Pai Gow Poker Guide

Pai Gow (also called Double-hand poker) is a card game that has an Asian origin and combines Chinese game of pai gow and poker. Pai Gow is played with deck of 52 cards and a joker. The joker can be used as an ace or a wild card to complete a straight, a flush or straight flush only.


The object of Pai Gow for the player is to have two hands that rank higher than the dealer's hands.

The player is dealt seven cards, and then he rearranges his cards into a five-card hand and two-card hand. The two-card hand is called the low hand and the five-card hand is called the high hand. The high hand is ranked as in poker but with one little difference: the hand with five aces (four aces and a joker) beats a royal flush and is considered to be of highest value in the game. The high hand must be of higher value than the low hand, if the player makes a mistake and his low hand turns out to be of higher value, this is a "foul" and the player loses.

Hand Value

Rank Hand Name Description of hand
1 Five Aces Five aces and a joker
2 Royal Flush A, K, Q, J, 10 all of same suit
3 Straight Flush Five cards of the same suit in sequence
4 4 of a Kind Four cards of the same rank
5 Full House 3 of a Kind and a Pair
6 Flush Five cards of the same suit
7 Straight Five cards in sequence
8 3 of a Kind Three cards of the same rank
9 2 Pair Two cards of one rank, plus two of another
10 1 Pair Two cards of the same rank

After the player has arranged his hands, the dealer should arrange his hands with accordance to to the rules. After that the high hands of the player and the dealer are compared and the one that has higher value. Then, the player's low hand is compared to the dealer's low hand.

Winning hands

If both hands of the player win, he wins even money minus 5% of the commission.

If there is a copy (the value of player's and dealer's hands is equal), the dealer wins.

If the player wins one and loses one the bet is a push.

If both hands of the player lose, the dealer wins.


Obviously, the strategy aims to help you to arrange your cards in the best possible way. Your task is to try and make both hands strong to win them both.

What you are dealt How to split
No Pair Five-card - the highest card
Two-card - the next two highest cards
One pair Five-card - the pair
Two-card - the next two highest cards
Two pair Five-card - one pair
Two-card - other pair
Three pairs Five-card - second and third highest pair
Two-card - highest pair
Three of a Kind Five-card - three of the kind unless you have three aces,
then play one ace in the low hand and a pair in high hand.
Straight Five-card - lowest card to complete the straight
Two-card - two highest cards that keep the five card hand's straight
Flush Five-card - one pair
Two-card - other pair (ignoring the flush)
Flush and two pair Five-card - flush
Two-card - the highest cards without breaking flush
Full House Five-card - three of the kind
Two-card - the pair
Four of the Kind Five-card - four of the kind
Two-card - the highest remaining cards
Straight Flush Five-card - the straight (if no pair)
Two-card - the pair (if there is one) if you can keep a Straight or Flush in the high hand.
Five Aces Five-card - three aces
Two-card - a pair of aces