolutely. Most of the online casinos reviewed on Real.Casino offer mobile-friendly versions of their games. This means you can enjoy playing Pai Gow Poker on your smartphone or tablet, providing you with the flexibility to play anytime, anywhere.

What is the optimal strategy for Pai Gow Poker?

While the strategy can be complex due to the number of possible hand combinations, some key points include always making sure your five-card hand ranks higher than your two-card hand, splitting pairs between your hands wisely, and if you don’t have any pairs, putting the highest card in your five-card hand and the next two highest cards in your two-card hand. Check out Pai Gow Poker strategies in our casino guide.

Responsible Gambling While Playing Pai Gow Poker

At Real.Casino, we strongly advocate for responsible gambling. Playing online Pai Gow Poker can be a thrilling experience, but it is crucial to maintain control and set limits to ensure that gaming remains a source of entertainment and does not become a problem. Here are some tips for responsible gambling:

1. Set a Budget: Before you start playing, decide how much money you can afford to lose. It’s important not to exceed this limit. Money spent on gambling should always be seen as a cost of entertainment, like going to a movie or a sports event.

2. Set a Time Limit: Time can easily get away from you when playing Pai Gow Poker. By setting a time limit, you can make sure that you’re not spending more time than you should on gambling.

3. Never Chase Losses: If you’ve lost money, don’t try to play more to win it back. This often leads to larger losses and possible financial trouble.

4. Understand the Game: Knowing the rules and strategies of Pai Gow Poker can help you make informed decisions and make the game more enjoyable.

5. Take Breaks: Regular breaks can keep your mind fresh and help prevent impulsive decisions.

6. Don’t Gamble Under the Influence: Alcohol or drugs can impair your judgement and lead to poor decision making.

7. Seek Help if Needed: If you feel that gambling is becoming a problem for you, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Organizations like Gamblers Anonymous and GamCare provide support and resources for people who are struggling with problem gambling.

Remember, gambling should be a form of entertainment, not a way to make money or escape life’s problems. Stay in control, and enjoy your gaming responsibly.