Pai Gow Strategy - Learn How to Win at Pai Gow

On this page, we'll give you some sound playing advice that will enable you to increase your chances of winning when playing this interesting form of poker. Learn the best pai gow strategy to maximize your chances of winning.

Facts About Pai Gow Strategy:

  • It’s a game with a low house edge;
  • You need to form two hands, one five card hand and one two card hand;
  • The five card hand needs to be higher than the two card hand;
  • Poker hand ranking applies to pai gow poker.


Pai Gow House Edge

When you play pai-gow poker you want to try to reduce the house edge a bit more by playing with optimal pai-gow poker strategy. The house edge of around 2.3% (check with the online casino you’re playing at) is already quite good, but can be even better and work more to your advantage if take the tips presented below into account when you play online.

In Pai Gow Poker players have the option to be the banker. You can’t choose this every time, the option goes around the table to each player. Although it’s not very popular, you can decrease the house edge if you choose to do it. The banker’s house edge is very low, sitting at lower than 1%, and the longer you stay in the game and choose to play the banker, you can lower your house edge considerably.

Pai Gow Poker Optimal Strategy

pai gow strategyIn Pai Gow, the player needs to skilfully set both hands strong to win. The house has a 2.3% advantage in this game, but that, of course, is only when you do all you can to keep that edge at its lowest. Remember that in this game you are playing against the dealer only and not the other players, so you can relax, grab a drink, and have a good time. Consider the following quick and simple pointers to begin.

As you are trying to make two hands out of the seven cards you are dealt, try to make both hands fairly strong in order to win the two - otherwise, you will end up with a tie. The five card hand should always be stronger, so make your you arrange your cards accordingly. Your back hand must be set higher than your front hand or you will "foul" your hand and lose your bet.

Remember that you are following the regular poker hand ranking when you play online pai gow poker, the only difference is that a straight of Ace to Five is considered the second best hand in pai gow, also called a ‘wheel’.

Pai Gow Strategy – How to Play the Cards

Now, for setting your hand, follow the guide below to optimize the odds for beating the dealer. The following is a brief description of what to do with the most common hands. In the first column is what you have been dealt. The second and third column is how you should redistribute these cards. The chart deals with card-setting for the most common hands. 

Your Hand Back Hand (5 cards) Front Hand (2 cards)
No Pair Highest card Second and third highest
One Pair Pair Next two highest cards
Two Pair (one of them Aces) Pair of Aces Other Pair
Two Pair One Pair Other Pair
Three Pair Second and third highest pair Highest Pair
Three of a Kind Three of a Kind (Unless 3 Aces a place 2 in this hand) (3 Aces a place 1 Ace here)
5,6,or 7 card Straight Lowest cards to complete the Straight Two highest cards that keep the five card hand's straight

Pai Gow Poker Strategy Probabilities

Check out the brief explanation of the different kinds of hands and the chances of putting together that winning hand. Below, you will find a rundown of the probabilities of getting each of the possible hands. From left to right, you will see the name of the hand, followed by the number of potential combinations of that hand, and next to that, the probability of attaining the hand.

Hand Number of Ways To Make the Hand Probability (%)
Five Aces 1128 0.00000732
Straight/Royal Flush 210964 0.00136862
Four of a Kind 307472 0.00199472
Full House 4188528 0.02717299
Flush 6172088 0.04004129
Straight 11236028 0.07289350
Three of a Kind 7470676 0.04846585
Two Pair 35553816 0.23065464
One Pair 64221960 0.41663862
Nothing 24780420 0.16076246

The odds for Pai Gow are slightly more challenging to determine than ordinary poker due to the fact that both the player and the dealer receive seven cards. These cards are then separated into two hands, making it more complex. The house edge is placed at approximately 2.3%, although in order to play the game as close to this edge as possible, a lot of practice is required.

Pai Gow Poker Strategy Betting Systems

Although this is not recommended by Gambling Planet, some players like to play pai gow poker using certain betting strategies. There are two types of betting strategies, positive betting systems where you increase your bet with every win, and a negative betting system where you increase your bet with every loss. When you play pai gow poker online you can use the Martingale betting strategy, the Parlay betting strategy, the D’Alembert betting strategy. We don’t recommend using these strategies to play however as you can suffer massive losses when you do so. It’s much better to learn the poker hands well as explained further up in this article, and to know how to create strong hands with the cards you have been dealt.

Play Free Pai Gow Poker

The best thing you can do in order to improve your chances of winning is to practice free pai gow using the free game offered by the online casino you are playing at. Most online casinos will offer a free version of the game so make use of it! You can refine your strategy and become an expert at sorting your cards into two hands and improve your chances of winning.


Pai Gow Poker Strategy – FAQs

What is the aim of pai gow poker?

When you play pai gow poker your two hands (five cards and two cards) have to beat the dealer.

How do I win at pai gow?

If you want to know how to win pai gow then go through the tables featured in our article which instruct you on what you have to do in order to achieve the highest possible hand rankings.

Can I play free pai gow poker?

When you click on one of the online casinos on our toplist they will have free online casino games for you to practice. This is a great way of perfecting your pai gow poker strategy.

What payment methods are available?

There are many different payment methods to choose from. The online casino will determine which deposit and withdrawal methods you can use. If you want to learn more about then simply visit our payment options reviews page and learn more about the different methods of making and receiving payments.

Play Online Using Pai Gow Strategy

Now that you are familiar with the pai gow poker rules and pai gow strategy you can take your pick from the best online casinos to play pai gow, featured in our online casino toplist at the top of this page.