How To Play Pai Gow Poker As A Beginner?

How to play Pai Gow Poker as a Beginner
How To Play Pai Gow Poker As A Beginner?

For those new players who have never played the game of Pai Gow Poker this guide is very useful. First of all, you should know what this game is all about. Pai Gow Poker is a casino table game and is played with a standard 52-card deck plus one joker. This game can be easily found both online and land real casinos to play. Though tables might be few for this game almost all casinos offer this exciting poker game to enjoy. Let’s find out how to play pai gow poker as a beginner.

Play Pai Gow Poker As A Beginner

Understanding Pai Gow
After making a bet, each player is dealt seven cards and must make two poker hands

Pai Gow Poker rules are fairly simple. After making a bet, each player is dealt seven cards and must make two poker hands: A standard five-card poker hand and a two-card poker hand. The five-card hand is often called “behind”, or the “bottom,” “high,” or “big” hand, while the two-card hand is called “in front”, “on top”, or the “small,” “minor,” or “low” hand.

When forming your two hands from your seven cards, the five-card hand must be higher than the two-card hand. In other words, if you are dealt A-A-3-5-7-10-J and you can‘t make a flush, you must include the pair of aces in the five-card poker hand, not the two-card poker hand.

Follow what beats what Rule

Five-card hands follow the standard what-beats-what rules, with two exceptions: some casinos count A-2-3-4-5 as the second-highest straight like some land casinos in Las Vegas Nevada. Also having a joker in the deck introduces the possibility of five of a kind which beats a straight flush.

The best two-card hands are pairs and then simply high cards. Straights and flushes don’t matter in the two-card hand. The worst possible 2-card hand is 2-3, while the best is a pair of aces.

Bug and showdown in Pai Gow

Bug and show down
The wild or the joker in Pai Gow is called a “bug.”

The wild or the joker in Pai Gow is called a “bug.” It acts as an ace unless it can be used to fill out a straight or a flush. This also means that you can have five aces, which is the best possible five-card hand in Pai Gow.

Once players have set their two poker hands, they place their hands in front of them, the two-card hand in front, and the five-card in the back. All the players at the table are playing to win both hands against the “banker.” The banker can be the dealer, or one of the players at the table, like in Baccarat.

How to be a winner?

Each player should know the tips to gaming. Here the player compares his hands to the banker’s hands. If both the player’s hands beat the banker’s, the player wins. In case one of the player’s hands beats the banker’s hands but not the other, it’s considered a push or draw and the player takes back his money. If the banker’s hands beat the player’s, the player loses. In the case of a tie, the banker wins — this is one of the ways the house keeps the advantage. If a player is banking, the house takes a commission from the winning hands and doesn’t need an advantage.​

Pai Gow Poker tips to win without any game strategy

Pai Gow Poker tips to win without any game strategy
Pai Gow Poker tips to win without any game strategy

1. Know the game rules

The most important thing is to know the rules. This is the number one tip for this game and all other casino games. If you do not know the rules how can you possibly hope to win the game? Therefore take time to go through the rules of Pai Gow Poker. When you know the rules you can use that knowledge to avoid unnecessary losses.

2. Know the hand ratings

You should know and understand the ratings of different poker hands. This will be essential in building Poker hands that will win. You will need to master the art of strategically splitting your cards into two hands. If you do this successfully you increase your odds of beating the house. A good way to improve your hand building skills is to play practice rounds in free mode before playing for real money.

3. Create a well-balanced hand

You will need to learn how to create well-balanced hands if you are to win. Better not to concentrate on building only one hand. Both the back and front hands have to be good in order to successfully challenge for a win.

4. Reduce the house edge

When you get two sets of pairs in your seven-card hand, you will need to break them in a way to reduce the house edge. Each player will have a different way of doing this that is well suited to their style of play. So it is necessary to fully understand the value of different poker hands and this will ultimately be the deciding factor on whether you are a winner or a loser.

5. Play the highest-ranking pair

If you get three sets of pairs then you will need to play the highest-ranking pair the front hand. However, you only do this when your backhand is also strong. Should your backhand be poor, then put the high-ranking pair in your backhand and place the highest-value cards in your front hand. This tip should get you some wins for sure.

6. Playing a full house

Only play a full house in your backhand when you can create a strong front hand. Pai Gow poker is different from other variants of Poker that are available. A full house usually does not win the game for you; rather it can lead to you losing your front-hand bet. Always keep this in mind when playing.

7. Playing as the banker

Do not pass up the opportunity to play as the Banker when you can afford it. The banker has the best odds to win on the table. This however requires you to have a big bankroll as you will need to cover the bets of everyone else on the table.

8. Share the banker position

Find a casino that allows you to share the banker position in order to reduce the risk on your bankroll. When playing as the banker you should always bet big every time you have a good hand since the odds would be in your favour. Never make large bets when not playing as the banker since you will not have a good advantage.

You can also understand how to bet the house way, know the complex hands, and study the way the dealers arrange their cards in the particular casino you are playing in. Also, know how the dealers arrange their hands and how it differs from one casino to the next. The dealer’s hand arrangements are standard and when confused give you the best way out though not the best hand arrangement.

With these eight best tips you can certainly hope to win Pai Gow Poker when playing at casinos.

About the author

Kamal Kaur