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How to Play Pai Gow Poker: A Step-by-Step Guide

Pai Gow poker is one of those speciality table games most people overlook. But it’s actually a very engaging and entertaining card game where the aim is to beat the dealer. Learning how to play Pai Gow poker is challenging at first, especially when it comes to knowing how to split your hands.

hand holding three playing cards

Well, we at Casino ZA have compiled a simple step-by-step tutorial on how to play Pai Gow poker. We’ve also found the best Pai Gow online casinos for South Africans. Read on to find out more.

Where to Play Pai Gow Poker in SA

Our top online gambling sites are the best places to play Pai Gai poker online.

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How to Play Pai Gow Poker


Let’s take a look at how you play Pai Gow poker online.

  1. Place your bet at the betting spot

    On the Pai Gow poker table, you’ll find the betting spot. This is where you’ll place your bets. Bets can have a wide range so check on the table how much you can bet. Because Pai Gow poker is a game for everyone,the betting range covers both low and high rollers.

  2. Press the deal button and get your cards

    After you’ve placed your bet, press the ‘deal’ button. You’ll be given seven cards. Then, you are free to look at your cards. Concurrently, the dealer also gets a hand but those cards remain face down.

  3. Divide your 7-card hand into a front hand and a back hand

    Next, you’ll have to sort your 7-card hand into two hands – a front hand and a back (or bottom) hand). The front hand has two cards and is of lower value. While the back hand has five cards and ranks higher. We’ll explore what goes into splitting a hand in the section below.

  4. Press the split button to split your cards

    Click on the split button to divide your hands. If you’re not entirely sure on how to split a hand, we recommend choosing the house way. Using the house way organises your cards in the best way to win the round.

  5. Wait for the results

    If your hand beats the dealer’s hand, you win. A loss is when the dealer beats your hand. In the event of a tie, the bet is pushed into the next round.

How to Split a Pai Gow Poker Hand

how to play pai gow poker split hand

Learning how to play Pai Gow poker seems difficult when it comes to learning how to rank cards and split your hands. We’ll explain how to do this below.

Before we go into hand rankings, it’s important to remember that the front hand should be lower in value than the back hand.

The back hand

This hand has the same value as a poker hand i.e. it follows the general poker rules. However, there is an exception in Pai Gow poker. Below is a ranking of the back hand types from highest to lowest:

  1. Five of a Kind (non-standard poker hand)
  2. Royal Flush
  3. Straight Flush
  4. Four of a Kind
  5. Full House
  6. Flush
  7. Straight
  8. Three of a Kind
  9. Two Pair
  10. One Pair
  11. High Card

The front hand

Also known as the low hand, this is the hand with two cards. You’ll find a ranking of the front hand types from highest to lowest:

  1. Ace-Ace
  2. King-King
  3. Queen-Queen
  4. Jack-Jack
  5. 10-10
  6. 9-9
  7. 8-8
  8. 7-7
  9. 6-6
  10. 5-5
  11. 4-4
  12. 3-3
  13. 2-2
  14. Ace-King
  15. Ace-Queen
  16. Ace-Jack
  17. Ace-10
  18. Ace-9
  19. Ace-8
  20. Ace-7
  21. Ace-6
  22. Ace-5
  23. Ace-4
  24. Ace-3
  25. Ace-2

Learn More About Pai Gow Poker

For more on Pai Gow poker, read our following guides: