Basic Pai Gow Poker Strategy
If you are new to playing Pai Gow Poker, then you’re in luck. Today, you’ll learn some basic strategy for playing Pai Gow Poker. Use this strategy to help you win more often in the game.
When you have unconnected cards, that means you don’t have any pairs, straights, or flushes. When you have an unconnected hand, you have to make the best out of a crappy situation. First, take your highest card and put that with your four lowest cards to make your five-card hand.
Next, take your second and third highest cards and make your two-card hand with them. In this case, you’re hoping to salvage something with your two-card hand as the five-card hand is almost a guaranteed loser.
Many times, you will be dealt a hand with a pair and nothing else. When this happens, play your pair along with your three lowest cards in your high hand. Then play your two highest non-pairing cards as your two-card hand.
For example, if you have Ac-7d-6c-Qh-10d-6h-3s, you will play 6-6-10-7-3 as your five-card hand and A-Q for your two-card hand.
The trickiest spots in Pai Gow come when you’re trying to split pairs. When splitting pairs, remember that deuces through sixes are low pairs, sevens through tens medium, and jacks through aces are high.
Here are spots where you should always split two pair:
- When one of the pairs is a pair of aces
- Two high pair
- One high pair and one medium pair
Unless you have an ace in your hand, the following are times where you will also split two pair:
- Two medium pairs
- One high pair and one low pair
- One medium pair and one low pair
- Two low pairs
Three Of a Kind Hands
When playing three of a kind, you will always play the three of a kind in your high hand. The only time where you would do otherwise is when you have three aces. When you have three aces, you will play a pair of aces in your high hand and one ace in your low hand.
Full House Hands
The standard rule for playing a full house in Pai Gow is to split up your hand. Play the three of a kind in your high hand and the pair in your low hand. This will usually give you a scoop capable hand.
So what about when you have a full house and another pair. In this case, you will play the full house using the lower pair in your high hand and play the higher pair in your low hand.
Straights and Flushes
Straight and flushes are going to be easy to play in most scenarios. You will play the straight or flush in your high hand. In the cases where you have seven cards of the same suit, play your highest two flush cards in your low hand.
If your hand has both two pair and a flush, you will not play the flush. Instead, you will split the pairs based on the splitting rules above.
Four of a Kind
When you have four of a kind in your hand, how you play them depends on the ranks. If you have four of a kind jacks or better, you will split your quads into both hands. For the times you have medium quads, you will split them if you don’t have an ace. If you have an ace, play them together. When you have low quads, you will play them in your high hand.
If you have five aces in your hand, you will split this hand. You’ll put an ace and the joker in the low hand and play three aces in the high hand. The only time where you will not do this is if you have five aces and a pair of kings. In this case, you will play the five aces in your high hand.
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