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*** Pai Gow Poker – Poker with a Twist ***


Pai Gow Poker is one of those games that is highly popular amongst Australian poker aficionados. However, because the rules are a bit more complex than a typical five card stud poker game, novice players tend to avoid it or seem intimidated by it. Pai Gow Poker is actually a fairly easy game to play, it just takes some getting used to, especially if you have a lot of experience playing other online poker games. If you think of Pai Gow as poker with a twist, you will fare well. An advantage you will get if you are a novice player is that online Pai Gow poker will not allow you to make a poor splitting decision which is a common problem amongst new players at land based casinos. Plus, with online casinos and mobile casinos you can get your fill of Pai Gow whenever, wherever.

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*** Pai Gow Poker ***


Pai Gow poker – the basics

Pai Gow poker is played with a standard deck plus the addition of a joker that acts in place of another card, similar to a wild card but not quite. In online Pai Gow poker you play against the dealer not other players. You have seven cards which you split into two separate hands. The object of the game is to make your two hands beat the dealer’s two hands.


Starting the game of Pai Gow poker

As with most online casino card games, the first step is to ante or place your beginning bet. Once you have this you will be dealt seven cards, face up. The dealer will also receive seven cards but they will be face down. Once you receive your seven cards you will split them into one hand of five cards and one hand of two cards. But, it is important to remember that your two card hand should not be better than your five card hand. For example, if you only have a pair in your seven cards you cannot make that pair your 2-card hand as it would beat your five card hand. This is a great advantage in playing online Pai Gow poker because you will not be allowed to attempt it. However, in land based casinos if you try it you will simply foul out of the game and lose your bet, making it a bit intimidating for new players unfamiliar with the game.


The joker in Pai Gow poker

The joker acts somewhat like a wild card but there are some exceptions. Instead of it being a true wild card that can act as any card the player chooses, it can only substitute in certain conditions. The joker in Pai Gow poker can act as the completing card to finish either a straight or a flush. If you find yourself with a joker but do not have the hand to allow it to complete a straight or flush it will act as an ace. While the use of the joker has its advantages, the limited use of it makes the game a bit more challenging but that is also part of its appeal.


Winning combinations in Pai Gow poker

There are a few possibilities for winning in Pai Gow poker. You can lose both hands to the dealer. In this case you lose the entirety of your bet. You can win one hand but not the other. If this occurs you have a push which means you neither win nor lose your bet. Or, you can win both hands. If you win you win even money but a commission of 5% will be deducted from your winnings.


Pai Gow Poker hand rankings

The highest possible five card hand is four aces and a joker. The highest possible two card hand is a pair of aces. Ranking in order from best to worst is:


  • Five of a kind (aces and a joker)
  • Royal flush
  • Straight flush
  • Four of a kind
  • Full house
  • Flush
  • Straight
  • Three of a kind
  • Two pair
  • Single pair
  • High card



While Pai Gow poker is similar to draw poker, it has a few twists to make it interesting. While some novices may be a bit intimidated by the difference, it is actually pretty easy to pick up and an exciting game to play.

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