POW! All About Playing Pai Gow Poker

All About Playing Pai Gow Poker & Guide

If you’ve been in the Slots.lv table games scene for a while, chances are you’ve heard of the standard poker-based games like Caribbean Stud, Let ‘Em Ride, and even Tri Card poker. But maybe you have yet to try your hand at this other exciting poker-based game… One that combines Asian traditions with Western ingenuity, and promises loads of new chances to practice your poker skills and rake in steady wins!

If you didn’t know then, now you do: Welcome to Pai Gow Poker

A Brand New Way to Play Poker

Back in 1985, the owner of the Bell Card Club in Los Angeles, Sam Torosian, found himself wooed by the unique stylings of Puy Soy, which is a Chinese version of poker. Puy Soy involves three players with 13 cards forming three separate poker hands. 

Once he implemented the game, a good portion of Torosian’s betting clientele were put off by the grueling task of arranging so many cards. Swooping in to help, his friend and fellow game inventor Fred Wolf reduced the number of cards from 13 to 7, making the game super beginner friendly, and certainly much more approachable.

Then to add an even more thrilling twist, the team tossed in a wild Joker card for good measure, too. These simple and key changes transformed Puy Soy from a meh game that a big chuck of players weren’t able to grasp to a wow game that attracted everyone to the table with a smile! 

Now you can use Slots.lv promotions to get in on that excitement and play Pai Gow Poker straight from your home. All it takes is an account to login and a bit of fresh Pai Gow knowledge dropped like pow into your noggin. 

Let’s kick things off with the very basics, aka how to play Pai Gow Poker! 

How to Play Pai Gow Poker

After you’ve used the betting chips to place your bet from $1-$500, both you and the dealer get seven cards. The aim of the game is to create two of the best poker hands possible out of your seven cards. 

It sounds easy enough, but here’s the kicker (and the fun part): you must arrange your seven cards into two separate poker hands. One hand is your “big” or “high” hand, and it has five cards. The other hand is your “small” or “low” hand, and it has only two cards. 

In order to win the game, both of your hands have to beat the dealer’s, and your big five-card hand has to out rank your small two-card hand. 

If you think managing two poker hands in a race against the dealer sounds a bit daring and wild, then you’d be right! Pai Gow Poker is a game that’s full of twists and turns as it pushes you to test your skills and reap the rewards on the spot. Let’s get in a little deeper and see what kinds of hands you can have.

What are the Hands?What are the pai gow poker Hands?

We’ll start with the small hand as it’s super easy. You can only use a pair or high cards to make up your two-card hand. Since the small hand has to have a lower ranking than the big hand, you should always aim to put a lower pair in that hand whenever possible, like a 2-2 or 3-3. Otherwise, any high card like 10-J-Q-K-A will do. 

The five-card hand is based on the regular poker rankings you’d see in any other game, but there’s also a Joker for added action! The Joker in Pai Gow Poker is like a wild card but with special conditions. You can use it to complete a straight or a flush, but if you’re not using it for either of those hands, the Joker counts as an Ace. If you’re using the Joker in your two-card hand, it always counts as an Ace. 

Because of the added Joker and its potential to be an Ace in your five-card hand, five Aces is the top ranking hand in Pai Gow. Regardless of the hand you get in the end, all wins are paid out as 1:1, minus a 5% commission.

How are the Cards Dealt?

At the very start of the game, both you and the dealer get seven cards from a 53 card deck (because of the one added Joker). Your cards are face up, and the dealer’s are face down. Your job is to rearrange your seven cards into two poker hands that are both better than the dealer’s two hands, and with your big five-card hand outranking your smaller two-card hand.

On the Slots.lv interface for Pai Gow, you can drag the cards to rearrange them in the order you want. The two cards you’re using to form the small hand will raise up after you click them, and you click on “Split” to set them aside. 

The time it takes to contemplate and rearrange your cards can make Pai Gow a bit slower than other poker-based games. For those who love a little puzzle with a profitable outcome for your savvy solving skills, Pai Gow Poker is your jam!

The ShowdownThe Showdown

After you hit “Split” and set aside your smaller hand, the dealer’s seven cards are revealed. 

In order to win the game, both of your hands must beat both of the dealer’s hands, and your big hand must out rank your smaller hand. If that’s the case, you win 1:1. If only one of your hands beats the dealer’s, the round is a push and you get your money back. If neither of your hands beats the dealer’s, that’s considered a loss and you lose your bet. 

Seeing how the rules to win the game are very specific, you could imagine that Pai Gow Poker is a game that’s full of pushes. You might find this ideal for a poker game since you can enjoy multiple rounds of the game on the same stake, without making a dramatic dent to your bankroll.

Can you Play Pai Gow Poker on Mobile Phones?

If you’re out and about and you’re struck with the inspiration to puzzle out some cards and give Pai Gow Poker a try, you can simply whip out your mobile and play for free. Most games are built for an optimal mobile experience, complete with a fluid interface and intuitive controls. All you need to do is open up the game in your mobile’s browser. You don’t even need to download an app or extra software – the game scales down to fit your mobile on its own, no sweat off your back at all. 

Whether you’re on a desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile, Pai Gow Poker is just the fresh table game you’ve been looking for to spice things up and keep your poker skills busy. Jump inside your account, grab your Welcome Bonus or any other promotion awaiting you, and sort out those seven cards! Even money wins are just a “Split” and a click away.