What is Pai Gow Poker?

What is Pai Gow Poker?

Pai Gow Poker is a casino gambling game inspired by the Chinese domino game Pai Gow but played with playing cards instead of dominoes. It can be enjoyed by up to seven players at once.

Playing this straightforward game requires some skill, but mastering its rules could make all the difference in winning big! So learn how to play and you could find yourself on top!


Pai Gow poker is an adaptation of the centuries-old Chinese domino game pai gow, which originated with tiles similar to those found in dominoes and a dice.

Pai Gow is a Chinese word meaning “make nine,” and its design was inspired by both a creation myth and military organization (ranks one through nine). It’s believed that its popularity grew due to its ease of play compared to more complex games like blackjack or craps.

Sam Torosian, owner of the Bell Card Club in California, invented it in 1985 and quickly gained acceptance by local gamblers. Soon thereafter it spread throughout Southern California casinos as well as Las Vegas and Atlantic City.


Pai Gow Poker is an established casino game that has been around for three decades.

Pai Gow Poker’s rules are straightforward, yet unique from other forms of poker. To maximize one’s chances at success, players must become familiar with these unique provisions in order to fully comprehend all relevant details.

In the classic version of Pai Gow Poker, each player is dealt seven cards and must arrange them into two poker hands that are superior to those dealt by the dealer. These hands must beat out both dealers’ two hands in order for you to win your primary bet.

Face Up Pai Gow Poker is an adaptation of traditional Pai Gow Poker that allows the dealer to show their cards first before players set their hands. This switch may prove more profitable for some players.

Betting options

Pai Gow Poker is a game of chance with some strategic elements added in. The aim is to assemble the best hand possible from the seven cards dealt to you.

Cards are dealt from a standard deck of 53 cards, with the joker acting as an additional wild card. This joker can be used as an ace or to complete any straight or flush formation.

One popular strategy in traditional Pai Gow Poker is to bank your bets. This reduces the house edge to 1.46% and can be an extremely profitable betting strategy.

Some casinos offer a Face Up version of Pai Gow Poker. This type of game allows players to view the dealer’s cards first, which speeds up play and increases payouts.


Jokers are an essential element in Pai Gow Poker and play an essential role. These cards can be used as substitutes for any card to complete a straight or flush, or they could even be used as an ace!

At San Diego casinos, jokers can either be completely wild or subject to Vegas-Style house rules which restrict what the joker can be used for. Regardless, jokers always remain an Ace in a two-card hand and must also be an Ace in a five-card hand.

Once all your cards are dealt, it is time to arrange them into two-card low and five-card high hands. Knowing your hand rankings helps you make informed decisions when setting up these hands for maximum benefit.

Hand rankings

If you’re in search of a slower-paced game that lets you stretch your gambling dollar, Pai Gow Poker is an excellent option. Although it’s more expensive than other casino table games, this option offers more play time and reduces risk.

A standard 52-card deck is used, along with a joker that can be used to complete either a straight or flush. If it is not in one of the suits, the joker may also be counted as an ace and completes either combination.

Players receive seven cards and must divide them into a five-card hand and a two-card hand using simple rules. The five-card hand must outrank the two-card one.

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