The Strategy of Pai Gow Poker

The Strategy of Pai Gow Poker

Virtually every poker guru has their own tried and tested Pai Gow Poker strategy, or strategies, and we take a look at some of these suggested tips or lines of attack.

The Banker – to be or not to be?

Any player may be banker and most casinos follow a simple system of banker rotation to ensure fairness. Remember that when a player acts as banker the dealer continues to play, betting an equal amount to the last bet the player made when the dealer was banker.

To act as banker as often as possible has strong advantages for the player as the dealer wins on copies and the required 5% commission is charged after losses are set against winnings!

Bear in mind that if a player wants to bank they must have sufficient funds on the table to pay off all winning bets of both the dealer and other players. The second prerequisite to becoming banker is that the player must have played a previous hand against the house banker.

The best way to improve your odds is the ratio of how much is bet when you are the banker, compared to that of when you are a player. The greater the ratio, the better your odds are. So, it would be downright foolish not to act as the banker as often as possible.

Setting the Hands

We take a quick look at the best way to split the seven cards into the two separate hands of five and two cards respectively.

  • No Pair – Five-card the highest card and two-card the second and third highest cards
  • One Pair – Five-card the Pair and two-card the two remaining highest cards
  • Two Pair – If Three Pair, two-card the highest Pair. If Pair of sixes or less and Pair of tens or less then split if there is not a King, Ace or Joker. If Pair of sixes or less and Pair of Jacks or higher, then split if there is no Ace or Joker. If Two Pairs between sevens and tens, then split if there is no Ace or Joker. Split in all other situations.
  • Three of a Kind – Five-card the Three of a Kind unless you have three Aces, then 2-card one of the Aces.
  • Straight – With no Pair, 5-card the Straight. With one pair, 2-card the Pair if you can keep a Straight or Flush in the 5-card hand. With Two Pair follow the Two Pair rules above.
  • Flush – Same as Straight
  • Full house – Five-card Three of a Kind and 2-card the Pair
  • Four of a Kind – Five-card the Four of a Kind and 2-card the highest remaining cards
  • Straight flush – same as Straight
  • Five Aces – Always five-card three Aces and two-card a pair of Aces.