A Guide to Playing Pai Gow Poker Online

A popular variation of poker that is available in more and more online casinos is Pai Gow Poker. Pai Gow got its name from a melding of American poker and Pai Gow, a Chinese domino game.This game is very social, allowing for interaction with other players, and an "us against them" dynamic because the player's hands depend very much on what the banker has. Let's explore how to play Pai Gow and more importantly, how to win.

The Rules of Pai Gow Poker

The game is played with a standard deck of 52 cards, plus one Joker. Each player, and the banker is dealt seven cards, which they use to build two hands. One hand contains five cards, and one contains two, called the high and low hands respectively. The goal of the game is to beat both the banker's hands with your own two-card and five-card hands. The role of the banker is almost always assumed by the casino, so in essence, you and the players around you, are almost working together to beat the casino. One more very important rule: make sure that your high hand always beats your low hand, or else you automatically lose.

Strategies for Winning Pai Gow Poker

Take on The Banker Role: Some casinos will actually let you take on the role of the banker if you have the funds. This is a much better proposition (somewhat akin to taking the dealer's seat at a blackjack table) because the banker wins on copies, which is when the top hands of the player and the banker are both the same. When you do the math, the banker has the advantage.

Always Look For The Bonus: Some casinos will offer a bonus that pays off on premium hands. For example: on a straight you might get 2-1 odds and could pay several thousand to one for a natural straight flush with seven cards. Although the bonus doesn't hit very often, when it does, you usually make money.

Play How You Want: You don't have to take the recommendations of the house if you don't want to. For example, when it comes to splitting pairs, there may be times that it would be in your benefit to keep your pairs, particularly when the house is on a losing streak.

Don't Get Caught in The Low Ebb of The Streak: If your streak runs out, it might be time to give it up for a while. The push rate on Pai Gow is upwards of 40% and so if you find yourself pushing several hands in a row, you should probably take a break and let the streak even itself out.