The online Pai Gow casino game is a simple and strategic poker substitute for popular options, such as Hold'em and Omaha, becoming a fad among Indian gamers.
Discover what this game is, the numerous variants you can find online, and the basic rules of playing, and update your vocab to become an expert player in this Pai Gow poker casino review.
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Pai Gow is a game that combines the best of American poker with Chinese domino to offer a wild poker variant playable only against a dealer (or banker). Each game round uses a deck of 52 traditional cards and one Joker, which passes as an Ace and may complete a Flush or Straight.
In essence, Pai Gow poker can be described as a game that arranges two standalone poker hands according to the standard poker hierarchy. Subsequently, 2 Aces represent the most-valuable two-card hand, while 5 Aces (4 Aces + the Joker) stand for the most-valuable five-card hand.
Seven seats make up the casino game Pai Gow table, but a round can be played whether the numbers are complete or not. The goal of every player is to align their cards such that both hands score higher than the dealer’s two hands. Therefore, to win, your two-hand must defeat the banker’s two-hand, and the same applies to a five-hand play. Failure to record higher values than the dealer results in a loss for the player, as the game counts all ties (formally called Copies) in favour of the house.
When both hands win, you receive the same sum for each, and you lose your stakes when both lose. Suppose one hand wins, but the other doesn’t; the game is counted as a Push, invalidating the round.
18+ | T&C's Apply | Responsible Gambling is advised. Gambling is an entertainment form that comes with a considerable risk of losing your money. Never play with more than you can afford to lose.
How Does a Pai Gow Round Go?🤔
Every game round starts with the player receiving seven cards, dividing between both hands in a two-hand and five-hand ratio. Note the cards in the latter must be more valuable than the former.
In online casinos, random number technology is used to determine the participant that receives the first hand. The absence of this device will see the dealer shake up a cup of three dice for the same reason instead. Cards are shared counter-clockwise from the first player’s position to all seven seats, whether they are filled or not.
You may ask that the dealer set your hand according to the “House Way”, a preset method to set cards per hand. All banker’s hands are always set using this predetermined way. When every hand has been set, the dealer’s hands are opened, counted, and compared to every player’s hand to decide stakes.
Frequently Asked Questions about Online Pai Gow Poker
🤔 What is Online Pai Gow Poker?
In an online game of Pai Gow, you will be dealt seven cards. These must be split into a low hand (2-card hand) and a high hand (5-card hand). Your high hand must always be higher in rank. You then make a wager according to what you think the dealer has. Every hand is played against the banker.
⌚ Is it Worth My Time to Gamble Online?
Not only do you get the convenience and privacy that being at home allows you, but you also get opportunities to play bonus rounds or side bet variations that may not be offered in a land-based casino. Of course, the choice is completely yours at the end of the day, but who doesn’t love convenience whilst having fun?
🃏What Are Other Names for Your Two Hands in Pai Gow?
The two-card hand is called a low hand, and the five-card hand is called the front hand, as it is placed in the front. It is also sometimes known as the high hand. For more information, check out our how to play Pai Gow online section.
💰How Much Money Must I Bet?
As with all games that involve gambling and chance, it all depends on your budget and how much of a risk you are willing to take. Smaller bets can make your bankroll grow steadily, whilst larger bets may pay off big, or may not. As always, know what your bankroll is and find a way to maximise it for the most play.
🆓Can I Play Free Online Pai Gow?
Most online casinos will have some sort of free version that will allow you to practice, play and get a feel for the game. Your winnings may be shown on the screen as an indication of how you are doing, but you will obviously not be able to withdraw it.
🖥️Can Online Pai Gow Only Be Played on Your Computer?
Many online casinos have mobile and user-friendly sites that allow you to choose how you would like to play. You can also use your laptop or desktop, and even your tablet if you so desire.
🆕If I am a Beginner, Which Variation Should I Try First?
Once you understand the basics of the game, start with the standard version first. Some games may look easier upfront, but the standard will give you the practice you need to feel confident enough to start betting real money soon. Check out our “Pai Gow Variants” for more info.
📈How do I Increase My Odds at Winning?
Although there are no sure-fire ways to win, using the different strategies mentioned in this article, as well as following up with your own reading and practising, should definitely increase your odds. Read our “Practical Pai Gow Strategies to Improve Your Winning Odds” section for a better understanding.
How Are Hands Set in Pai Gow?👐
The hands in Pai Gow are essentially classified into two: the player’s and the dealer’s. Both classifications may be useful to you, so let’s see how each works.
The basic rule at the Pai Gow table is that the seven cards dealt to a player are to be shared between both hands in the ratio of 5:2. It’s advisable to do this wisely since this is where the game is won or lost. Note your five-card draw must be higher than what you have on the other hand. Suppose any hands hold more or less than the specified card number or the two-card hand has a higher value than the five-card hand. The hand is penalized and reported to the Pit Manager, who’s responsible for deciding on the hand.
When setting your cards, the two-card hand just be downward facing in the Second Highest tile, which is at right angles to the High Hand tile, while the five-card hand must repeat the trick in the High Hand tile. Remember to be careful because you’re not allowed to touch your cards after you’re done with the setting. All leftovers must be above the table where the banker can see them.
The house hand is the standard way for the dealer to set their hands. They are not allowed to switch things up under any circumstances. To set, the banker set their hands alongside the Bankroll Rack from left to right in falling value order. The two-hand is placed parallel to the rack and above the five-hand, about one inch from the rack’s edge. Both hands align with the Bankroll Rack’s left edge when done correctly.
The following are simple rules to remember when you opt for the house way when setting hands in Pai Gow.
Zero Pair | Keep the second and third-highest cards upfront.
One Pair | Keep the highest two cards upfront and the pair in the back.
Three Pairs | Place the most-valuable pair up front.
Full House | Push the highest allowed pair to the front.
Joker in a Flush | Joker serves as the ace, but when there’s an Ace, the Joker ranks as the second-highest card.
Three Aces With a Joker | Tender the Flush or Straight if the table allows you to use a Joker for the purpose.
Should I Set My Hand According to the House Way?🏠
Online casino Pai Gow allows players to ask for their hands to be dealt with similarly to the dealers. That means a participant can avoid the stress of setting their hands by requesting the banker to do so in a fixed, preset method. When this happens, the requestor’s hands are placed face down on the High Hand square, after which the dealer caps the cards using the House Hand button. Should you change your mind before the dealer exposes their cards, you can always reset your hand as you deem fit.
Setting your hands according to the house way is a decision you can take solely for comfort. There’s no proven playing advantage to this move. The excellence of any hand depends mostly on the cards you’re dealt, so the outcome of setting your hand according to the player’s or dealer’s way is mainly defined by luck. Remember that hands set according to the house way remain when the hands are read and that the House Way option only expires after corresponding stakes on the hand are settled.
Note the only place where you may be forced to follow the House Way is at a land-based casino when you choose to co-bank (and co-host) with the casino Pai Gow dealer.
Pai Gow Variants🔥
Apart from its standard mode, you can enjoy different Pai Gow poker online casino games, thanks to the numerous variants. And while the game may not be as diverse as roulette or other table games, it’s noteworthy that each variant is immersive and rewarding. Let’s briefly look at the three most common Pai Gow online casino variants below.
Commission-free Pai Gow
This is a favourite among the gambling Pai Gow populace, but live casinos hardly feature it in their lobbies. Know why? Commission-free Pai Gow only allows the site to earn on side bets and losing wagers. This variation works by paying even cash on winning stakes and operates on only a 1.30% house edge.
EZ Pai Gow Poker
EZ is another commission-free Pai Gow variant, and it’s more acceptable to casinos than its predecessor. This is because the rules allow the sites to compensate for the lack of commission by adding certain hand arrangements that result in a Push automatically. For instance, the round settles in a Push if the dealer holds a queen-high in their five-card hand regardless of the cards in the player’s Hands.
No-push Pai Gow
As the title suggests, No-push Pai Gow doesn’t allow Push outcomes. Also, there are no commissions on the game. Suppose a player records a tie with the dealer; two cards are picked out of the leftovers to settle the draw. Each participant (dealer and player) receives a card face down each, and the former wins if their hand ties or rank higher than the latters. The player only wins if the card they’re dealt is valued higher than the dealers.
Side Bets in Pai Gow💵
Pai Gow’s fun is limitless due to the presence of side bets. Participants and spectators in the game can engage in these wagers, increasing the thrill and potential rewards. The table below describes the most popular types of side bets in Pai Gow.
The player stakes on the possibility that they will form a qualifying five-card poker with the cards they’re dealt. This wager wins if the bettor has a straight or higher band.
2:1 — 5,000:1
This option is tied to the Fortune side bet. Any player who stakes at least 5 rupees on the Fortune Wager gets a return if the bet wins.
5.30% — 8%
₹5 — ₹3,000
Before the cards are exposed, the player bets on pulling a seven-card Pai Gow. The implication is that they can’t have pairs or better poker hands in the cards they get.
3:1 — 100:1
Pai Gow Progressive Jackpot
This side bet requires you to contribute a minimum of ₹5 on the progressive side bet. It’s won on presenting a 7-card straight flush.
Current Jackpot Amount
Queen’ s Dragon
In this bet, the player wagers on the dealer recording a non-ranking hand (queen-high hand).
This bet pays off when a player holds a joker and/or has cards of the same colour.
Rules of Hands in Pai Gow📝
Winning at Pai Gow requires presenting a better pair of hands than the banker. Considering this, it’s next to impossible to play the game without knowing how the ranks of cards in the deck are pulled. This section gives a direct rundown of various Pai Gow casino rules for winning, from the most valuable to the least valuable.
Five Aces | 4 Aces + 1 Joker
Royal Straight Flush | A five-hand of same-suit Ace cards in numerical series.
Straight Flush | Any 5 same-suit cards arranged in numerical order.
Four-of-a-Kind | 4 same-rank cards in one hand.
Full House | 3 same-rank cards and 2 different same-rank cards.
Flush | Any 5 same-suit cards, regardless of sequence.
Straight | Any 5 cards in an arithmetic series, regardless of suit.
Three-of-a-Kind | 3 same-rank cards.
One Pair | 2 equally ranked different card sets.
Two Pairs | 2 same-rank cards.
High Card | A hand that contains zero pair, a flush, or straight that’s rated by its most-valuable card.
Practical Pai Gow Strategies to Improve Your Winning Odds🤑
Some Pai Go players are worth listening to because of years of experience and trophy-laden careers. Our team has collected reliable recommendations from these people on how to win at the game.
In addition, we’ve tested every Pai Gow poker betting strategy mentioned below, so you can put your faith in us. Before we begin, note that Pai Gow is much easier to win when you maximize every card you get. So our tips will focus on the various combos you may be dealt with and how to manoeuvre each possibility.
No Pair, Flush, or Straight
Collect the most valuable card in your five-card hand (or the high hand) and the next two-highest in the two-card hand (or the low card hand).
The moves to make differ on the cards when you have two pairs. When Aces make up the top pair, always split the pair. However, if the other pair contains deuces, tender the pair together and keep the next two highest cards in the two-hand. Note the following two-paie strategies:
– Sixes and Below | Split except when you have an Ace, which will see you play the pair and the Ace while you keep the next highest in the low hand.
– Sevens thru Tens | Split except if you have an Ace, in which case you’ll have to play together with the pair and keep the next most-valuable card in the low hand (again).
– Jacks thru Aces | Split and keep the most-valuable pair in the five-card hand.
Keep the highest of the pairs in the two-card hand. Suppose you have Three of a Kind, keep all cards together unless if they are Aces. If so, gather a pair of Aces in the five-card hand and the third Ace with the next most-valuable card in the low hand.
Split every time, keeping the pair in the two-hand, except if there’s another pair, in which case, you’ll have to play the highest pair in the two-hand.
Flushes and Straights
Collect the flush or straight in the five-card hand, keeping the highest card in the other hand. However, the rules may change when you have two pairs, as this is best played using the two-pair rules earlier mentioned. Note Flushes and Straights are preferably collected together in the larger hand except when there’s a pair of tens or better. When you hold a pair of tens in your high hand and also have an AK or better in the low hand, it’s advisable to split up a flush or straight.
Four of a Kind
– Sixes or Lower | Keep cards together.
– Sevens thru Tens | Split up except if there’s a better or an Ace in the two-card hand.
– Face Cards (Aces, Kings, Queens, or Jacks) | Split every time, except if there’s another pair to keep in your two hand.
Split up except if you have a pair of kings which you can tender in the low hand.
Pai Gow Terms and Terminologies📜
Don’t want to come off as a novice when playing Pai Gow Poker online real money, or for fun? We got you! The following are popular terms and what they mean in the game.
Typically, this is the casino's representative, and they assume a one-against-all stand as they bet against all participants at the table. They are responsible for rotating every turn and coordinating the entire gameplay. In the standard game mode, the banker has all the advantages because all ties go their way.
A colloquial for the Joker card, the semi-wild card.
This is the official term for any hand (high or low) with the same value as the dealer's corresponding hand. Remember, the tie always favours the dealer.
The 5% charge the site deducts from all winnings is how it gains from game rounds that don't use the built-in house edge.
The word to call the cards dealt to an empty spot. Every Pai Gow round must be shared across seven seats, which may not be filled.
Hand in Front
The term for your two-card hand, which it gained due to its position on the table (in front of the five-card hand).
The word to describes five-card behind because of the spot it occupies on the table (behind the two-card hand).
Ready to Play Pai Go?✊
Online Pai Go is available in hundreds of casinos across India. Discover the best of these sites from our reliable list, which we drew up following proper consideration of all factors. Wherever you choose to play, you’re in for memorable Pai Gow gameplay experiences!
Online casino, Betting, Poker, and gambling expert with 17+ years of industry experience. Articles featured in The Times of India, Hindustan Dainik, Dainik Bhaskar & many more. Pradeep Singh is our in-house gambling expert here at CasinoBetting.Live