The object of the game
To get a five-card hand and a two-card hand of higher rank than the designated Banker’s corresponding hands.
Pai Gow Poker is played with one standard deck of 52 cards and a Joker. The ranking of the cards, in decreasing order, is Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 and 2. An Ace may be used to complete an Ace-2-3-4-5 straight or straight flush. The Joker has the same rank as an Ace but it may also be used to replace any card to complete a straight, a flush, a straight flush or a royal flush.
Using value chips purchased from the dealer, players place their bets in the designated betting area before the dealer announces "Rien ne va plus" (No more bets) and the cards are dealt. When the dealer is the Banker, bets must be made in accordance with the minimum and maximum limits indicated at the table. However, there is no maximum limit to the amount a player may wager when another player is the Banker.
An electronic random-number generator usually determines the position of the first hand dealt for each game. Cards are dealt face down, seven at a time, clockwise from the starting point and at each playing position, even if empty, including the dealer’s position.
The ranking of Pai Gow Poker combinations, in decreasing order is as follows:
Five Aces: four Aces and a Joker.
Royal flush: Ace-King-Queen-Jack-10 of the same suit.
Straight flush: five cards of the same suit in consecutive order, with Ace-2-3-4-5 being the highest ranking straight flush, King-Queen-Jack-10-9 being the second highest ranking straight flush, and 2-3-4-5-6 being the lowest ranking straight flush.
Four of a kind: four cards of the same rank, with four Aces being the highest ranking four of a kind, and four 2s being the lowest ranking four of a kind.
Full house: three of a kind and a pair, with three Aces and two Kings being the highest ranking full house, and three 2s and two 3s being the lowest ranking full house.
Flush: five cards of the same suit.
Straight: five cards in consecutive order, regardless of suit, with Ace-King-Queen-Jack-10 being the highest ranking straight, Ace-2-3-4-5 being the second highest ranking straight, and 2-3-4-5-6 being the lowest ranking straight.
Three of a kind: three cards of the same rank, with three Aces being the highest ranking three of a kind, and three 2s being the lowest ranking three of a kind.
Two pair: two sets of two cards of the same rank, with two Aces and two Kings being the highest ranking two pair, and two 2s and two 3s being the lowest ranking two pair.
Pair: two cards of the same rank, two Aces being the highest ranking pair, and two 2s being the lowest ranking pair.
Using the seven cards he received, each player forms a five-card hand called the high hand, and a two-card hand called the low hand. The rank of the five-card hand must be higher than or equal to that of the two-card hand. Any player’s hand that is set incorrectly automatically loses. Players are responsible for arranging their hands. Once the players have set their hands, they must place their cards face down on the designated area on the layout. Players are not authorized to show their cards nor to discuss them with other players.
Once all players have placed their cards on the layout, the dealer exposes his cards and sets his high hand and his low hand according to the house strategy. He then exposes each player’s two hands in turn and compares them with the Banker’s hands. A player may surrender his wager prior to the dealer revealing his hands. In such a case, his cards are not exposed to the other players.
- If both the player’s hands are higher in rank than the Banker’s corresponding hands, the player’s bet wins and is paid even money (1-1).
- If one of the player’s hands is higher in rank than the Banker’s corresponding hand and his second hand is lower in rank or equal to the Banker’s corresponding hand, it is considered a push and the player’s bet neither wins nor loses.
- In all other cases, the player’s bet loses.
For the first hand dealt, only the dealer may be the Banker. Each player who took part in the game when the dealer last held the bank is then, in turn, given the option of being the Banker. To be the Banker, the player must have enough chips to be able to pay all wagers at the table during this game, otherwise the dealer holds the bank during this game. The house places a wager against the Player/Banker in an amount equal to the Player/Banker’s last wager against the house. The Player/Banker may request a lesser wager or no wager at all by the house. A player may not act as the Banker for two consecutive hands.