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While Pai Gow traces its roots back to ancient Chinese gaming, it really started to pick up steam with the inception of iGaming. In recent years, the game went mainstream, and it is now the bedrock of every online casino worldwide.
Unlike in most other poker variants, the goal in Pai Gow is to beat the dealer rather than other players at the table. The game follows simple rules, which makes it suitable for poker players of all skill levels. With a basic understanding of poker rankings and a few simple twists, you’ll be able to rev up on Pai Gow poker in a jiffy.
In this guide, we’ll run you through the inner workings of real money Pai Gow poker. We’ll go over the rules, demonstrate the gameplay step-by-step, and help you get to know some of the key terms.
Throughout the page, we’ll also reveal the best online casinos for playing Pai Gow poker for real cash.
Let’s get down to business.
Best Casinos to Play Online Pai Gow Poker for Real Money
Our in-house team of poker experts has tested out dozens of US-friendly online casinos and poker rooms to bring you the best options for playing real money Pai Gow poker. We weighed each site’s key features using our foolproof rating system to determine whether it’s good enough for our readers.
We assessed each candidate using different benchmarks, including license, reputation, security, bonuses, user experience, mobile compatibility, game selection, banking, and customer support. Ultimately, only the best platforms made the cut.
Without further ado, here are our top 3 picks for real money Pai Gow poker, in no particular order. We know that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all site, so we compiled mini-reviews of what you can expect to find at each online casino. This should help you narrow down the search and find a Pai Gow online casino that matches your preferences.
Top 3 USA Online Casinos For Real Money Pai Gow Poker
- Up to $5,000 welcome bonus
- US players accepted
- High table limits
- Vibrant live dealer casino
- $5,000 welcome bonus
- US players accepted
- Strong selection of card games
- Lots of rotating promotions around the week
- Great roster of table games
- US players accepted
- Excellent user experience
- Weekly live poker tournaments
Why Play Pai Gow Poker for Real Money
Playing Pai Gow poker in a land-based gaming venue can be an exhilarating experience, but there are tons of reasons why you should stick to online casinos instead. Let’s go over the most important ones:
- Convenience: Online casinos are a far more convenient option to enjoy your favorite game. The tables are open 24/7, and you can get in on the action without even setting foot outside the front door. As a result, you won’t have to spend a dime on travel costs, and you can put that cash to much better use.
- Bigger bonuses: Sure, you may get a free drink or some minor perk at a retail casino, but this pales in comparison with benefits you can get at online venues. From welcome bonuses worth thousands of dollars to a bevy of ongoing promos, you can get a much better bang for your buck if you play real money Pai Gow online.
- Banking: The number of payment methods in online casinos far exceeds those in brick-and-mortar establishments. In virtual card rooms, you can make deposits and payouts via numerous banking options, including checks, bank wire, credit cards, e-wallets, and even cryptocurrencies.
- More flexible betting limits: At land-based casinos, betting options are pretty limited when it comes to poker and other table games. Conversely, online casinos have more customizable table limits and suit casual players and high rollers alike.
Step-By-Step Guide to Playing Real Money Pai Gow Poker
If you’re unsure how to start playing real money Pai Gow poker online, no worries — we’ll teach you the ropes. Just follow our mini step-by-step guide, and you’ll be beating the banker and collecting hefty payouts in no time!
Choose an Online Casino
Start by browsing through our website. You’ll find the best options not only for real money Pai Gow poker but for other types of games as well.
All of our featured sites have been vetted for safety and trustworthiness, so you should focus on choosing a brand that fits your needs when it comes to other aspects.
Sign Up for an Account
When you find an online casino of your liking, click on it, and you’ll get instantly navigated to its homepage. Once you arrive there, look for the registration buttons; they’re usually placed in the top right corner of the interface.
The application form is easy to fill out. You need to provide some basic personal info, like full name, address, and date of birth, in addition to login credentials. The whole process takes a few minutes to complete, tops. Very rarely will you be asked to verify your ID after completing the registration.
Make a Deposit
When you finish the registration, log in to your account and click or tap on the Deposit page. Then, choose from the list of available payment methods, and follow the on-screen prompts.
At some point, you’ll need to enter the deposit sum and possibly a bonus code in one of the fields. Make sure to meet the minimum deposit requirements for the welcome bonus. As soon as you confirm the transaction, the funds will become available in your account.
That’s it — you’re all set! With your account fully loaded, you can activate the welcome bonus and swing into action.
Some of our recommended online casinos have lots of exciting variations of poker in addition to Pai Gow that are worth checking out.
Mobile Pai Gow Poker
If you want to play Pai Gow poker on mobile, you can do so in any of our top online casinos. These sites are fully optimized for mobile devices, and you can easily access them via your browser.
Now more than ever, software providers are developing their gaming content in HTML5, so you can expect to have a smooth Pai Gow poker experience no matter which device you use.
In addition, some casino operators have released standalone iOS and Android apps, which are more customizable than their instant-play counterparts but usually come with a smaller game selection.
Play Live Dealer Pai Gow Poker for Real Money
The live dealer casino trend has exploded in popularity in recent years, and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. These platforms do a great job of replicating the authentic land-based casino experience. In fact, they have completed that missing edge of realism that online casinos have long lacked.
The action is filmed in real casino studios and streamed onto your PC and mobile device. Live dealer casino games are hosted by real croupiers or specially trained TV hosts. You can watch the whole gameplay via multiple angles and even interact with other players at the table.
Most commonly, live dealer casinos feature a couple of blackjack, roulette, baccarat, and poker tables. Usually, there are a few Hold’em tables or some other variations, like Pai Gow poker.
Online Pai Gow Poker Bonuses
Bonuses are often the most important factor for the players choosing an online casino, and understandably so. They can extend your playtime significantly and give you more chances to win.
If you’re the type of player who values bonuses and promotions over other aspects of the casino, you’re in for a special treat.
We’ve made sure to handpick the most generous operators that provide exquisite deals for both new and existing customers and you learn about they different bonus available below:
This is the most common type of bonus and is usually a part of the casino’s welcome package. With this offer, the casino matches your deposit up to a certain percentage (in most cases 100%) with bonus credits.
The monetary cap and the match percentage vary between different casinos. On average, you can expect to get a 100% match deposit bonus up to $1,000.
No Deposit Bonus
As the name suggests, a no deposit bonus doesn’t require you to fund your account in order to claim it. It’s awarded immediately after the customer completes the registration process. The sum is usually small — no more than $20. Also, you’ll probably need to provide a special bonus code to unlock the no deposit bonus.
Don’t get your hopes too high when it comes to this bonus type, as it usually carries abysmal terms and conditions. It can help you get the feel of the site, though, and it beats playing with your own cash, so you may as well give it a go.
Reload bonuses are similar to welcome bonuses but are usually smaller in size.
You can claim additional perks at some of our online casinos through loyalty or VIP clubs.
The principle of these programs is similar across the board — the more you play, the more you’ll advance in the loyalty or VIP hierarchy, and the bigger and better the benefits you’ll unlock.
This type of bonus is self-explanatory.
You invite a couple of your pals onto the platform, and for that, both of you will get a small incentive — usually $50 of bonus cash or so.
Pai Gow Poker Hands, Payouts, and Bonus Bets — A List to Remember
Below is a table that explains all the winning combinations and their payouts in Pai Gow poker. In addition, many casinos offer bonus bets, with the Envy Bonus being the most common one.
A bet of $5 or above activates this particular bonus payout. You can receive additional winnings worth between $5 and $5,000 on combinations from Four of a Kind to 7-card Straight Flush.
|Pai Gow Poker Hand||Payout||Envy Bonus(Bet of $5 or greater)|
|7-card Straight Flush||8,000:1||$5,000|
|Royal Flush and Royal Match||2,000:1||$1,000|
|7-card Straight Flush with Joker||1,000:1||$500|
|5 Aces (4 Aces + Joker)||400:1||$250|
|Four of a Kind||25:1||$5|
|Three of a Kind||3:1||/|
Can You Play Pai Gow Poker for Free?
As easy and straightforward as Pai Gow poker is, you should give it a test drive before swinging into real money action.
In most of our recommended casinos, you can play slots and RNG table games for free in demo mode. This will allow you to get the feel of the platform, try out strategies, and get to know the games’ nuts and bolts.
Pai Gow Poker vs. Texas Hold’em: How Much Do They Differ?
The main difference between Pai Gow Poker and classic Texas Hold’em lies in who you are competing against. Namely, you play Texas Hold’em against other poker players, while the goal in Pai Gow is to beat the dealer.
The next important distinction between the two poker variants is the number of cards used for gameplay. While you need a standard 52-card deck for Texas Hold’em, Pai Gow Poker also uses a joker, which means the game is played with 53 cards.
Both games require players to maneuver a total of seven cards. However, the dealing and the gameplay differ. Pai Gow players receives all seven cards at once. Then, they need to make two separate hands out of them — the best 5-card and 2-card combinations. In Texas Hold’em, players receive two cards, while the remaining five, known as community cards, remain on the table. The goal is to make only one 5-card hand using any of the seven cards.
In general, Pai Gow is a less complex game with only one betting round, so it’s suitable for beginners. In contrast, Texas Hold’em requires some strategy and features several betting rounds, which makes it a common choice for more experienced players.
Real Money Pai Gow Poker Rules, Tips, and Strategies
Pai Gow poker is one of the simplest poker variations. However, it can become super exciting once you grasp the fundamentals. The goal of the game is quite straightforward — beat the dealer by outranking his hand(s).
Unlike most other poker variations, Pai Gow utilizes the 53-card deck, including the joker, which substitutes for any other card when used to form premium hands:
- Straight Flush
- Royal Flush
The game begins with players placing their bets. When the betting round is complete, both players and the dealer will get 7 cards each to form two poker hands. One is a standard, 5-card poker hand, while the other is a 2-card hand that can be made up of either pairs or high cards.
The 5-card hand — also referred to as the high hand — is formed according to the standard poker rankings. When forming your two hands, you need to make sure that this one has higher cards than the 2-card hand.
Best case scenario — both of your hands outrank both of the dealer’s hands.
- Sweep the dealer, you’ll be paid 1:1 on your ante.
- Win one hand but lose another, this results in a tie (the wager is pushed).
- If the dealer beats both your hands, you lose your ante.
The house edge for Pai Gow poker clocks at around 2.8%, which is quite superb.
Real Money Pai Gow Poker Winning Tips
Making decisions on common sense and relying solely on gut feeling will get you over the hump most of the time. Still, if you want to up that winning percentage even further, check out our Pai Gow winning tips:
- If you have quads that are JJ or stronger, you should split them into two hands.
- Always split five aces (joker included) unless you have a pair of kings to put in your low hand.
- If you’re dealt a no-made hand (without any pairs), place your highest card in the low hand and the two succeeding ones in the high hand.
For more tips and tricks on how to win more consistently at a Pai Gow poker table, check out our Pai Gow strategies guide.
Weighing the Pros and Cons of Pai Gow Poker: Is the Game Right for You?
If you’re still unsure whether Pai Gow Poker is the right game for you, perhaps the list of pros and cons can help you decide:
- Pai Gow Poker has a relatively low house edge of 2.84%. Moreover, if you get a chance to play as the banker, you can lower the house edge down to 1.42%.
- The gameplay is less complicated compared to some other poker variants, which makes it suitable for beginners.
- The only goal is to beat the dealer’s hands, so you don’t have to worry about other players.
- The game’s slower pace creates a more relaxing gaming environment.
- Most casinos charge a 5% commission on winning hands.
This is the end of the road, guys.
Now that we’ve taught you what Pai Gow poker is all about, it’s time to put that knowledge into practice. Feel free to comb through our recommended online casinos — they’re all great in their own regard and offer fantastic bonuses.
Good luck, and we wish you all the best in your future poker endeavors!