Online Gambling Guide to Playing Pai Gow for 2023

Pai Gow has made its way online and is played by casino users worldwide. This guide gives you a quick intro to the games, steps on how to get started and an overview of game rules and strategy.

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Overview

Playing Pai Gow online can be daunting if you're unfamiliar with the game, its rules, or the different variants. With this in-depth guide, you'll get caught up on all the information you need to play Pai Gow like a pro.

Find out where Pai Gow comes from, how to play, what variants exist, and what strategies to use before playing Pai Gow at top-rated online casinos.

Pros & Cons

Pros
Fantastic number of variants
Wide range of betting options
'No commission' options
Cons
High house edge
'No commission' variants are rare

History

Pai Gow is one of those games with unknown origins. While it's unclear who created it, the tiled game is traced back to China and dates back to almost 1000 years ago. It was most popular among soldiers and citizens. In the original game, players were dealt seven tiles which had to be arranged in the best two combos. There were 32 tiles and a total of 21 different special patterns. Winners were those who managed to create the best combinations.

The game moved from China to the US in 1985 but wasn't fully understood. At this time, an LA resident had the idea of combining the elements of Pai Gow with poker features. It was dubbed Pai Gow Poker, and by 1986 it was available in most casinos. From there, it grew into a popular game that reached casinos across the globe. Today, it's played in land-based and online casinos with many variations available.


Popular Terms

Here are a few of the most popular terms you'll find used in Pai Gow game variants.

  • Banker: This is the person you bet against.
  • Bug: This slang term refers to the joker, which is the game's wild card.
  • Commission: Refers to the 5% fee the casino gets out of all winnings paid by the bank.
  • Hand Behind: This refers to a five-card Pai Gow poker hand.
  • Hand in Front: This refers to a two-card Pai Gow poker hand
  • House Way: This is the set of rules dealers must follow when creating their two Pai Gow poker hands.
  • Push: This is a technical term for a tie referring to when one hand beats the dealer, but the other one loses.
  • Low Hand: A Pai Gow Poker hand that only has two cards and sits lower on the table.
  • High Hand: A five-card Pai Gow hand that sits higher on the table.
  • Copies: A low or high hand that matches the hand of the banker. In other words, a tie. In such cases, the dealer wins.

Rules

There are a few basic rules to remember when playing Pai Gow. While the game seems complicated, it is very simple, with the main objective being to beat the dealer. The game is played with a 52-card deck and a joker. The top hands can be straight or flush.

When the game starts, you will place an ante bet, after which you and the dealer get 7 cards to face down. You will get to look at your cards and can arrange them into two separate hands, a five-card and a two-card hand.

The objective is to create a hand better than that of the dealer. You can either have a winning hand, a losing hand, or a tie.

Another big rule of the game is that your two-card hand can't be of higher rank than your five-card hand. The house will generally claim a 5% commission on every hand you win, and the dealer is required to follow the 'house way', which are the rules set out by the casino


Strategy

When it comes to strategy, some have been designed for Pai Gow. Ultimately, strategies aren't always guaranteed to work. Many players have started using the House Way Strategy, which follows the House Way rules much like the dealer.

With the House Way Strategy, you get into the dealer's mind and ultimately play the dealer by thinking their way. The aim, after all, is to out-bet them. So why not do it by outsmarting them with their own rules? 

Tips

Here are a few quick tips to help you start your online Pai Gow journey by playing like a pro at any online casino.

Getting Started

If you are unsure how to get started, here is a quick step-by-step guide to help you navigate the process.

1 Find the Best Casino

Your first step is to find a reputable Pai Gow online casino to join. Make sure the casino is licensed and regulated.

2 Register an Account

Once you've found a site you're comfortable with, head to the site and register your new player account by filling in the required information.

3 Find A Pai Gow Variant

Head to the Game Library to browse the Pai Gow variants available and select the one you want to play.

4 Place your Ante Bet

Once you find the variant you like, load the game, and place the Ante Bet. Form your two hands.

5 Play Again

Your hand results will either be a win, loss, or tie. Once your hand results are revealed, you can take another turn or try a different game version.

Pai Gow Game Types

Before you load any random game, here's a quick introduction to the different game variants available in Pai Gow online.

Commission-Free Pai Gow Poker

In some online casinos, you may come across Commission-Free Pai Gow Poker. This is a variant where your winning bets pay even money. In these games, the house edge is around 1.3%. It should be stated that these variants are often very rare as the casino only tends to cash in on side bets and losing bets.

EZ Pai Gow Poker

Then there is EZ Pai Gow Poker, another commission-free version of Pai Gow poker. With this version, additional hands end with a push instead of a win. If the dealer has a queen-high five-card hand, it will be an automatic push, no matter what hand a player has.

Pai Gow Mania

Pai Gow Mania follows the basic rules of Pai Gow, but it comes with two additional side bets. It has become a popular game as the side bets reward players for inventive hands, which include the Seven-Card Hand Bonus and the Three-Card Side Bet. Pai Gow Mania is good if you like bonus bets and additional rewards.

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FAQ

You can use a strategy with Pai Gow, but the best way to increase your odds is to understand the rules of poker and the betting patterns of the game.

The computerised versions of Pai Gow online run through Random Number Generator (RNG) software that is audited by independent parties, ensuring random and fair outcomes.

Yes, when you're playing Pai Gow at a reputable and licensed online casino, it is completely safe to play Pai Gow online.

This is the terminology referring to the two split hands in Pai Gow. A two-card hand is a low hand, and the front hand is a five-card hand. The latter is also referred to as a high hand.

Yes, Pai Gow is available to try in real money or free-to-play mode. It is recommended to play the free-to-play version to get comfortable before you start playing for real money.

This means to play your hand against the hands of other players sitting at the table. This is something more commonly seen in land-based casinos and not online. One of the main reasons is that the rules for online Pai Gow differ from that of land-based Pai Gow.

Many Pai Gow variants have been optimised for mobile gameplay. You can enjoy playing Pai Gow on the go at the top mobile online casinos.

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