Tips for Winning at Pai Gow Poker

Pai Gow poker differs from many other forms of poker as you need to beat the dealer with two separate hands, rather than just the usual one hand. Recognizing how to split your seven-card hard into two hands that are good enough to beat the dealer can be challenging, but using some basic playing strategies can make the selection process less complicated. This article offers some tips for dividing up your hands in some of the common scenarios that you may encounter when playing the game. 

How to Play

Pai Gow poker is played with fifty-three cards. Unlike most card-based casino games, this includes the joker card. The joker acts as a “wildcard” that can be used to complete a straight, a flush, a straight flush or a royal flush. In any other situation, it acts as an Ace card. In your bid to assemble the better hand, you are in direct competition only with the banker. Your wager must be laid down before play starts.

Each player is dealt seven cards. These are arranged into two hands of five and two cards respectively. The five-card hand is often known as the “high” hand, and the two-card hand is often known as the “low” hand. The “high” hand needs to be higher in value than the “low” hand. For example, you cannot have a pair of 7’s in your “low’ hand and a pair of 3’s in your “high” hand as the value of your “low” hand would be greater than the value of your “high” hand. The aim is for both of your hands to beat those of the dealer. 

Once your hands have been suitably arranged, the dealer’s cards will be turned over. If you are playing the game online, most online casinos will show both your hand and the dealer’s hand simultaneously on the screen. If one of either your “high”hand or your “low” hand beats the dealer’s corresponding hand while the other hand is lower, this is deemed to be a draw and no-one wins the game. In this scenario, you will not lose the money that you wagered on that particular game as you did not lose the game. If either your “high” hand or your “low” hand is equal to the dealer’s corresponding hand, it is the dealer who will be classed as having won the hand. In reality, this scenario is relatively uncommon and will rarely be encountered.

It can be tempting to put all of your energy into assembling a great “high” hand at the expense of the “low” hand, but this will usually be a mistake. To beat the dealer and win the game, both hands need to be better than the dealer’s. Even if you find yourself with a full house on the “high” hand, move one pair across to the “low” hand to increase your opportunity to build two good hands. 

Playing Strategies

While you cannot predict the scenarios that may arise in a game of Pai Gow poker, the following advice can help you to decide how best to divide your cards into the “high” and “low” hands. 

1. If you have not been dealt a pair

Sometimes, you will find that you cannot make anything constructive out of any of your seven cards. In this scenario, Pai Gow poker strategy dictates that you should put your highest-ranking card in your “high” hand, and move the second and third highest cards to your “low” hand. 

2. If you have been dealt one pair

If you have one pair within your seven cards, move it in your “high” hand. Of the remaining cards, put the two highest ones in your “low” hand. 

3. If you have been dealt two pairs

If you have find yourself with two pairs, put the higher-ranking pair in your “high” hand and move the lower-ranking pair to your “low” hand. 

4. If you have been dealt three pairs

If you have been dealt three pairs, the highest-ranking pair should go into your “low” hand and the other two pairs should be in your “high” hand. 

5. If you have been dealt a full house

In this scenario, move the pair to the “low” hand and keep the three-of-a-kind combination in the “high” hand. 

6. If you have been dealt three-of-a-kind

A three-of-a-kind combination should be kept in the “high” hand. Of your remaining cards,the two highest-ranking ones should be moved to the “low” hand. 

7. If you have been dealt four-of-a-kind

How to win a four-of-a-kind combination depends predominantly on whether it involves high or low cards. For a “high” four-of-a-kind combination that includes 7’s or better, break the cards up into two separate pairs. One of these pairs should be in the “high” hand, while the other is moved to the “low” hand. For a “low” four-of-a-kind combination that includes 6’s or lower, all four cards should remain in the “high” hand. Of your remaining cards, the two highest-ranking ones should move into the “low” hand. 

8. If you have been dealt a flush or a straight

If you have a five-card flush or straight, leave those cards in the “high” hand. For a six-card or seven-card flush or straight, the five lowest straight or flush cards should make up your “high” hand while other two remaining cards go to the “low” hand. 

For a straight or flush that is accompanied by a pair, move the pair to the “low” hand if this enables you to maintain the straight or flush. For a straight or flush that is accompanied by a three-of-a-kind combination, move a pair over to the “low” hand and retain the flush or straight in your “high” hand. If the flush or straight is accompanied by two pairs, adopt the same strategy for having been dealt two pairs.

Author Bio: Mike owns the casino website http://lotto-lore.ca. A website That gives tips and tricks to win the lottery. Anyone can make it big, the only difference is paying for your ticket!