Play Online Pai Gow Poker Games at the Best Indian Online Casinos and WIN BIG!
Finding Hold'em a bit dull? Omaha not cutting it? Want something wilder? Pai Gow poker is for you. This game dishes out cards and hands like they are going out of fashion. But do not fear. We've got you covered with a detailed guide on how to play, how to win, and where you can find the hottest games.
Playing Pai Gow like a Pro
Have you ever visited a land-based casino? Then you’ve seen the Pai Gow Poker tables. And you’ve probably dreamed of playing—if only you knew exactly how the game worked. For some the name is a little intimidating, but rest assured it’s only a name.
The truth is real money Pai Gow Poker is a lot easier to play than you think. Unfortunately, a lot of newbies make the mistake of approaching the game as if it were a regular game of online poker or Texas Hold’em. It’s not, and thinking that way could cost you.
So stick with us. We’ll show you the best places to wager, how to play your cards right, and what to do to win the most money playing Pai Gow Poker online for real cash. We’ll also show you why online casinos are way better for Pai Gow Poker than land-based casinos, for example:
You can bet as little as $5 per hand when playing for real money—much less than the $25 often required in Vegas
You never have to wait for a table — there’s always an open seat and no other players cramping your style
You can play for free if you want to practice your game before making a deposit
That’s just the beginning of what makes Pai Gow Poker online one of the most popular real money online casino games. Keep reading to discover why it could quickly become your new favorite Internet gambling game.
Getting to Know the Game
Pai Gow Poker for real money uses a 53-card deck. It includes 52 cards, plus a joker that can act as a wild card in certain situations. Unlike video poker games where Jokers are fully wild, in Pai Gow Poker the Joker can be used as an Ace or it can help you finish a straight, flush, straight flush, or royal flush.
To get started, place your bet. The amount of money you can bet depends on which online casino site you’re playing at, but typically you can bet as little as $5. When you’re happy with your bet, click Deal to receive your cards.
You’ll be dealt a total of seven cards. At this point you need to make two hands—a 5-card hand and a 2-card hand. But here’s the deal. The 5-card hand has to be better than the 2-card hand.
The 5-card hand is ranked using the same poker hand ranking system you’re probably used to. After you’ve created your hands, you can ask to see the dealer’s cards. He’ll play his cards in the same manner, using what’s known as the House Way. This determines exactly how the dealer is forced to split up his cards. Every real cash Pai Gow Poker casino you choose to play out will let you know exactly what the House Way is, so you know what you’re getting into before you sit down.
Now that you both have two hands, the software will compare your two hands and pay you out for your bet. If you’ve tied, you’ll push.
Now in land-based casinos, you have the opportunity to bet on or against other players seated at the Pai Gow Poker or the dealer. This isn’t usually offered at online casinos because there are no other players at the table. Remember, in the real world, most people usually decline to bank, so it doesn’t really make a difference.
Learn Pai Gow in 5 Steps
Place your bet (remember it’s you against the dealer).
You and the dealer both receive seven cards.
- Yours face up and the dealer’s face down.
The goal is to split your seven cards into one hand of five and one hand of two.
- Your five card hand must be higher ranking than your two card hand.
After you decide on how to split your cards, the dealer will show his/her cards and compare your hand to theirs’.
If both of your hands are better, you win minus a commission of 5%. If the dealers’ two hands are better, you lose. If one is high and one is low, the hand is a push. You will receive your bet back. All tied hands are a win for the dealer.
The Best Online Pai Gow Sites
To ensure yourself the best online Pai Gow game out there, it's good to follow the pro gamers in having a decent set of criteria to judge casino sites on. Below we've listed some popular features and explained how they help improve your gaming:
Payout Percentage: The Higher the Better
This is the amount of winnings that a casino will pay out on the amount of money bet. If a casino boasts a 98% payout rate then it will pay out $98 on every $100 wagered. $2 goes to the casino as profit.
It's important to note that individual bets you make will not see the same payout percentage. This is because the casino's figure is averaged out across the whole site, taking into account several months of play and thousands of players. It's always best to pick the highest payout rate you can find, though, as it gives you the best chance of winning more at your casino games.
Weigh Out Your Bonus Options
Every casino offers different bonus and promotions. Some are geared towards select games and others are more or less well rounded. On the upside of things whatever you win from a bonus will be yours to play with as you see fit. As you play Pai Gow Poker online, bonuses specifically suited to this game will be made available to you. Before you play it will be a good idea to compare bonus offers, especially if you plan on collecting one or more. All of the recommended Pai Gow Poker sites you find here have excellent bonuses with practical requirements and terms.
Use Your Instincts on Safety & Security
Just as you might not purchase an item from a suspicious, unsecured site you should not make a deposit at a suspicious looking casino. The green bar of trust in your browser signifies an SSL certification which means your information is encrypted upon submission. Other features to look for include firewalls, independent audits, and random security checks by the casino. All of the Pai Gow operators we recommend have passed our high demand for secure wagering.
Additional Features to Look For
In addition to payout percentages, bonuses, and safety protocols, the best Pai Gow casino sites will offer fast payouts, multiple deposit options, superb customer support, and regulation from the most esteemed jurisdictions. These features and more will be discussed on our individual casino review pages as well as the casino website itself.
Why You Can Trust Us
Pai Gow has become incredibly popular among casino players, so naturally a lot of Internet gambling sites have started to offer the game to new players. But before you jump over to play just anywhere, check with us first.
We’re big-time fans of Pai Gow Poker for real cash, so we know what separates the good sites from the amazing ones. And don’t worry about the bad sites. We have highlighted these for you in our blacklist.
Before we recommend any real money online casino Pai Gow Poker website, we put the casino through our 25-step review process. Our team review every inch of the experience. That includes creating an account, depositing, testing out the games on various connection speeds, seeing how the software performs on various types of operating systems, cashing out, dealing with customer service, and more.
Every casino is given an overall rating and if that rating falls anywhere below an 8, it doesn’t make our shortlist. Our final list of Pai Gow Poker casino sites includes only the cream of the crop, so you know you’re choosing to play somewhere that’s honest and reputable.
Online Pai Gow Strategy
Understanding the best hand
In an ordinary poker game, you would think twice about playing your four Aces (You can learn how to play poker here). And if you were playing a draw poker game, you wouldn’t dare give those up. But in Pai Gow Poker, you need to create two hands, one of which only has two cards.
Sometimes creating the best two hands involves splitting up a seemingly amazing hand. For example, if you’re dealt quad Aces along with a 2, 3, and 4, you might be inclined to play those four Aces in one hand. But with only a 2, 3, and 4 to work with, you’re pretty much guaranteed to lose the 2-card hand to the dealer.
That’s why you need to strategize before you drop your cards just anywhere. In this case, you’re better of playing with three Aces in your 5-card hand and throwing an Ace and a 4 in the other hand. Chances are you’ll win the small hand because there aren’t any other Aces on the board, so only a pair could crush you.
Pai Gow Poker Rules
Before you sit down to play Pai Gow Poker for real money, you need to know the rules. Most important is the hand ranking system. Hands are ranked the same way they’re ranked in stud games and Texas Hold’em, with one exception. In Pai Gow Poker, you can technically hit a five of a kind. This is the top rated hand. However, sometimes it might be worthwhile to split them up, thereby creating a smaller hand. In case you need a refresher, take a look at the Pai Gow hand ranking system:
A Quick History of Pai Gow
Pai Gow Poker infuses an ancient Chinese tile game called Pai Gow, or Make Nine, with the popular card game poker. The current game is relatively new, but has caught on quickly with gambling enthusiasts making it one of the more popular tables online and offline.
1000 A.D. (+/-) - When the original game of Pai Gow was invented is unknown. Historians have been able to trace back the Chinese tiled game of Pai Gow to at least one thousand years where it was popular with soldiers and citizens. This is reflected in the two suits: civilian and military. In the original game, players were dealt seven tiles which had to be arranged in the best two combinations. The tiles had a special pattern on each one with a total of 21 patterns and 32 tiles. Bets were placed on who could create the best tile combos.
1985-86 - How Pai Gow moved from China to the U.S. is not fully understood, but somehow it made its way across the Great Pacific Ocean and into the mind of California Bell Casino owner Sam Torosian. In 1985 the Los Angeles resident had an idea to combine certain features of Chinese Pai Gow with elements of poker. He named the game Pai Gow Poker and by 1986 most large casinos offered the game on their floor. Before long Pai Gow Poker could be found in every major casino around the world.
1990s-2000s - Following Pai Gow’s success, Sam Torosian continued to create popular gambling games along with his partner Fred Wolf. With the onset of online casinos, Pai Gow Poker continued to gain a loyal virtual following. A bonus bet was added to many variations, which now lets players win massive jackpots. Today Pai Gow is available to play on every kind of device. We’re sure players will soon be able to play a live dealer version of Pai Gow in the very near future.
Know what to do with a two pairs If you’re dealt two pair, make sure you slot the highest ranked pair into the bigger hand
Not dealt a pair? Put the highest ranked card in your big hand and drop the 2nd and 3rd ranked card into your 2-card hand
Take advantage of bonuses Before you sit down to play, look out for the bonuses on offer for the game and secure a bigger bankroll for yourself
Bank as much as possible You get to play your money against everyone at the table, and make more when people make mistakes
Pai Gow Glossary
This is the person who is betting against all of the players at the table. The banker typically has to rotate every turn or every other turn. You may need a larger bank roll to take on a full table's worth of action (hey, you're playing against all of the other players), but if you can afford it, this is a great way to play. The banker has the advantage because he or she wins all copies.
A slang term for the Joker – the game's (semi) wild card.
The technical term for either a low hand or a high hand that exactly matches the banker's corresponding hand. In other words, a tie. The banker always wins in the case of a copy.
The 5% fee that the casino takes out of all winnings paid by the bank. This is how the casino can profit from a game that does not have a built-in house edge (remember, players generally play as the bank on a rotating basis).
The term for a hand that is dealt to an empty seat. The dealer must always create seven stacks of cards – enough for six players and the dealer to each receive one. When a seat is empty, the appropriate stack of cards is still dealt as a hand in keeping with protocol.
A term for the five-card Pai Gow Poker hand. It earned this name because of its position, sitting physically behind the two-card hand on the table.
Hand in Front
A term for the two-card Pai Gow Poker hand. It earned this name because of its position in front of the five-card hand on the table.
This is the highest card in a player's hand. Typically only referenced when the player's hand is worth less than a pair.
The five-card Pai Gow hand. Named for sitting “higher” on the table.
The set of rules that all dealers must follow when constructing their two Pai Gow Poker hands. It might not technically be the optimum strategy, but it is close and it keeps the house in the game when the casino is sitting as the bank. This is the system they will advise when players ask them for help.
This is the card that is almost always used as the wild card in Pai Gow Poker. While it may sometimes be completely wild, more often than not it can only be wild to complete a Straight, a Flush, or a Straight Flush. If it does not have an opportunity to create one of these hands, then it is treated as an Ace instead.
The Pai Gow Poker hand that only has two cards. Sits “lower” on the table.
Technical term for a tie. In Pai Gow Poker, this occurs when one of your hands beats the banker's corresponding hand, and the other loses (or ties). This results in your bet being returned to you and nothing further happens. See "copies" for a description of what happens when the corresponding hands are equal.
Random Number Generator
The piece of software that allows an online casino to fairly and randomly draw cards from a digital deck. Should be audited and certified as fair by a third party.
This is the card that can represent any other card to make the best possible hand. It is typically represented by the Joker, and its addition make the deck have fifty three cards.