What is Online Pai Gow?

Pai Gow originated in China and initially, it was a game played using a set of 32 domino tiles. Much like other casino games, it has since then evolved and it’s now played in most online casinos. In mid 1980s, the game was developed into a modern one, that’s played using a deck of 53 cards. Modern Pai Gow poker is based on the original Pai Gow poker game but it’s played using cards instead of tiles. Although it’s a complex game, once you master the skill it becomes quite fun and entertaining to play. During the gameplay, you play against the dealer and your aim is to come up with a five-card poker hand and a two-card poker hand. The five-card hand should be higher in value for you to win.

The Rules of Pai Gow Explained

Before sitting down at any online casino table to play Pai Gow poker, you have to know the game’s rules. There are numerous rules that govern how this poker game is played. The most important rule is the hand ranking system. Pai Gow poker hands are ranked in a similar manner to how they are in stud poker and Texas Hold’em.

Additional Rules

Side Bets

The availability of a side bet and its payout hugely depend on the software version a casino offers. Pai Gow poker has several variants and side bets. Thus, the chances of you placing side bets are very high. Some of the side bets include:

Strongest Hands

This is a five-card Pai Gow hand and it gets its name from sitting “higher’ on the table.

“House Way” at Online Casinos

House way is a set of rules that must be followed by all dealers as they construct their Pai Gow poker hands. This system is not an optimum strategy, but it plays an important role in keeping the house in the game. Note that this rule varies from casino to casino.

The Role of the Joker

Unlike other poker games, Pai Gow poker is played using 53 cards and the extra card is the Joker. A Joker is used as the wild card in Pai Gow. Although it’s referred as a wild, it can only become a wild when it’s used to complete a Flush, a Straight or a Straight Flush.

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The Odds of Pai Gow Explained

Pai Gow has a house edge of 1.46% and what this number means is that all players expect to lose 1.46% of their bankroll. This also gives you an idea of how much you should expect to earn from an online casino. For example, if 200 hands are playing Pai Gow an hour, placing a £1 bet, the expected loss is £2.8 each hour.

Pai Gow Strategies - How to Win

Applying a strategy while playing any poker game can automatically improve your chances of winning. Just like Blackjack, Pai Gow requires you to use a combination of your skill and a strategy. If you use the strategy correctly, you can cut the house edge and profit from this game. Basically, this game is all about how you arrange the hands. Here are a few tips you should take into consideration:

  • If you don’t have a pair, flush or straight, always play the highest card
  • If you are dealt a pair among the 7 cards, always place that pair in your backhand
  • As long as you have two, place the higher one on the backhand and the lower pair in the front hand
  • If you are dealt with a joker, go ahead and use it

5 Mistakes New Pai Gow Players Do

  • The most crucial mistake that players make is forgetting how the joker card works
  • Another mistake is keeping the full house intact and splitting the remaining two cards.
  • A third mistake novices make is ignoring Pai Gow poker strategy and playing the game like a regular poker game
  • A common mistake is that players turn down the golden chance of playing as the banker
  • Lastly, choosing the wrong casino will be a great mistake especially if you are a new player

Online Pai Gow vs Live Pai Gow

You can now play Live Pai Gow poker from anywhere around a table with up to six other players. The game can be played at various levels because it’s not fast-paced. There are several live Pai Gow variants and they all have different RTPs and slight modifications. These are some of the top benefits you will enjoy from playing the live variants, as well as some of the weaker sides:

ONLINE PAI GOW
  • Well-paying side bets
  • The rules are easy to understand
  • Gives you other opportunities for a split pot
Live Pai Gow
  • Too similar to live hold'em, but with less popularity
  • Slower games

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Live Pai Gow Variants

If you are a fan of live games, you should definitely try some Live Pai Gow poker variants. There are a number of variants out there and they use the basic Pai Gow poker strategy. The only difference is that their gameplays are slightly modified. One of the most common live variant is Fortune Pai Gow which has beautiful graphics.

No Push Pai Gow

These games are rare to find but you can play them on a few online casinos. For this variant, there is no banking or commission. Both the player and dealer get one card face-down. If the dealer’s card is higher or equal to the player’s card, the dealer becomes the winner.

Easy Mode Pai Gow

Easy mode is a commission-free version of Pai Gow poker but there are additional hands that make up for the loss of commission.

Pai Gow Mania

This is the most popular Pai Gow variants, and it allows two side bets during all hands. Some online casinos will offer this game simply with the name “Pai Gow”.

Fortunate Pai Gow

Fortunate is a Pai Gow poker side bet that pays out depending on the value of all the player’s cards. This means that it doesn’t matter how you set your hand. In case another player has a better or a four of a kind, the one making a Fortune bet will receive an “Envy Bonus”.

House Way Pai Gow

Once all hands have been set, the dealer goes ahead to expose the player-dealer’s hand, and sets it as per the House Way for the casino. In this game, there is no pair, and the 2nd and 3rd highest cards are in front.

The Best Pai Gow Games Developers

The online gambling industry is filled with so many software providers. However, only a few of them can be referred to as the best software providers. Such providers are the ones that provide high quality games that are interesting to play.

History of Pai Gow

Modern Pai Gow originated from Chinese Pai Gow. The latter consisted of dominoes that had symbols representing certain scenes. Chinese Pai Gow poker was quite popular in the Far East. Ever since then, the game has evolved into different versions that are played in different regions. It reached American land in the 19th century and it was greatly adapted to suit the American market. The main change happened in late 1900s when the dominoes were exchanged for cards by a Californian casino owner. Since then up to date, the game is played using a deck of 53 cards, 52 are normal cards and one is a joker.

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Pai Gow

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How do you play Pai Gow?

To play Pai Gow you just have to know the rules and strategy. During the gameplay you are dealt seven cards and your goal is to make one poker hand with five cards and a poker hand with the remaining two.

Why is it called Pai-Gow?

The name pai gow is translated as “card nine” or “make nine”. This simply means that the maximum score for each hand is nine.

Can I play Pai Gow for free?

Many online casinos offer a free version of the game and you can test out the software and feel the site. Playing the game for free lets you develop your strategy and improve your skills.

What’s the trick to winning at Pai-Gow?

This is a low risk poker game as long as you use the correct strategy and avoid bonus bets.

Is Pai-Gow rigged?

Just like all other table games, Pai Gow isn’t rigged. Most casino games are audited and tested by independent bodies. This is an assurance that the game’s outcome is fair and no one has tampered with the results.

Is insurance a good idea?

The Pai Gow Insurance is one of the newest Pai Gow’s versions offered at online casinos. The version is played exactly like the regular game.

Are there any working Pai Gow strategies?

There are so many strategies about how to win this poker game. Some of these strategies are advanced and might take time to practice. These strategies are important and they will help you win at the end of the day.

Should I try Pai Gow or stick to regular poker?

The only difference between regular poker and Pai Gow poker is that the latter is played with a 53 card deck while the former uses 52 cards. At the end of the day, in these two games you have to compete to try and make the highest hand. Therefore, it’s up to you, to choose the game that suits you.

    Is it possible to win real money with Pai Gow?

Yes! Whether it's regular pai gow, poker pai gow or some other variation, it's still a casino game - and as such, at least while playing with cash, you can definitely earn a bit extra. Pai Gow poker payouts aren't huge, but they're decent and frequent enough if you know how to play.

What's the best Pai Gow Poker hand?

In accordance with the Pai Gow Poker rules, hands range from single card, straight flush, all the way to royal flush and, ultimately, five aces. Of course, you'd be lucky enough to even witness a game of Pai Gow where someone gets five aces, let alone to get it yourself, but technically it is possible.

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