Hand Rankings

Hand Ranks of Pai Gow

Hand Ranks of Pai Gow

Most Pai Gow Poker hands are ranked according to traditional poker rules (though there is one exception). Because gamblers tend to be familiar with poker, most find it simple to determine the winning pai gow hands. This is helpful, especially for newer players. The rules to pai gow may seem unusual, but being able to easily recognize hand ranks provides a level of comfort.

You’ll remember that the game is played by splitting 7 cards into two separate hands: a 2-card hand and a 5-card hand. Below, we’ll explain the Pai Gow Poker hand ranks for each.

Pai Gow Poker Hand Rankings

Let’s start with the 2-card hand. The best hand you can have is a pair of Aces (or an Ace and a joker). From there, pair rankings descend to a pair to 2’s. If your 2-card hand does not contain a pair, a high card wins. A pretty easy to rank your pai gow poker 2 card hand.

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As you probably realize, flushes are irrelevant within your 2-card hand. In descending order of value

  • The best 5-card hand you can have is 4 Aces and a joker (which is the same as 5 Aces).
  • you can also have a royal flush
  • straight flush
  • four of a kind
  • full house
  • flush
  • straight
  • 3 of a kind
  • two pairs
  • single pair
  • high card

There is one notable exception to traditional poker rankings. Pai Gow Poker hand ranks distinguish an Ace-K-Q-J-10 as a higher-ranking straight than an Ace-2-3-4-5. From there, the highest card of a straight determines its value. For example, a Q-J-10-9-8 outranks a 9-8-7-6-5.

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Even though you’ll be instantly familiar with the hand ranks, you might find it difficult to keep them in order while you’re learning the game. After all, you’ll need to compare both of your hands to both of the dealer’s hands to determine whether you’ve won, lost, or pushed.

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The most effective way to learn to identify Pai Gow Poker hand ranks quickly is to practice them. With a little experience, you’ll find it intuitive. Especially after you read our how to win at pai gow poker guide. One of our favorite places to enjoy playing Pai Gow Poker online is Bodog Casino. You can play the game using their free software or directly through your browser. Visit Bodog Casino today and experience their attractive online playing environment for yourself.