Pai Gow Poker Online 2020 Guide – Familiarize Yourself with the Game

Known as being a hybrid version of seven-card stud and Chinese dominoes, Pai Gow is a casino game you should definitely not miss out on, especially if you’re looking for a thrilling casino experience with a bit of a difference! If you're interested in playing Pai Gow Online you should have a read through CasinoTop10’s game guide which will help you familiarize yourself with the game and learn the rules, strategy involved in playing the game, how to manage your bankroll and a spot of history! 


Although Pai Gow Poker online isn’t as mainstream as other casino games, such as Slots online, Blackjack online and Roulette, it’s definitely a crowd-pleaser with gamblers who know how to play the game well. Nowadays, most online casinos offer this exciting game, however, choosing the best casino is often a difficult task for many. So, if you happen to be looking for a Pai Gow online casino to play at, let our experts at CasinoTop10 cut out some of the work for you with our comprehensive list of online casino reviews above. Once you’ve read a few of them and gotten round to choosing a casino to play at, you can deposit your bankroll and start playing this fantastic game for real money!

Pai Gow at Land Based Casinos vs. Online Pai Gow

Although the original game of Pai Gow Poker played at land-based casinos is pretty much a replica of its online counterpart, there are several differences you should take note of. Read about the differences between the two below.

Pai Gow Poker at Brick and Mortar Casinos

pai gow poker onlineThe American Pai Gow Poker game which is played at brick and mortar casinos takes its roots from the Chinese domino game Pai Gow. However, it also includes many of the aspects of seven-card stud and even blackjack. For one thing, the game is played by using a deck of 52 cards plus a joker. Yet, it’s played on a table which is oval in shape, similar to that of Blackjack, rather than a Poker table. In its classic form, the casino game has six spots at its table and a spot which is reserved for the dealer.

How does the game commence?

The game starts off when the dealer deals out cards to see who he/she should deal to first by rolling the dice. But before he deals out the cards, you’ll be required to place your initial bet, which is known as the ante, in the betting circle first. Generally, you’ll find that most casinos have quite low minimum bets. However, this is not always the case and will vary from one online casino to the next.

Once the dealer determines who to deal the cards out to first and all bets have been placed, the dealer will then give out seven cards to each player. If some of the seats at the table are vacant, the dealer will still give out cards. However, they will then be removed. Once all players have their seven cards, the cards are then split into two hands; the front hand which consists of two cards and the backhand which consists of 5 cards.

18+ | Play Responsibly | T&C Apply
18+ | Play Responsibly | T&C Apply
Payment Methods (4)
18+ | Play Responsibly | T&C Apply
18+ | Play Responsibly | T&C Apply

The Role of Banker

Whilst playing at a brick and mortar casino, you’ll notice that the role of the banker alternates from player to player. So in essence, every player sitting at the table has the opportunity to be the banker for one hand. Our experts at CasinoTop10 recommend that you factor in your bankroll provided that you choose to take this option as it’s definitely one that comes with a financial risk. So, don’t leap before you look! If you’re uncomfortable with the extra risk involved in being the banker, you may of course choose to decline the option.

Pai Gow Poker Online

pai gow poker online guide

Despite the fact that Pai Gow Poker Online is quite similar to its classic brick and mortar version, its digital variant can have a slightly different feel to that which regular players of the game are used to. Comparatively, in the online version of the casino game you’ll notice that you can only play against the dealer rather than five other players. There’s also no banking option for players to take advantage of in the online game. An advantage of playing this casino game online is that you’ll be able to use the ‘House Way’ option in the game, if you have no idea how to set your cards. Also in most games, you’ll realise that you’ll only be able to see half of your bit of the table. However, most of the rules are in fact the same.

Facts about Pai Gow Poker:

  • The casino game is based on the Chinese domino game;
  • It’s played with a deck of 52 cards plus a joker;
  • The aim of the game is to form two hands which are stronger than that of the dealer.

Pai Gow Online Rules

18+ | Play Responsibly | T&C Apply

Although the rules of this poker variation might confuse you at first, the game itself is very simple and quick to learn. Our players-turned-experts have managed to compile a few steps for you to follow in order for you to be able to walk through the game. Have a look at rules below:

  1. Once you’ve clicked on your game of choice and its loaded, you’ll then need to place a wager in the betting spot.
  2. After this has been done, you’ll then be required to press the ‘deal’ button which is displayed in the game. Once you’ve clicked the button, you’ll then be dealt 7 cards from the shoe. The dealer will also give himself 7 cards.
  3. After looking at the cards, you can go ahead and arrange your cards into two poker hands called the back hand and the front hand. This can be done by clicking on the cards you wish to arrange. When it comes down to doing it there’s only one rule to remember: The five card hand should ALWAYS outrank the two card hand. So, for example, you’re dealt: Ace-Ace-Joker-2-2-8-6 You split them up into: Back Hand: Ace- Ace- Ace- 8- 6 Front Hand: 2-2 For information on hand rankings please see you Pai Gow Rules page which delves into all the nitty-gritty details.
  4. During the final stage of the game, the two hands are then compared to the two hands the dealer has formed. If both of your hands are better than the dealer’s, the result will be in your favor and you’ll be able to walk away with the cash. However, if both of your hands are worse than the dealer’s, you’ll then lose your bet. If only one of your hands is better than the dealer’s, this will result in a push. So, in effect, you’ll win nothing.
  • If both of your hands are better than the dealer’s, the result will be in your favor and you’ll be able to walk away with the cash. 
  • However, if both of your hands are worse than the dealer’s, you’ll then lose your bet.
  • If only one of your hands is better than the dealer’s, this will result in a push. So, in effect you’ll win nothing.

Pai Gow Strategy

Implementing a strategy whilst playing this casino game can definitely improve your chances of winning. Similarly to Blackjack, Pai Gow Poker allows you to use some of your skill whilst playing. If used correctly, you’ll be able to cut the house edge down by about 2.84%. Ultimately, this casino game is all about how you arrange your hands. So, do take this into consideration. Take our simple Pai Gow Poker Strategy tips into consideration whilst playing the game:

  •  If you have no pair, straight or flush, you should play the highest card with your front hand that consists of a 5 card poker hand. You should then opt to arrange your two highest cards in the low hand. 
  •  Provided that you have a pair amongst the 7 cards you’ve been dealt out, it would be a good idea to place your pair in the backhand rather than the front hand. 
  •  Provided that you have two, you should opt to place the lower pair in your front hand and the higher one in the backhand. 
  •  If you have three pairs, you should always place the highest pair which ranks well in the front hand and the two lower pairs in the backhand.
  •  If you happen to have been dealt the only joker in the deck of cards, you can go ahead and use it to complete a straight flush or to make up a pair.

Pai Gow Money Management

Managing your bankroll in Pai Gow Poker is of crucial importance in order to secure the bounty and claim it as your own at the end of the game. If you happen to wager too many of your chips and lose, you might end up sitting on your couch eating sandwiches for a week because you can’t afford anything else to eat. So, careful not to let your money dwindle away! Read all about how to manage your bankroll whilst play this casino game below. 

How Large Should My Bankroll Be?

Fundamentally, deciding how large your bankroll should be is up to you. However, our players-turned-experts at CasinoTop10 do recommend that you put aside a bankroll that is anywhere from 50X to 100X the table’s minimum bet is. So, for example, if the smallest wager you can place is $5, your bankroll should ideally be from $250 (50 x 5) to $500 (100x5). But if you want to play for higher stakes than this and you’d like to sit down at a Pai Gow table which has a minimum stake that happens to be $50, your bankroll should be between $2,500 (50 x 50) and $5,000 or even higher.

Pai Gow Money Management Tips

1) Use Your Bankroll Wisely

Remember the key to success most of the time is pacing yourself whilst playing a casino game. So, don’t start off by placing huge bets as you just might end up losing it all in a matter of minutes. Instead, start by placing small bets. If you realize that you’ve come across a stroke of good luck, then think about betting bigger.

2) Take House Commissions Into Consideration

Remember that winners must pay a five percent commission on all winning bets. So, you must take commissions into consideration before you’ve finalized your bankroll. The commissions will eat at your winnings to some extent. You'll need a bankroll that can handle losing streaks that will not be entirely made up by a winning streak of equivalent length.

3) Be Realistic in How Much You Expect to Win Whilst Playing the Casino Game

Even if your bankroll is large and you can afford to place large bets, you should always try to be realistic about how much you expect to win. You cannot expect to turn $500 into $3000 at a $5 table at the snap of your fingers. Moreover, you should not expect a return every hour or so as you won’t manage to win all the time.

4) Know When To Stop Playing

Pai Gow Poker tends to be a game which develops very slowly. If you started with a reasonable bankroll and lose your entire stake, maybe it’s just best to pack up your things and go home for the day rather than taking a visit to the atm.

Practice Playing the Game - Free Pai Gow Poker Games

Now that we’ve outlined the rules and basic strategy used to play Pai Gow Online, you should go ahead and try out a free game before committing yourself to playing a game for real money. Ultimately, this is the best way to determine whether or not you like the game and if it’s worth playing for real money!

Pai Gow Poker History - The Story Behind the Game

Since its inception in 1985, Pai Gow Poker has quickly become a casino favorite. The casino game was invented in 1985 by the owner of the Bell Card Club, known as Sam Torosia, who decided to incorporate the ancient Chinese domino game Pai Gow and Poker into a new game. Yet, Torosia is hardly a household name amongst gamblers. This is probably due to the fact that on creating the game, Sam received some very bad legal advice on patenting card games. In fact, he never filed one for his game. Once his game had become extremely successful, it was then picked up by multiple other casinos that were in direct competition with his. Unluckily for Sam, they were under absolutely no obligation to pay him a single cent.

Pai Gow Poker Online FAQs

How does Pai Gow work?

Pai Gow Poker uses the standard 52-card deck and includes an additional card being a Joker. The game is played against the dealer who deals 7 cards which you split into two hands (5 and 2). The aim is to have both of your hands better than those of the dealer.

What is the house advantage in Pai Gow Poker?

The house edge in Pai Gow poker is 1.5%. This is one of the lowest house advantages of all casino games.

How do you win in Pai Gow Poker?

In Pai Gow, you win if both of the hands you have organised are better than those of the dealer. In this case you win. If you and the dealer both win a hand each, it is a draw. If the dealer has both hands stronger than yours, he wins. The order of the best hands is similar to the standard poker winning hands.

Where can I play Pai Gow Poker?

All our listed casinos found on this page have Pai Gow Poker games. Pai Gow poker is a unique casino game especially with the wild card in the deck. It makes the game tremendously exciting!

Play at one of the Best Pai Gow Casinos for Real Money!

With its low house edge and relaxed pace, Pai Gow Poker online is a game which certainly provides hours of fun and a way to unwind after a long day at the office. Provided that you know the rules well and play the casino game using an optimal strategy, you’ll be able to generate lucrative wins with some of lady luck’s help. So, if you’re tired of playing poker in its classic form, why not try to play this variant of poker instead? Head over to our Best Pai Gow Poker Casinos list above and sign up to get your online casino bonus. Then simply start betting, splitting and counting your cash after a marvelous win!