Pai Gow Poker Strategy Illustrated

Normally in online casino card games the player and the dealer are dealt one hand each and these hands are compared according to set rules to decide who is the winner. However in Pai Gow Poker the player and the dealer make two hands each from the seven cards dealt. One is the five card hand which is also known as the high hand and the other is the two card hand which is also known as the low hand. In Pai Gow Poker the player's high hand is compared with the dealer's high hand and the player's low hand is compared with the dealer's low hand. The player has to win both hands in order to receive a payout. Therefore a very tight balancing act is required. If the player creates one hand high in ranking and the other hand low in ranking it is unlikely that he will win both hands. Another issue before the player is that his high hand has to be of a higher ranking than the low hand. In this context it should be noted that the only possible hand types that can be formed for the low hand are a pair or a high card. Straights and flushes do not count in the low hand. The general strategy for the player is to formulate the best possible low hand such that it is of lower rank than the high hand. How this can be done is best illustrated using certain examples that occur more frequently in Pai Gow Poker.

If the player does not have any pairs or a rank better than pairs then he should keep the highest card in the five card and the second and third highest cards in the two card hand. For example if his seven cards are K-Q-10-9-7-5-2, then his two card hand should be Q-10 and his five card hand should be K-9-7-5-2.

If the player has a single pair in the seven cards dealt, he is constrained to keep it in the five card hand. His two card and should contain the two highest remaining cards. For example if his seven cards are A-K-K-9-6-4-3 then his two card hand should be A-9 and his five card hand should be K-K-6-4-3.

If the player has two pairs in the seven cards dealt, his choice depends on the ranks of the other cards. If he has two high ranking cards outside of the pairs then he should put both the pairs in the five card hand. However if his other cards are of lower rank then it is advisable to split the pairs. For example if his seven cards are A-Q-J-J-9-9-2, then his two card hand should be A-Q and his five card hand should be J-J-9-9-2. However if his seven cards are J-J-9-9-6-4-2 then his two card hand should be 9-9 and his five card hand should be J-J-6-4-2.

With three pairs in the seven cards dealt the player must keep the highest pair in the two card hand. For example if his seven cards are A-K-K-9-9-3-3 then his two card hand should be K-K and his five card hand should be 9-9-3-3-A.

If the player has a three of a kind in the seven cards are dealt, he should keep that three of a kind in the five card hand. However if that three of a kind is of aces or kings and the other cards are low in rank then the player may split the three of a kind. For example if his seven cards are A-A-A-7-5-3-2 then his two card hand should be A-7 and his five card hand should be A-A-5-3-2.

If five of the seven cards dealt make a flush or a straight then they should go to the five card hand and the remaining two cards should go to the two card hand. However if the player can choose between different straights and flushes he should choose in a manner that has the highest cards possible are in the two card hand with a flush or a straight in the five card hand.

If the player has a full house in the seven cards are dealt, he should keep the pair in the two card hand and the three of a kind in the five card and. However if the pair has a low rank and the remaining two cards have higher ranks then it is advisable to keep the full house in the five card hand. For example if his seven cards are J-J-J-2-2-A-K then his two card hand should be A-K and his five card hand should be J-J-J-2-2.

If the player has two three of a kinds, then he should place the higher pair in the two card hand. For example if his seven cards are Q-Q-Q-8-8-8-5 then his two card hand should be Q-Q and his five card hand should be Q-8-8-8-5.

Finally a four of a kind in the seven cards should be played in the same way as two pairs.

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Comment by: Flint Carling On: September 07, 2009
Very helpful tip thanks guys! I've never really fully understood this game but this tip in addition to some of the other info pertaining to Pai Gow poker that I've found here on Casino Advisor have been a big help in better understanding the game and capturing an edge. Thanks again!

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