How To Play Pai Gow Poker In Vegas

James Lopez
August 18, 2023
How To Play Pai Gow Poker In Vegas


How To Play Pai Gow Poker In Vegas: Indulging in the vibrant and electrifying atmosphere of Las Vegas is an experience like no other, and what better way to immerse yourself in the city’s pulsating energy than by mastering the art of Pai Gow Poker? This captivating card game offers a unique blend of skill, strategy, and luck, making it a popular choice among both seasoned gamblers and newcomers seeking a thrilling casino adventure.

Originating from the ancient Chinese domino game Pai Gow, Pai Gow Poker seamlessly merges traditional elements with modern poker gameplay If you’re new to the game, fear not! This comprehensive guide will walk you through the fundamental rules and strategies, ensuring you’re well-equipped to navigate the casino floor with confidence.

In Pai Gow Poker, you’ll be dealt seven cards from which you’ll create two separate hands – a five-card “high” hand and a two-card “low” hand. Your goal? To outsmart the dealer by crafting two hands that surpass the dealer’s hands in value. Whether you’re aiming to explore the game’s intricacies, understand hand rankings, or grasp the essential do’s and don’ts, this guide has you covered.

So, whether you’re a casual visitor eager to try your luck or a seasoned player looking to refine your tactics, delve into the world of Pai Gow Poker in Vegas. Unravel the strategies, embrace the excitement, and elevate your Las Vegas experience to new heights at the poker table.

What are the rules for Pai Gow Poker?

The object of Pai Gow Poker is to create a five- card poker hand and a two-card poker hand from seven cards that beat both of the bank’s hands. The five-card hand’s rank must exceed that of the two-card hand. Both of the player’s hands must outrank both of the dealer’s hands in order to win the main wager of the game.

Pai Gow Poker, a captivating fusion of ancient Chinese domino game Pai Gow and modern poker, boasts a unique set of rules that make it both intriguing and engaging. The game is played with a standard deck of 52 cards plus a Joker, which can serve as an Ace or complete a straight or a flush.

In Pai Gow Poker, each player, along with the dealer, is dealt seven cards. The objective is to create two hands that will beat the dealer’s two hands. One hand is a two-card low hand, often referred to as the “front” or “small” hand, while the other is a five-card high hand, known as the “back” or “big” hand. Both hands must adhere to traditional poker hand rankings, ensuring that the high hand is stronger than the low hand.

A crucial rule to note is that the high hand must always outrank the low hand. If a player’s hands are arranged incorrectly in terms of strength, it results in a “foul,” causing the player to automatically lose their bet. To win, both of the player’s hands must surpass the dealer’s corresponding hands.

Moreover, ties between the player’s hands and the dealer’s hands result in a push, where neither the player nor the dealer wins. The game’s intricacies extend to the handling of the Joker, which can be used to complete straights, flushes, and even act as an Ace, amplifying the strategic possibilities.

How To Play Pai Gow Poker In Vegas

What is the difference between Pai Gow and Pai Gow Poker?

Pai gow poker (also called double-hand poker) is a version of pai gow that is played with playing cards, instead of traditional pai gow’s Chinese dominoes. The game of pai gow poker was created in 1985 in the United States by Sam Torosian, owner of the Bell Card Club.

Pai Gow is an ancient Chinese tile game played with a set of 32 domino-like tiles, often referred to as “bones.” Players arrange these tiles into pairs, aiming to create two hands that are stronger than the dealer’s hands. The game’s focus is on understanding the various tile combinations and making strategic decisions to achieve the best hand rankings.

On the other hand, Pai Gow Poker is a modern casino card game that draws inspiration from Pai Gow but incorporates the mechanics of poker. It is played with a standard deck of 52 cards plus a Joker, which serves as a versatile wild card. In Pai Gow Poker, players are dealt seven cards and create both a five-card high hand and a two-card low hand to compete against the dealer’s hands. The goal remains similar – to form stronger hands than the dealer – but the gameplay and strategy involve traditional poker hand rankings and concepts.

While both games involve splitting hands and strategizing, the key distinction lies in their components and the influence of poker mechanics in Pai Gow Poker. Whether you’re intrigued by the traditional intricacies of Pai Gow or drawn to the strategic blend of poker and Pai Gow in Pai Gow Poker, each game offers a unique and engaging experience.

What is the highest hand in Pai Gow?

Pai Gow Poker Ranking of Hands (Highest to Lowest)

  • Four of a Kind
  • Full House
  • Flush
  • Straight
  • Three of a Kind
  • Two Pair
  • One Pair. A hand that consists of two cards of the same rank
  • High Card. A hand that consists of five cards that do not make any of the hands listed above.

In Pai Gow, the highest possible hand is the elusive “Five Aces” combination. This ultra-rare hand consists of four Aces (A-A-A-A) and a Joker. The presence of the Joker allows it to be used as an Ace, ensuring that the hand holds five Aces in total. Achieving the Five Aces in Pai Gow is an exceptional feat due to the rarity of the required cards coming together.

The significance of the Five Aces is not limited to its exceptional rarity; it’s also a crucial element in determining the outcome of a push. In the event that a player’s high hand is a Five Aces and their low hand is a pair or better, they are guaranteed to win both hands against any other combination held by the dealer. This creates an intriguing dynamic where even in the event of a tie on the other hand, the Five Aces secures a victory.

While the Five Aces is the pinnacle of Pai Gow hand rankings, it’s important to remember that such hands are extremely uncommon due to the reliance on having both a Joker and four Aces in a single deal. Nevertheless, this unique hand adds an extra layer of excitement and intrigue to the game, exemplifying the mix of strategy and chance that makes Pai Gow a captivating casino experience.

Do they have pai gow in Vegas?

There are five types of pai gow poker that are dealt in Las Vegas. Face Up Pai Gow Poker is the most popular.

Absolutely, Pai Gow is a popular casino game found in many Las Vegas casinos. The game’s fusion of strategy, luck, and unique gameplay makes it a favored choice among both seasoned gamblers and newcomers seeking a distinctive gambling experience.

Las Vegas, renowned for its wide array of casino offerings, includes Pai Gow Poker – the poker version of the game – in its lineup of games. Casinos on the famous Strip and in downtown Las Vegas typically offer Pai Gow Poker tables, providing players with the chance to test their skills and luck against the dealer and other participants.

Whether you’re a fan of traditional Pai Gow with tiles or prefer the card-based Pai Gow Poker variant, you’ll likely find tables catering to both versions in various Las Vegas casinos. The vibrant atmosphere of the city, coupled with the thrill of gambling, creates the perfect backdrop for immersing yourself in the captivating world of Pai Gow. So, if you’re looking to explore this intriguing game while reveling in the vibrant entertainment scene of Las Vegas, you’re in for an exciting casino adventure.

How to play pai gow in Las Vegas?

Playing Pai Gow Poker in Las Vegas offers an exhilarating gambling experience that combines strategy and chance. To get started, find a Pai Gow Poker table at a casino on the Strip or downtown. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Place Your Bet: After selecting a table, place your bet. The minimum and maximum bets are usually displayed on the table.

Receive Your Cards: You’ll be dealt seven cards. Your goal is to create a five-card “high” hand and a two-card “low” hand, both stronger than the dealer’s hands.

Arrange Your Hands: Strategically arrange your cards. The five-card hand should be stronger than the two-card hand. Follow traditional poker hand rankings to optimize your chances.

Compare Hands: Compare your hands with the dealer’s. Both your high and low hands must beat the dealer’s respective hands for you to win. If only one hand wins, it’s a push; if both lose, you lose your bet.

Winning and Payouts: Winning hands pay even money minus a small commission, usually around 5%. If you manage a “tie” on one hand while winning the other, it’s a push, and your bet is returned.

Etiquette: Familiarize yourself with table etiquette. Allow the dealer to arrange cards, don’t touch your cards until prompted, and avoid discussing your hands with other players.

How To Play Pai Gow Poker In Vegas

How many players are in Pai Gow Poker?

Fortune Pai Gow Poker is played on a standard Pai Gow Poker table which seats a maximum of seven players including the player-dealer position. The game may be played on a larger table that seats more than seven players; however, a maximum of seven players may be active in the game during each round of play.

Pai Gow Poker typically accommodates up to six players at a single table, along with the dealer. Each player competes against the dealer, aiming to create two hands that are stronger than the dealer’s corresponding hands.  

The table layout is designed to accommodate the players’ seating arrangement, with spaces designated for each participant and their chips. As the cards are dealt and hands are formed, players engage in strategic decisions to optimize their chances of winning both the high and low hands against the dealer.

Having a limited number of players creates an environment where individuals can interact, share tips, and observe each other’s strategies. However, it’s essential to be mindful of table etiquette and pace, as playing a multi-handed game like Pai Gow Poker requires coordination and consideration for fellow players.

Whether you’re a novice looking to explore the game’s dynamics or an experienced gambler seeking a strategic challenge, the multi-player format of Pai Gow Poker ensures that the casino table remains lively and engaging, fostering a sense of camaraderie and competition as players vie for the best possible hands against the dealer.

What is the hand ranking in Pai Gow Poker?

The hand ranking is similar to traditional poker, with some exceptions. The highest-ranking hand is five Aces (using the joker as an Ace). The second-highest is a royal flush, followed by straight flush, four of a kind, full house, flush, straight, three of a kind, two pairs, one pair, and high card.

Understanding hand rankings is crucial when playing Pai Gow Poker, as it determines the strength of your hands against the dealer’s. The hand rankings in Pai Gow Poker follow traditional poker rankings with a few exceptions due to the use of the Joker as a wild card.

Five Aces: The highest-ranking hand, consisting of four Aces and a Joker. The Joker serves as an Ace.

Royal Flush: A, K, Q, J, 10 of the same suit.

Straight Flush: Five consecutive cards of the same suit.

Four of a Kind: Four cards of the same rank.

Full House: Three cards of one rank and two cards of another rank.

Flush: Five cards of the same suit, not in sequence.

Straight: Five consecutive cards of different suits.

Three of a Kind: Three cards of the same rank.

Two Pair: Two sets of cards with the same rank.

One Pair: Two cards of the same rank.

High Card: When no other hand is achieved, the highest card in the hand determines the ranking.

How is it played in Vegas casinos?

In Vegas casinos, Pai Gow Poker is played with a standard 52-card deck plus one joker. Players and the dealer receive seven cards each, which are then split into two hands following specific rules. The goal is to have both hands beat the dealer’s hands to win.

In Las Vegas casinos, Pai Gow Poker is a popular card game that combines elements of traditional Pai Gow and poker. The game is played with a standard 52-card deck plus a Joker, which can serve as an Ace or complete certain hands.

Players gather around a semi-circular table accommodating up to six participants and the dealer. After placing bets, players are dealt seven cards each. The goal is to create two hands – a five-card “high” hand and a two-card “low” hand – both of which need to surpass the dealer’s corresponding hands.

To win, both the player’s high and low hands must be stronger than the dealer’s respective hands. If only one hand is better, it’s a push, and if both lose, the player loses their bet. Winning hands are usually paid out at even money, minus a small commission.

Las Vegas casinos often provide a “House Way” option for players unfamiliar with hand arrangement. This helps ensure that novice players are making competitive decisions. The social atmosphere and strategic nature of Pai Gow Poker in Vegas casinos make it an engaging and dynamic casino experience, suitable for both newcomers and experienced gamblers.

How To Play Pai Gow Poker In Vegas


Embarking on the journey of learning how to play Pai Gow Poker in the dazzling playground of Las Vegas can be a rewarding and memorable adventure. As you’ve discovered, this game combines ancient traditions with modern gambling, offering a blend of strategy, decision-making, and chance that keeps players engaged and entertained.

Armed with the knowledge of hand rankings, splitting strategies, and etiquette, you’re well-prepared to join the ranks of Pai Gow Poker enthusiasts at the bustling casino tables. Remember, mastering Pai Gow Poker takes time and practice, so be patient with yourself as you refine your skills.

Whether you’re aiming for a leisurely pastime or chasing the thrill of victory, Pai Gow Poker offers an experience that resonates with both newcomers and seasoned players alike. As the cards are dealt and the dice are cast, you’ll find yourself engrossed in a world of suspense and excitement that only Las Vegas can provide.

So, dive into the game’s nuances, engage with fellow players, and relish every moment spent at the Pai Gow Poker tables in Vegas. As the neon lights illuminate the city and the chips are stacked, may your hands be lucky, your decisions shrewd, and your experience unforgettable.

Author James Lopez