The popularity of Pai Gow poker has been continuously growing for the past several years. One of the reasons for such attention to the game is that many online casinos started offering their visitors to play Pai Gow poker online, and they enjoyed it a lot. In this article, we will cover the background of the game, explain the rules, the strategies and the card combinations available, check the winning odds and deliver a compilation of player reviews and expert opinions.
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📍 About Pai Gow Poker
Pai Gow poker was invented in the 1980-s and became pretty popular at the time. However, the game gained true international popularity during recent years because of online casinos adding it to their assortment of games. The name originates from a famous Chinese game Pai Gow, in which dominoes are used similarly.
Pai Gow poker was invented in the 20th century and now is one of the best variations of the classic card game.
Pai Gow poker is a cultural phenomenon: it is a combination of classic poker that was invented in the 1800-s and an ancient Chinese game Pai Gow created more than a thousand years ago. The new game takes more from classic poker, including the way cards are dealt, the combinations and the betting procedure. As for the Chinese game, its contribution is clearly seen when the players have to split cards in two hands.
The rules of Pai Gow poker are described further. The game starts with the dealer handing over seven cards to each player. The players then have to split their cards in two hands: five cards in their high hand and two cards in their low hand. Then the hands are compared with the dealer’s ones. The player wins if both his hands; the bet is won. In case both of the dealer’s hands won, the bet is lost. Otherwise, it is a draw, and the bet is returned.
The rules might seem quite simple for classic poker experts. However, there are some important details you need to know before playing Pai Gow. First of all, there are some rules concerning the hand-splitting procedure: you have to use the strongest possible combination with your high hand. Another thing is that the deck is a little different from regular poker: apart from the original 52 cards, there is a joker, which may be used as a wild card for some combinations.
Compared with classic poker, Pai Gow is a low-risk game. In this section, we will explain how the combinations work and suggest a course of actions to minimize the risks even more.
⭐ No Pair
You don’t have any pair. You cannot really hope to win in such a case but should do your best to make it a draw round. To do so, you should split the highest cards you have to the low hand.
♣️ One Pair
In case you only get one pair, you do not have much choice: according to the rules, you have to split the strongest combinations to your high hand. It is still a comparably weak combination, so you should split your highest cards to your low hand.
🎮 Two pairs
In case you get two pairs, split the higher pair to the low hand: this will increase the chances not to lose.
🕹️ Three of a kind
The situation with a three of a kind combination is simple: you have to split it to the high hand and take the higher cards to the low one.
💡 Straight and Flushes
Straights and flushes are obviously split to the high hand as well. These are strong combinations that give you a high chance of winning at least one hand.
🥇 Full House
A full house is also split to the high hand and gives a great chance to win it. However, you should also get at least a high card for the low hand.
🔐 Four of a kind
Getting four of a kind almost guarantees that you win the high hand, so you should choose the best from the three remaining cards for the low one.
🌟 Five Aces
Five aces are the best combination in Pai Gow, and it may only be achieved with a joker. It is a 100% win for the high hand as there is only one joker in the deck.
A semi-wild card used in Pai Gow. It may be used to complete any 5-card combination; otherwise, it is counted as an ace.
Pai Gow Poker Combination
The highest card in the hand that is not part of any other combination.
Two cards of the same rank.
Three of a kind
J, J, J(any)
Three cards of the same rank.
6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (any)
Five cards of consecutive ranks.
5, 10, K, J, Q (spades)
Five cards of the same suit.
3, 3, J, J, J (any)
A hand with both a pair and a three of a kind combinations.
Four of a kind
Four cards of the same rank.
2, 3, 4, 5, 6 (hearts)
A straight with all the cards being of the same suit.
10, J, Q, K, A (clubs)
Cards of five consecutive ranks from 10 to A and of the same suit.
A, A, A, A, Joker
All the four aces and the joker.
Despite the odds to get four aces and a joker in Pai Gow are lower than to get a flush royale in classic poker, the game is considered a low-risk one. In case you get a bad combination, you can always win the low hand.
Pai Gow has a very low chance of losing both hands. The chances for good combinations are pretty high, but if the dealer puts his best cards to the high hand, you can outplay him with your low. You can check out the following statistics:
To split cards in Pai Gow, you have to select five of the cards and put them on the one hand and put the other two on the second hand. The strongest combination should always be at the high hand.
What are high and low hands in Pai Gow poker?
In Pai Gow poker, you have to split cards in two hands. The hand with five cards is the high one, while the hand with two cards is called low.
What are the fortune bonuses?
Some casinos generously offer fortune bonuses for finding strong combinations. The payouts are different between the websites, but the general rule is 'the rarer the combination, the higher the payout'.
Is Pai Gow poker risk-free?
As with any type of gambling, there are risks. Despite Pai Gow poker being considered a low-risk game, you can still lose your bets and your money. However, there are strategies to minimize risks and fortune bonuses from the casinos that make this game one of the safest choices at online gambling.
Is it hard to learn Pai Gow?
The game is not really much harder to learn than regular poker. Pai Gow poker will be easy to learn for those who already know how to play the classic card game as there are only several conditions added.
How do you use the joker in Pai Gow?
The joker is a semi-wild card in Pai Gow, which may be hard to understand at first. The easy way to learn the joker rules is to remember that it may only be used to finish five-card combinations. If you got no such combinations, the joker is counted as an ace.