Beginners strategy for Pai Gow Poker

Pai Gow Poker is a modern game with ancient origins. Based on the ancient Chinese domino game and the modern American version of poker, Pai Gow poker combines the east with the west in a great game for beginning level players.

Pai Gow Poker is a poker game that pits the player against the dealer, unlike most other poker games that players play against other players. By playing against the dealer, beginning players don’t have to worry about other, more experienced people taking their money.

Another Pai Gow advantage is the relatively slow game play, novices can take their time and strategize without needing to make hasty decisions. It’s also easier to play for a long time with just a little bit of money since, to lose, both of your hands must be lower than both of the dealer’s hands.

Pai Gow is played with 53 cards; the regular 52-card standard deck and one joker. The player is dealt seven cards face up and the dealer receives seven cards face down.

A five card hand and a two card hand must be made from the seven cards, the five card hand must be higher than the two card hand. To win, a player needs both of his hand values to be higher than the dealer’s.

A Beginner’s Strategy for Pai Gow Poker

Pai Gow Poker is a fascinating casino game that combines elements of traditional poker and the ancient Chinese domino game, Pai Gow. This game offers a slower pace than many other casino games, making it an excellent choice for beginners looking for a fun and low-pressure gambling experience. This article will cover a basic strategy for newcomers to Pai Gow Poker, helping them make optimal decisions and enjoy the game.

Understanding Pai Gow Poker

In Pai Gow Poker, a single 53-card deck is used, consisting of the standard 52 cards and a single joker. The joker can be used as an ace or to complete a straight, flush, or straight flush. Up to six players can participate, with each player competing against the dealer.

The objective of Pai Gow Poker is to create two separate poker hands from the seven cards dealt: a five-card “high” hand and a two-card “low” hand. The high hand must be ranked higher than the low hand. To win, both of a player’s hands must beat the dealer’s corresponding hands. If only one hand wins, the bet is considered a push, and if both hands lose, the player loses the bet.

Basic Strategy for Pai Gow Poker Beginners

  1. Understand hand rankings: Pai Gow Poker uses standard poker hand rankings, and it’s essential to familiarize yourself with them. The only exception is that in some casinos, the second-highest straight (A-2-3-4-5) is considered the highest possible low hand.
  2. Arrange your cards: When you receive your seven cards, arrange them into the best possible high and low hands. Remember, your high hand must be ranked higher than your low hand.
  3. High hand strategy: Focus on creating the strongest possible high hand while still maintaining a reasonably strong low hand. Aim for the best five-card poker hand, such as a straight, flush, full house, or better.
  4. Low hand strategy: Generally, try to create the highest-ranked two-card hand without surpassing your high hand. This usually means using your highest pair or highest individual cards that don’t contribute to your high hand.
  5. Use the joker wisely: When you receive a joker, use it to complete the highest possible hand. If it can’t be used to complete a straight, flush, or straight flush, treat it as an ace and use it accordingly.
  6. House Way: If you’re unsure about how to set your hands, you can ask the dealer to set your hands according to the “house way.” This is a predefined set of rules used by the casino to arrange hands in an optimal manner. While it may not always lead to the best possible outcome, it provides a solid starting point for beginners.
  7. Manage your bankroll: Pai Gow Poker has a relatively low house edge, and many hands end in a push, allowing you to play for longer periods with less risk. However, be mindful of your bankroll and set limits to avoid losing more than you can afford.

Pai Gow Poker is an excellent choice for beginners looking for a fun and relatively low-risk casino experience. By familiarizing yourself with hand rankings, using a basic strategy to set your hands, and managing your bankroll wisely, you can enjoy this unique game and improve your chances of success.

Brits are Crazy About Casino Poker

A survey by Mintel Market Research shows that the British are great fans of poker, both online and land-based. According to the survey, one in four British adults (or about 7 million) has played poker in the last year. The participants in the survey point out various reasons for this new hobby, ranging from fun and entertainment to choosing poker as a source for additional income.

Since September 1, UK pubs have been permitted to host poker games, providing individual stakes are not bigger than £5, and total stakes amount to no more than £100 a day. For the real fans of poker, however, online casinos are still a preferred venue, since they do not have similar restrictions on bets and, unlike pubs, offer customer services more comparable to land-based casinos. Moreover, online casinos are able to offer a wide range of poker games – a feature widely favoured by modern gamblers.

One casino that has done much to cater to this rising interest in online poker is Red Lounge Casino (, which is powered by Cantor Gaming. Red Lounge has lately enjoyed the status of one being of the most popular online casinos in the UK, partly because of the variety and quality of its online poker offerings. The poker games available at Red Lounge range from the familiar varieties to the more exotic, such as Pai Gow Poker, Caribbean Poker, and Let Them Ride Poker.

Pai Gow Poker

Pai Gow Poker is a casino poker variation which combines classic American poker with an ancient Chinese domino game. The result is an intriguing new game with fascinating strategy and some of the best odds available anywhere – the commission when player is “banker” is only 5%.

Caribbean Poker is a popular variation on poker that offers exciting, fast-paced play and high payouts. And Red Lounge Casino offers some of the best odds on Caribbean Poker available at any online casino, paying 250 to 1 on Royal Flush. Red Lounge Caribbean Poker also features the possibility for the dealer to expose their cards if the player surrenders, which eliminates the wondering about whether surrendering was the right option. There is also an added feature of a £1 side bet on the Progressive Jackpot.

Let Them Ride Poker is a online casino poker game which features simple yet compelling gameplay with massive payouts: up to £50,000 per hand.

Apart from its wide range of customer-tailored game varieties, Red Lounge Casino pays special attention to customer care in response to online gamblers’ growing awareness of customer service and their demand for new features.

The casino has a highly efficient London-based customer service team which provides prompt responses to client enquiries by live chat, phone, or e-mail. It also offers many promotions, targeted at the specific needs of different groups of customers. The newest of these is the 15% daily rebate promotion, which provides players with the opportunity to receive a proportion of the amounts they have lost as often as 30 times during the month of November.

As these examples illustrate, casino poker fans in the UK are very well served by online casino poker games, many of which offer features and payouts that live venues cannot match.

Pai Gow Poker Aspects

House Way in Pai Gow Poker

Pai Gow Poker is an unusual game in many aspects, but none more so than in the House Way button. In online Pai Gow Poker, the House Way automatically allows the player to set his hands exactly the way the casino would.

You might think this gives you a unique opportunity to win – if I’m playing exactly as the casino does, you might say, I must have the advantage. It’s a fair point. But it’s completely wrong.

The reason why this is wrong is all to do with the House Edge. The house edge, in simple terms, is the percentage of the money bet in a casino that the casino expects to keep. It varies by game and by bet – for example, the house edge in Blackjack can be as low as 0.6%, whereas in Keno it can be as high as 90%. If the house edge was 0, the player would always win. If it was 100, the player would always lose. As a rule, the closer the house edge is to 0, the better the player’s chances.

The house edge

Casinos stay in business because of the house edge. For games such as Baccarat, where the house edge is around 1.5%, the casino knows that in many cases, players will walk away with a profit. But behind the scenes, working away relentlessly like a money-making machine, is the house edge.

As time goes on, regardless of short term gains and losses, the amount of money the casino makes starts to approach 1.5%. This may not seem a lot, but 1.5% of 1,000,000 is still 15,000. Multiply this by every game and every table and you’ll see why the casinos are such extravagant establishments.

So what does this have to do with Pai Gow Poker? Everything! Because the house edge ensures that the casino will win in the long term, the House Way button is not designed to win every game, but to minimise losses. It’s like the casino’s patient servant, lulling the player into a false sense of security, whilst slowly, gently, picking his pocket!

Should Pai Gow Poker fans ignore the House Way button? Not at all. If you know what you’re doing, it can be an important weapon in your winning strategy.

Strategies to win

At the Casinos Guide, we describe three strategies for winning at Pai Gow Poker, suited to either low, medium or higher-risk punters. These strategies involve the use of four separate elements; a basic rule to set your hands (suitable for most hands you’re dealt), more advanced rules for less common hands, the bonus bet and, of course, the House Way button.

Understanding these on their own and in combination with each other is the path to winning at Pai Gow Poker.

If you’re new to the game, the House Way button can give you an insight into the way the casino minimises its losses. But always remember that, to win, the House Way needs the House edge – and that is never on your side!

If you think you’d like to try Pai Gow Poker, but are unsure of the rules, come on over to our Odds, rules and strategies site. And if you don’t know your flush from your full house, don’t worry – we have a handy Poker Hand Ranks reference table there too!

Pai Gow Poker Strategy

Once each player has set their hand, then they can compare their hand to the dealer’s hands. If a player has one hand higher and one hand lower than the dealer’s hands, then they push the bet that they made before the cards were dealt. If a player has both hands higher than the dealer’s hands, then they win their bet. If the player has both hands lower than the dealer’s hands, then they lose their bet.

The only caveat to this general way of scoring is that tied hands go to the dealer, so that the house edge is present in that way. The house edge is also present in the house taking a small commission out of each pot, so they do have an edge in the long run when it comes to playing Pai Gow Poker.

General Strategy in Pai Gow Poker

There are a number of different strategy points that a person should learn if they want to play Pai Gow Poker at the highest levels, but for the most part the optimal Pai Gow Poker strategy can be approximated quite well by doing one of two things.

The first of those things, in the case of most casinos, would be to ask the dealer to set your hands according to the house way. The house way is the strategy that the dealer is required to employ in order to set their own hand and if you set your hand in that way then you are going to be using the same strategy as the dealer. Since most house way strategies are quite close to optimal, you can play the optimal strategy simply by asking the dealer to set your hands for you.

Your second choice would be to go for the highest lower hand that you could possibly make. Not only are you limited by the fact that you only have two cards, but you are also limited by the fact that the five card hand has to be of a higher value than the two card hand. If you accidentally mess this up, then you end up losing your bet automatically, so it is quite critical that you remember that the five card hand needs to have a higher poker hand value. However, if you aim at setting the two card hand as high as you legally are allowed to do, then once again you are approximating a close-to-optimal strategy in the way that you select your hands.

If you employ one of these two strategies (house way or highest two-card hand possible), then you will be off to a running start and severely reduce your learning curve when it comes to Pai Gow Poker.