Skip to main content

Pai Gow Poker Rules

Welcome to the best Pai Gow Poker Rules guide. Pai gow poker is a personal favourite for many players at As the name suggests, this is a variation of the classic table game, poker, found at many online casinos.

To play pai gow poker effectively and to give yourself a chance at winning any money, you must know the rules of the game. Fortunately, we’ve developed this guide where we clearly explain all the rules of the game to help you get ahead.

Play Pai Gow Poker Online


$7500 Bonus

98% Payout

Rating: 5/5

98% Payout

$7500 Bonus 98% Payout - Rating: 5/5

$6000 Bonus

97% Payout

Rating: 4.9/5

97% Payout

$6000 Bonus 97% Payout - Rating: 4.9/5

$10000 Bonus

98% Payout

Rating: 4.8/5

98% Payout

$10000 Bonus 98% Payout - Rating: 4.8/5

350% Bonus

98% Payout

Rating: 4.8/5

98% Payout

350% Bonus 98% Payout - Rating: 4.8/5

$5000 Bonus

98% Payout

Rating: 5/5

98% Payout

$5000 Bonus 98% Payout - Rating: 5/5

Pai Gow Poker Page Content

Rules of Playing Pai Gow Poker Online

In essence, your main goal is to build two hands that beat the dealers. The one hand will consist of 5 cards, while the other hand consists of two cards. The game uses the standard poker hand rankings chart to determine the value of each hand. To win, your hands must rank higher or be of better value than the dealers. If only one of your two hands wins, that’s what we call a push where nobody takes the pot. But, if both your hands lose to the dealer’s hands, you will forfeit your bet, allowing the dealer to win that round.

Pai gow poker is generally a light-hearted slow-paced game, which makes it easier to grasp the rules. It’s less intense compared to a standard poker game, and there are no continuous betting rounds, which simplifies things even more.

Pai Gow Poker Rules

Betting Rules in Pai Gow Poker

So, the game is played using a 53-card deck. This is comprised of a regular 52 card deck plus one joker card. We explain the function of the joker later.

The game begins with you placing a bet. There is only one betting occasion per round, but you must ensure that your bet amount is within the minimum and maximum limits at that casino or table.

Some casinos enable the additional side bet option where you get a second betting opportunity placed independently of the first bet. Here, you bet on whether or not you think one of your hands will be the one that holds three of a kind or better. The higher your side bet hand, the better your payout will be. And, as mentioned previously, side bets are placed independently, so even if you lose your main bet, there’s still a chance that you could win the side bet.

Pro Tip: Our pai gow poker experts advise players not to place side bets though because the house edge imposed on bonus bets are big and could see you lose more money than anything else.

Pai Gow Poker Rules Dealing Cards

Now it’s time to deal the cards and set the game in motion. But, this isn’t done blindly. There are rules regarding how many cards are dealt, who deals the cards and how it’s done.

The tale dealer or the casino software (if you are playing online) is responsible for handing out the cards. The rules state that each player (including the dealer) must receive 7 cards each and that the cards must be dealt face down.

A pai gow poker table usually accommodates about 6 players, but even if all seats aren’t taken, the dealer will still hand 7 cards to the empty seats to make the game fair. After all cards are dealt, the four remaining ones will be placed in what’s called the “muck pile”.

Rules on How to Build Your Hand

At this stage, all bets are in, and the cards have been dealt. Pai gow poker rules state that you must split your seven cards into two hands with 5 and 2 cards, respectively. To differentiate between the two hands, they are given names. The front hand, also known as the small or low hand, is the one with two cards.

Pai Gow Poker Rules Guide

The back hand, also known as the big or high hand, is the one that holds five cards. Perhaps the most important pai gow poker rule to remember regarding hands is that your small hand may only consist of a pair, or two high cards. A pair referring to any two like cards, and a high card referring to a single card with no use.

Another important pai gow poker rule is that your five-card hand must be the better hand of the two. In other words, it must rank higher than the small hand. If you make a mistake and build a small hand that outranks the big hand, you will lose your bet.

Pai Gow Poker Rules The Joker

The inclusion of a joker card makes the game interesting and unpredictable in a way. The joker card acts as a wild symbol in a pokie game. Its function is to substitute any card to form an accepted hand ranking. For example:

  • A joker can substitute any card to form a straight flush
  • A joker card can be used as any suit card to complete a flush
  • If none of the above instances applies, the joker takes the value of an ace card, especially in the two-card hand

Rules About the Dealer

There are certain rules in the game that dictates how the dealer ought to build and treat his/her hand. This rule is called the “house way” rules and differs for every casino. Because the rule plays out differently at each casino, it’s not possible to give one straight answer on how It should be done. Instead, we advise you to check out the handbook or rules guide for the casino that you’ve chosen.