Strategies

As with all other Poker games, some Basic Strategy principles apply to Pai Gow. For example, if you have:

  • No pair, the House Way feature will automatically put your highest card in the back (5-card hand) and the two 2nd highest in the front (2-card hand). When this happens, use your 2nd and 3rd highest card for the 2-card hand and your highest card for your 5-card hand.
  • A Pair, House Way will put your Pair in back and the next 2 highest cards in the front. When this happens, use your 2 highest single cards for the 2-card hand and the Pair for the 5-card hand.
  • Two Pairs, House Way will put both your Pairs in the back. If 1 Pair is 7s or greater and there is no Ace, they will be split. If you have Jacks or better and 6s or better and you don’t have an Ace, they will be split. If you have a Pair of Aces and any other Pair, they will be split. How should you play in these instances? Well, if you have a single Ace, use the Ace in the 2-card hand. Keep the Pairs together in the 5-card hand. If not, then Split the pairs putting the lower Pair in the 2-card hand and the higher Pair in the 5-card hand.
  • Three Pairs, House Way will put the highest pair in front. In this instance, use the highest Pair in the 2-card hand and the 2nd and 3rd highest pairs in the 5-card hand.
  • Three of a Kind, House Way will put the 3 identical cards in the back. Aces will be broken up in the case of 3 Aces. three of a kind in back, but will break up three aces.
  • A full house, House Way will split it UNLESS you have a Pair 2s and an Ace/King can be played in front. Here you should use the Pair in the 2-card hand and the 3 of a Kind in the 5-card hand.
  • Three of a Kind twice, House Way will always put the highest pair in front.
  • Straights, Flushes, Straight flushes, or Royal Flushes, House Way will always put the Straight or Flush in the back hand and will play as two Pair if 1) there is any 2 Pair and an Ace. 2) there is a Pair of Jacks and Pair of 6’s. 3) there is a Pair of Aces and any other pair. If you have a Straight and 2 Pair, play as 2 Pairs and ignore the Straight. 4) If you have a 5-card Straight, use the 2 cards that are not in the Straight in the 2-card hand and the Straight in the 5-card hand. 5) If you have a 6-card Straight, use the 2 highest cards in the 2-card hand and the remaining Straight in the 5-card hand. 6)
    5- use the straight
  • If you have a 6 or 7 Straight or Flush, House Way will put the highest possible hand in front and the Straight or Flush in the back. If you have a Flush and 2 Pair, play as 2 Pairs and ignore the Flush.

Some key strategic plays to remember are:

      1) House Way always plays a Straight or a Flush over a Straight Flush. This improves the front hand to Jack or better.
      2) House Way always plays a Straight or Flush over a Royal Flush to improve the front hand to King or better.
      3) House Way always plays according to the rank of 4-of-a-Kind.

Remember, if you win, your winnings are minus 5% commission. If both the Dealer’s hands beat yours, the Dealer wins. In the case of a Tie or Push (i.e. if one of your hands beats one of the Dealer’s hands but not the other), you don’t lose any money and get your original stake back.