Rules and Strategy

Strategy in Pai Gow Poker

Strategy in Pai Gow Poker

Even if Pai Gow is not as demanding as traditional poker, it’s still better to have a strategy to hand in order to maximize your chances of winning. In this article we will take you through a strategy that’s designed to optimize your revenue in Pai Gow poker. This strategy is simple in the sense that all that it requires you to do play in the ‘style of the house’. In fact in a casino, the dealer will have a specific set of instructions and is obliged to apply them during the game. If you then play like the dealer, you will ensure maximum profit. This method of play can also be applied to online casinos and any of their versions of Pai Gow poker. The frequency of wins may vary slightly depending on the casino you frequent.

Playing in the style of the house

Some say playing this way is not a fool proof method and doesn’t guarantee a 100% return. In life nothing is guaranteed 100% except death and taxes. This method is a proven strategy and we encourage you to use it in a real Pai Gow poker setting.

Below is a complete table that summarizes all the actions you need to take in a given situation to accomplish your main objectives:

HandHow to play this scenario
Upper HandPlace your highest card in the main hand.
Place the next two highest cards in the secondary hand.
A PairPlace the pair in your main hand.
Place the next two highest cards in the secondary hand.
Two PairsIf a Pair of Aces, constantly separate your pair.
If a Pair of figures, 6 or more, separate well.
If you have two pairs of 6 or below, do not separate.
If you have any other Two Pairs, separate, unless they’re Aces.
Three PairsSystematically place the strongest pair in the secondary hand.
Three of a KindPlace in the main hand unless three Aces.
In the case of a strong Three of a Kind, separate them to play a pair in the secondary hand.
Five of a KindPlay as your main hand.
In case of a 6 card draw place the highest card in your secondary hand.
If it’s Five of a Kind with a pair, use the pair in the secondary hand.
FlushIn the case of a flush, play it in your main hand.
In the case of a 6 card flush place the highest card in your secondary hand.
In the case of a flush with a pair, place the pair in your secondary hand.
Full HouseSeparate, unless you have a pair of 2’s or A-K and if this is the case then play these cards in your second hand.
Four of a KindIf the four of a kind is with cards 2 to 6 play it in the main hand.
If the four of a kind is with cards 7 to 10, only separate if you have figure cards or an Ace, else play in your main hand.
If the four of a kind is with cards K and J, separate unless there’s a pair of 10 or higher for your secondary hand.
If the four of a kind is all Aces, separate unless you have a pair of 7’s or higher to play in your secondary hand.
Straight FlushPlace the straight flush in you main hand.
If there’s a pair of 10’s or Aces then place these in your secondary hand
Royal FlushPlay the royal flush in your main hand.
If it’s a royal flush with a pair then play the pair in your secondary hand.
If it’s a royal flush with 2 pair then play as ‘Two Pair’
5 AcesSeparate unless you have a pair of Kings, in which case play the kings in your secondary hand.

The benefits of this strategy

This is the logic process that a computer will take when playing Pai Gow poker online. By studying this table you can actually predict its moves ahead of time. In a land based casino there’s not any real benefit by following this table, but you can ensure that with this you’ll be putting the house edge straight in your pocket. As stated previously this method is never going to be 100% reliable, but in the majority of cases it will increase your odds of winning significantly.

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