How to play Online Pai Gow Poker for Real Money

When we speak of online Pai Gow Poker you may think of playing Pai Gow, the Chinese Domino game. Pai Gow Poker is an Americanized version of the domino-based game also known as “two-hand poker” or even “Chinese poker”  this game has great value for advantage bettors and for those who enjoy games with a slow pace.

Pai Gow Poker is known for being a low-volatility game which means the game pays out more frequently than other casino games, though rather in smaller amounts. The game’s low volatility comes as a direct result of its heritage the original domino game moves slowly and produces a ton of push results. For the most part, those features have been preserved in online Pai Gow Poker.

The main difference between the online game and the land-based casino game that is played in the casinos of Macau and Atlantic City is the pace of play. Though each outcome does take longer than, say, an online poker outcome, the pace is considerably quicker when playing online than at a live casino table.

How to play online Pai Gow Poker for real money

Online Pai gow poker is played with a standard 52-card deck plus one joker. In the case of the online version of the game the joker is not completely wild. The joker is wild only if it completes a straight or flush of any kind. In all other cases, it takes the form of an ace.

Before you get into how the game plays out, it is to be noted that all hand values are identical to standard poker hierarchy except for one. At some casinos, a straight made up of A-2-3-4-5 is called “the wheel,” and it ranks between straight and flush.

After you place your bet, the dealer will hand out seven cards each to you and to himself. The first thing you’ll do is split your cards into two hands – one made up of five cards, the other made up of two cards. An important rule is the player’s five-card hand must be more valuable than the two-card hand.

Once you’ve split your hand into two, the dealer displays his cards and divides his hand into two according to a specific set of guidelines. On hand comparisons the hands are compared high to high and low to low – in both cases, the hand with the better value wins. All ties go to the dealer.

The payouts are determined by the outcomes of both hands. The ideal situation is to beat the dealer with both hands which is even worth an even-money payout. When only one of your hands beats the dealer, your bet is push. This is the most common outcome and the worst-case scenario is for both your hands to tie or lose. In that case, your entire wager is lost.

Pai Gow Online Poker Odds

When we look at the Pai Gow Poker house edge which is 1.46% that means given an infinite  amount of wagers over an infinite period of time. The bettors expect to lose 1.46% of their Pai Gow Poker bankroll.

As an example of how those odds may affect your bankroll an average of 180 hands an hour, an online Pai Gow Poker player betting $1 per hand should expect losses of $2.52 for each hour of play. Remember that this figure assumes that you play according to ideal strategy.

Online Pai Gow Poker Games at the casinos

Below are some basic details on popular online versions of the game. These are not the only versions of the game available, but they do a good job of showing off what online has to offer to the players of Pai Gow Poker.

Realtime Gaming online Pai gow Poker

This game doesn’t offer the best possible house edge, as a consequence of their complex house rules and  has an edge of 2.86%, more than a percent above the standard-rules edition. It’s a very popular version, since RTG is a popular platform and Pai Gow Poker has its regular presence at  casinos over the internet.

Microgaming Gaming online Pai gow Poker

The edge is better on Microgaming’s version, but only to a very small degree. Microgaming’s standard Pai Gow Poker rules produce an edge of 2.7%. This game allows for a $1 side wager with a house edge of just over 5% that offers a jackpot of up to 8000 to 1. Microgaming does not recognize “the wheel” hands with a special rank.

Playtech gaming online Pai gow poker

Playtech Pai gow does not offer much fun to the game and is least favourable.  The “house way” button scores the hand rather than giving the option of picking to use the hand analysis or not. With a house edge of around 2.8% not the best by any means and doesn’t allow for true “house way” analysis like the other games.

Thus it is seen that Pai Gow Poker is an American game translated from dominoes to playing cards adding side wagers and fancy graphics with a classic tinge. Playing Pai Gow poker online gives the advantages of the original game with low house edge, slower pace of pay and low volatility.