How to Split Two Pair

Learning how to split two pair in Pai Gow Poker requires a little memorization and a lot of practice (we’ll tell you where to get the practice in a moment). It’s the one area of the game that is less than straightforward and is certainly one of the advanced pai gow poker strategies you can use to shave the edge as low as possible.

Most Pai Gow Poker strategy sites seem to recommend that you follow the “house way” when splitting two pair. The house way is a set of rules that dictate how the dealer (in live casinos) splits cards. Nearly all online casino software follows this set of rules. Below, we’ll describe the most common house way rules, but we’ll also add a few refinements that will give you a small, but important, edge.

Splitting Two Pair In Pai Gow Poker: The House Way

House way rules for splitting two pair are based on categorizing the pairs into 3 distinct groups:

  • low
  • middle
  • high

Here are the 3 categories:

  • Low pairs: 2’s through 6’s
  • Middle pairs: 7’s through 10’s
  • High pairs: Jacks through Aces

Based on those categories, the house way is to always split two pair under the following circumstances:

  • you’re holding one pair of Aces
  • you’re holding two high pair
  • you’re holding one high and one middle pair

In the absence of an Ace, house way rules are to also split two pair whenever…

  • you’re holding two middle pair
  • you’re holding one low and one high pair

In the absence of a king or Ace, house way advises splitting two pair if…

  • you’re holding one low and one middle pair
  • you’re holding two low pair

It’s simpler than it seems, but it takes practice to memorize. With that in mind, let’s refine the house way to give you an extra edge.

Refining The House Way Playing 2 Pair

These refinements are based on adding the ranking values of your two pair to calculate a ranking sum. For example, if you’re holding a pair of 6’s and a pair of 8’s, your ranking sum would be 14 (calculated by adding the ranking values 6 and 8). Given that, always split your two pair unless either of the following is true:

  • your ranking sum is fifteen or less, and you’re holding an Ace
  • your ranking sum is nine or less, and you’re holding a king or an Ace

Where To Practice Splitting Two Pair In Pai Gow Poker

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