Pai Gow Rules

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Learning to play different games of chance is great fun, and the Pai Gow Rules are very different because it combines the game of poker with Pai Gow, which is a very old game played in China. The game uses a normal deck of cards and the joker is used almost as a wild card, which can come in handy. Let’s talk about these rules and how this unique game is played.

Starting the Game

The game is played with six players plus the dealer. The bets are placed, and the cup of dice is shaken to determine which player is dealt the first card. The dealer then distributes seven cards face down to each player at the table, which the players then organize into separate hands – one with five cards and the other with two. The cards are sorted based on which would have the higher probability of winning against the “Banker” and the arrangement intent is for the hand with the player’s five cards to outrank the hand with player’s two cards.

Objective of the Game

The objective in this game is for both of the player’s hands to beat the Banker’s. Both of the player’s hands are compared, meaning that the player’s hand that contains the two cards must beat the Banker’s comparable hand – which is called the “low” hands. In addition, the player’s hand with the five cards must also beat the Banker’s comparable hand – these are called the “high” hands.

Being the “Banker”

Each player in turn is offered to be the “Banker” and they may decline or agree to be the banker. If all players decline, the dealer becomes the “Banker”, and a white plastic cube is placed at the dealer’s position.

And the Play Continues

Each player’s cards are positioned face down in the designated locations in front of the player, and no cards are shown. When the cards are all set, the dealer turns their cards face up and sets their hand. Whichever player is designated as the “Banker” compares their hands to the dealer’s hand, and continues around the table.

Winning and Losing Hands

The hands are ranked exactly as they are in poker, and the hands that win are placed face up at the betting loop. If the hand is lost, the bet is gathered by the dealer and the cards tossed aside. In case of a tie hand, no money is exchanged.


As with all games, the Pai Gow Rules have some specific regulations that favor the house. For example, if the players hand and the Banker’s hand are ranked exactly the same, then this is a tie – and the rules state the win goes to the Banker.

Another consequence to the rules, if only one of the player’s hand beats the Banker, but the other loses to the Banker, then it is called a “push”, which is also a tie, except that no money is traded.

If the hand with the two cards beats the hand with five cards, the player loses. If an incorrect number of cards are placed in the hand, the player loses.

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