How to Play Pai Gow Poker

Pai Gow Poker is a house-dealt casino game where all players and the house each get 7 cards. Each hand is set into a 5card hand (the high hand) and a 2card hand (the low hand). Your 5 card hand must be higher than your 2 card hand.

If both your high hand and low hands beat the house high hand and low hands, you win.

Low: A♦ T♥
High: 6♠ 6♦ 9♦ 8♠ 2♣

Low: K♣ K♦
High: 7♣ 7♠ 2♦ 2♠ 5♣

The deck consists of a standard 52 card deck plus 1 joker which can be used as an ace or to complete a straight or flush.

Table Layout

There are 7 spots on a Pai Gow table. The dealer is in spot 1 with the player to the immediate right of the dealer in spot 2. The table goes counter clockwise until the last player is in spot 7.

Each hand starts with a random number generator. The number that is picked is who gets cards dealt first. Each player receives 7 consecutive cards.


Each player places a bet before the hand is dealt.

  • If you win both hands you win the amount of your bet less a 5% house commission.
  • If you lose both hands you lose your bet.
  • If you win one hand and lose one hand it is a push and you receive your bet back. All tie hands are counted as a win for the house.


There is only 1 rule to follow:  Your high hand must be better than your low hand.

There is a standard strategy in setting your hand, called the “house way”. The “house way” is a set way the house must always set their hand.

  • Party Casino Pai Gow House Way (PDF – 26K)

There are certain situations where you would choose to set your hand differently than the house way. One common example is playing two pair. For example, if you are dealt 6♠ 6♦ 4♦ 4♣ J♥ T♣ 2♠, the standard house way is to split 2 low pairs unless you have at least a king in your hand. However, playing the two pair together can create a much greater chance of pushing a hand. Splitting the pairs creates a greater chance or winning OR losing the hand. By playing the pairs together you would be playing more conservatively.

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The house edge of winning a hand when playing perfect strategy is 1.5%. The main reason for the house edge is when the house ties a hand it is counted as a win for the house.

Not included in the odds above is taking the house commission on a winning hand into account. If a player wins one hand and loses one hand, they will have 5% less when betting the same amount across both hands. On a per hand basis this equates to 2.5% per hand. The theoretical overall loss would be 4% (2.5% per hand + 1.5% actual odds).

Sample Hands

Sample Winning Hand

Low: A♦ K♥
High: 7♠ 7♦ Q♦ T♠ 2♣

Low: T♣ T♦
High: 4♣ 4♠ 3♣ 3♠ 5♣

Sample Losing Hand

Low: A♦ A♥
High: K♠ J♠ 7♠ 4♠ 2♠

Low: T♣ T♦
High: 4♣ 4♦ 3♣ 3♠ 5♣

Sample Push Hand

Low: 5♦ 5♥
High: K♠ K♦ 7♣ 4♦ 2♥

Low: T♣ T♦
High: J♣ J♦ 9♥ 5♠ 3♣

Final Thoughts

Pai Gow is a fairly slow game that you can play while watching porn or checking out the latest cricket scores online. You are not going to get rich quick or lose your bankroll too fast.