Online Pai-Gow is basically an American take on the traditional Asian game of Pai Gow, which is played with tiles rather than cards.

It’s very easy to find free-to-play versions of this game, if you want to practice. Lots of online casinos offer online Pai-Gow poker games to Windows & Apple users, whether you play on mobile, tablet, or desktop.

As this is quite a radical change to regular poker, let’s check out the rules. It’s really quite simple once you get the hang of it!

How to Play Pai-Gow Poker Online

pai-gow poker

In online Pai-Gow poker, there are no community cards. Instead, you play against your opponent, and both of you have two hands.

First, choose a betting amount and place your chips on the table. Then, hit the “Deal” button, and you’ll get 7 cards. Out of these, you must form your two hands:

  • A 5-card hand (aka bottom, low, behind or big hand)
  • A 2-card hand (aka top, high, front or small hand)

Once you’ve decided on these hands, hit “Play” and your hands will be revealed to your opponent and vice versa. Text boxes will explain which hand contains which winning cards.

Chips will go to either player according to who won, and the next round can begin.

Where to Place High-Value Cards?

As a general rule, for your 5-card hand, you should aim for the same winning combos as community cards in regular poker. Your 2-card hand should be reserved for pairs and high cards, a bit like extra points to help you win.

However, you’ll be limited in terms of which high cards you can include in your 2-card hand. This is to make the game a little harder.

It really depends on the 7 cards you’re initially dealt. In the online version of the game, you are prevented from making certain high-value 2-card hands: a message will appear saying “invalid hand”.

To make up a good 2-card hand, always take into account that both your 2-card hand and your 5-card hand must have some factor that will help them win (a high card/pair or a standard poker winning combo).

How to Win in Online Pai-Gow Poker

It can be a bit tricky to get the hang of calculating two winning hands. Indeed, the winner is harder to determine in this version of poker, as there may be more opportunities for draws.

Basically, it goes like this:

  • Win: both your hands have higher scores than your opponent’s 2 hands
  • Draw/Push: only one of your hands has a higher score
  • Lose: both your hands have lower scores than your opponent’s 2 hands