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Pai Gow Poker
Pai Gow Poker

How To Play Pai Gow Poker

Pai Gow Poker is a table game that mixes elements of Pai Gow, an ancient Chinese game, with seven-card poker. The game is played using a 53-card deck that includes one Joker.

The Object of the Game

During a round of Pai Gow Poker, each player and the dealer is dealt seven cards that must be arranged into two poker hands: a five-card hand and two-card hand. The object of the game is to bet on whether the player’s hands beat those of the dealer.

How to play Pai Gow Poker in 5 easy steps

  • Dollar signs signifying expense level with checkmark next to the middle option $$.
    1

    Set a budget. Getting swept up in the heat of the moment is easy in Pai Gow Poker. A predetermined game plan is a great way to keep things cool.

  • A hand places down three chips next to a banknote.
    2

    Buy chips. Simply place cash on the table and the dealer will exchange it for chips.

  • Three chips in the marked Bet area.
    3

    Place bets. Bets should be placed inside the marked chip circle on the table.

  • Seven cards are separated into two and five. Two cards on the front and five on the rear.
    4

    Arrange the cards. The dealer will distribute seven cards to each player. These must be arranged into two poker hands—one with five cards, and one with two.

  • A dealer has five and two cards facing a player’s two-card hand.
    5

    Compare hands to see who wins, the player or dealer.

1. Set a budget

Savvy gamblers know there’s no way to guarantee a win. That’s why they set aside a play budget like one might set aside for a dinner out or concert tickets.

2. Buy chips

Money and chips are never exchanged directly between a dealer and player. To make a purchase, simply place cash on the table and the dealer will replace it with chips.

3. Place bets

Three chips in the marked Bet area.

The dealer will call for bets before any cards have been dealt. Decide how much to bet and place the required amount of chips inside the marked chip circle. The dealer will then shake a dice cup to see which player receives their cards first.

4. Arrange your cards

Seven cards are separated into two and five. Two cards on the front and five on the rear.

Once players have received their cards, it’s time to split them into a five-card hand and a two-card hand. The five-card hand is called the “rear” hand, and the two-card hand is called the “front” hand. The rear hand must have a higher poker score than the front hand.

Keep in mind:

  • Five-card hands follow conventional poker rules
  • The two-card hand will either be a pair or no pair
  • If the two-card hand has no pair, the score is based on the value of each card with Aces high

5. Compare your hands

A dealer has five and two cards facing a player’s two-card hand.

Once the player and dealer cards have been arranged into front and rear hands, it’s time to compare them.

Keep in mind:

  • The player wins their bet if their front and rear hands beat both of the dealer’s hands
  • The player’s bet pushes if only one of their hands beats only one of the dealer’s hands
  • The player loses their bet if both of their hands tie or lose to the dealer

Play more Pai Gow

Feeling inspired by the challenge of Pai Gow Poker?
Check out the game’s original form, Pai Gow Tiles.

Learn about Pai Gow Tiles