Pai-Gow Poker uses a single 52 card deck plus one Joker that is wild in certain situations. Players are dealt 7 cards. The deal rotates among the players. Players must separate their 7 cards in to a 5-card poker hand and a 2-card poker hand. Suit ranking as a tie breaker is not used in Pai-Gow Poker. The objective is to beat both of the dealers poker hands. In the event of a tie or Copy between a 2- or 5-card hand, the dealer wins.
FIVE-CARD HAND (High Hand)
The 5-card poker hand uses standard poker rankings (High Card, Pair, Two Pair, Three-of-a-kind, Straight, Flush, Full House, Four-of-a-Kind, Straight Flush and Royal Flush). In a break from normal poker hand rankings, a Straight containing A-2-3-4-5 is considered the second-highest ranking Straight behind 10-J-Q-K-A.
TWO-CARD HAND (Low Hand or Second-Lowest)
The 2-card poker hand only uses High Card and Pair rankings. The highest 2-card poker hand is a pair of Aces. The 2-card poker hand must have a lower poker ranking than the 5-card poker hand. If a player mistakenly plays a 2-card hand that is higher than his 5-card hand he automatically loses his bet.
The Joker is not a true wild card. It can only be used as an Ace or to complete a Straight, Flush or Straight Flush. If used to complete a Straight, Flush or Straight Flush, the Joker will take the value of the highest missing card.
After all players have split their hands, the dealer splits her hand according to a House set of rules called the House Way. Players hands are then compared to the dealers hands resulting in one of three outcomes:
A. Both player hands beat both dealer hands.
If this occurs the player is paid 1 to 1 on his original bet minus a 5% house commission.
B. Both dealer hands beat both player hands.
If this occurs the player loses his bet.
C. Both the player and dealer win one hand.
If this occurs the hand is declared a push and the players original bet is returned.
In land based casinos, players have the option of banking a hand when it is their turn to be dealt first. If the player decides to bank he must pay off winning hands. If there is a net loss among other players, the player banking pays a 5% commission of the winning to the dealer. When a player banks, the dealer also plays a hand with a wager equal to the last wager played by the banking player.
POKER HAND RANKINGS
FROM HIGHEST TO LOWEST
1 Five-of-a-Kind (w/ wild cards)
2 Royal Flush
3 Straight Flush
5 Full House
9 Two Pair
11 High Card