Basic pai gow poker strategy and pai gow rules

Despite its name, Pai Gow poker bears little resemblance to its ancient Chinese namesake, which is played with 32 domino like tiles. Rather, it’s a kind of seven card stud in which players arrange their cards into a five-card and a two-card hand, then try to beat the dealer’s similarly arranged hand.

The game is played with a standard 52card deck, and hands are ranked the same as traditional poker. After bets are placed the dealer deals seven cards face down to the players and himself. Each player arranges his cards into a two-card and five-card hand, making sure the latter outranks the former. If the value of the five card hand isn’t higher than the two-card hand, the player automatically loses.

Because the game frequently ends in a tie with no money changing hands, players find they can play longer with a given bankroll than at blackjack, which actually enjoys a slightly lower house advantage.