Top Pai Gow Online Casinos, Playing Rules and Winning Tips

Pai gow is a very popular game with a version that has made its way into online casinos named pai gow poker. A rather simple game, pai gow poker can be played online, and there are safe websites to do that legally in the Philippines. Our guide will introduce you to the rules and how to play it properly, and you will be ready to begin gambling in no time at all!

Best Casinos to Play Pai Gow Poker Online 2024

If you already know everything there is to know on how to play pai gow, it may be time to choose the best casino to play it. Fortunately, our selection of casinos that are approved and legal to play in the Philippines offer pai gow online:

135 ratings
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100% Bonus Up to 86,000 PHP + 150 Free Spins!
  • Odds above the average
  • Many betting lines
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136 ratings
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100% Up to 7,000 PHP First Deposit
  • Website in Tagalog
  • Many payment methods
  • Free bets
129 ratings
Review
100% Bonus Up to 18,000 PHP!
  • Tagalog language
  • Many betting lines
  • Several cryptocurrencies

What Is Pai Gow?

Pai gow is an ancient Chinese chance game that is played with 32 dominoes, still played at physical casinos – especially Macau in China but also all around the world. Therefore, it is not played with cards but rather combining the values of dominoes, which is fairly different from what we find in online casinos, the pai gow poker.

Is Pai Gow Poker Different From the Original?

Pai gow poker is like the original one in the sense that players play it with two hands, being a double-handled poker. Cards are used instead of dominoes, but the essence of the game, which is combining the hands, remains the same. The fact that it is an alternative version of poker makes it easier to understand if you are familiar with poker hand combinations.

Is It Legal to Play Pai Gow in the Philippines?

Unlike games such as jueteng, which is illegal in the Philippines, there are no gambling laws that forbid you from playing pai gow in our country. That also applies to online pai gow and pai gow poker, but you must make sure that you are playing on a foreign casino website. After all, the online versions of local casinos cannot accept Filipinos.

Can We Gamble on Online Pai Gow for Real Money?

As there are no limitations whatsoever in our legislation, we can gamble on online pai gow and withdraw our winnings at our will. However, as specified in the definition of pai gow, it is only possible to find pai gow poker online. The traditional version is only found at physical casinos, as no provider has seemed to be interested in producing a game with the traditional pai gow rule.

How to Play Pai Gow Poker?

There are not many versions of pai gow poker to play online. In fact, the few versions that we find playing on online casinos in the Philippines are close to identical. They only change part of the design – seriously, things that won’t impact our gameplay, like the table color – and that is rather common when it comes to simple table games.

Talking about simplicity, the online pai gow poker game achieves the advantage of being even easier than when playing locally. Two taps on the screen are enough, and, believe it or not, you may even profit without understanding the pai gow poker rules properly.

“All that you need to know is that your seven cards will be split in a poker hand of five cards through the highest you choose. Then, the remaining two will form another hand, beginning with your second highest at your criteria.” – advice by Jason Anque, an expert casino writer at LuckyStarts.

Pai Gow Poker Rules

The best way to understand the rules applied to online pai gow poker is with a clear view of what can be found in online casinos. Some of the casinos we recommend will allow you to play them for free, and that is how you can develop your own pai gow poker strategy and follow the next steps without any worries:

  1. After you register on one of the recommended casino sites to play pai gow poker online, search for “Pai Gow” and choose one of the games that appear:Pai Gow Poker Rules

    Credit: 20Bet

  2. Once the game loads, the first thing that you should do is to define the chip value that you want to place for your bet. Then, tap on the only bet placement in the middle of the gaming table:

pai gow gaming table

Credit: 20Bet

  1. When ready, tap “Deal” to get the cards distributed to you and the dealer, which is as random as the drawn cards.
  2. With your seven cards, you need to decide which one will build the set of the highest hand and which one goes for the second highest. They will be compared with the dealer’s:With your seven cards

    Credit: 20Bet

  3. As soon as you are done picking, which can only happen if your second highest hand is not better than your highest hand, press “Stand”:Stand

    Credit: 20Bet

  4. Finally, the game automatically compares your hands with the dealer’s (randomly generated) and declares the winner:Declares the winner

    Credit: 20Bet

Possible Hand Rankings

While it is perfectly possible to let the hints of the game guide you through setting the highest card first and then the second highest, you might as well memorize the poker hands. It is according to them that the winning hands are set:

HandCards
Five AcesWild Card + 4 Aces
Royal FlushA, K, Q, J, and 10 of the same suit. Ace chosen as the highest card.
Straight FlushFive cards of the same suit and in the right order.
Four of a KindFour of the five cards are the same number.
Full HouseA pair plus three of a kind.
Three of a kindThree of the five cards are the same number.
Two PairsTwo pairs of different numbers.
PairTwo equal numbers.
High CardIf no hand is formed, you compete with your highest card against the dealer’s highest card.

Therefore, even if you realize that your hand will not form a proper poker hand, your choice of the highest card can still beat the dealer. If you do, you get the 1:1 payment that pai gow poker has to offer.

Pai Gow Online Playing Formats

Unlike games such as blackjack, online roulette, and even sic bo, pai gow poker is not as popular online as it is in the Philippines. It only has the individual table game form, and the two games that we can find on the approved casinos are exactly the same format.

For now, providers such as Playtech, Pragmatic Live, and Evolution Gaming have not published live pai gow poker rooms. Therefore, stick to the how-to-play and pai gow poker rules above, and you will have everything you need.

Pai Gow Payouts and Winning Odds

It is important to understand that online pai gow poker is quite limited when it comes to payout. It does not matter if you have won with a perfect 5 Aces or if you only beat the dealer with the highest card. The payout is always 1:1, as shown below:Pai Gow Payouts and Winning OddsDespite what is said about the commission, the game actually pays in full. If you win one hand, you only get your bet back. Therefore, in order to get twice the bet, you need to be lucky and smart enough to beat the dealer with both hands.

Free Vs. Reel Money Pai Gow

It should be clear by now that some casinos offer you the chance to play pai gow poker for free if you are willing to. Therefore, since it is our goal to prepare you for everything you will find in online casinos, compare the pros and cons of each alternative:

Free Pai Gow PokerReal Money Pai Gow Poker
  • Unlimited play at no cost.
  • Possibility to train and get used to the game.
  • Good to practice different poker strategies.
  • Available on most online casinos.
  • Try different versions of the game before betting.
  • Keep playing for fun when you reach your real gambling limits.
  • Makes it possible for you to collect and withdraw winnings from the game.
  • It might be compatible with casino bonuses.
  • Real excitement from playing with real money.
  • Affordable with bets starting at US$ 1 (~58 PHP).
  • Get rewarded when you are really lucky.

 

What Is the Best Pai Gow Poker Strategy and Winning Tips?

While pai gow poker is a rather simple game, there is room for skill and doing your best to win. After all, the wrong selection of cards can actually make you lose all the rounds. It is not like online slots, as selecting cards at random will most probably result in losses at least most of the time.

Therefore, I’d like to introduce important variations of the best pai gow poker strategy and some extra tips for you to enjoy the game to the maximum.

Remember the Two Hands

If you are used to poker and similar games, you might be tempted to select the best possible hand with the cards you receive. However, if you make sure to optimize your highest hand and forget about the second highest, your chances of profiting are really low.

After all, you need to win both to actually profit from the online version. Therefore, if you have got pretty decent cards, make sure to have a high one in both hands. That way, the game will compare with the dealer’s and grant you winnings if you are successful.

The Right Move

This strategy is useless when you are playing pai gow online because the current versions won’t allow you to build hands by selecting cards separately. Even so, just in case a provider launches a complete pai gow poker game, or if you simply want to know the rules to play it physically with friends, it is important to know the right move for each combination of cards.

Your HandOptimal Move
No Pair / Flush / StraightPut the highest card in your first hand and the next two highest together in the second hand.
2 Pairs With AcesAlways split.
2 Pairs With KingsSplit unless the other pair is twos.
2 Pairs With 6 or LowerSplit, except in the case that you have an Ace, which requires you to play the pair with the Ace.
2 Pairs of 7 to 10Also split, except in the case that you have an Ace, which requires you to play the pair with the Ace.
2 Pairs, Jacks to AcesHighest pair should be in the first (highest) hand.
3 PairsHighest pair in the second hand.
Three of a KindOnly split Aces.
Full HouseMove the highest pair to the second hand.
Straight and FlushKeep the straight or flush in your largest hand. In the case of two pairs, split it.
Four of a KindIf 6 or lower, keep them in the same hand. In the case of 7 or more, split it except if you have an Ace. Always split anything from Jacks and above – except in the presence of a pair to fill the second hand.
Five AcesAlways split unless you have a pair of Kings – in that case, put the pair in the second hand and the Aces filling the first.

Are There Bonuses When Playing Pai Gow Online?

When you play pai gow online, more precisely, the pai gow poker version available to play alone, you might be able to use the casino bonus. However, table games tend to contribute only 5% to 10%, if they contribute at all, to the wagering requirements.

Therefore, if the casino requires you to wager 30 times the 5,000 PHP bonus, you would have to wager it 300 to 600 times if you only play pai gow poker. If you are willing to take that conservative direction, sure, you may use the bonus to play pai gow online.

Games Similar to Pai Gow

Since the available games of pai gow poker are quite the same, you might look for similar games if you want some variation in your gaming life. You will find some categories that might interest you below.

Video Poker

Video Poker

The concept of combining poker hands without having to go through a game of poker is not an exclusivity of pai gow poker. Video poker games are even faster and instant, and they truly allow you to try and make the possible poker hands with a better payout for more difficult hands.

Every time you deal the cards, you decide if and which ones to hold for a second drawing within the same round. Then, you get the payout on the paytable if you manage to complete that hand.

Video Poker

Poker

Poker Variations

Although usually more complex than the simple pai gow poker rules, the original poker game can be entertaining and allow much more room for skill instead of luck. Among the many possibilities, you may play Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hi-lo, and Caribbean Poker from your computer or mobile device.

Poker Variations
Baccarat

Baccarat

Although quite different from poker versions in general, baccarat is quite similar in its format when compared to the online pai gow poker we have access to. You simply put a bet on one of the two possible hands representing the player and the banker. Then, according to what is drawn, you will either win or lose. Simple enough and quite fun when you want fast rounds.

Pai Gow Glossary: Terms You Should Know

There are words used in pai gow poker that you might not be familiar with. It is also a fact that you will most probably not need the majority of them when playing online, since the game is pretty much automatized. Still, I want to present you all the knowledge you may have about that popular game:

  • Banker – Represented by the dealer when playing online, it can be played by another player in physical casinos, betting against all other hands.
  • Bug – Another term for the joker card, which works as a Wild in the game.
  • Copies – When there is a draw between the player’s hand and the dealer’s hand, resulting in the victory of the dealer or banker.
  • Commission – The 5% fee that makes it a profitable game for the casino. It does not apply to the online games we recommend here.
  • Dragon Hand – A cool name for a hand that does not apply to any player, just distributed to an empty seat to follow the casino’s protocol.
  • Hand Behind or High Hand – The highest and 5-card pai gow poker hand.
  • Hand in Front or Low Hand – Intuitively, it is the remaining two-card and second-highest hand played by the player.
  • High Card – The highest card used when there is no formed poker hand.
  • House Way – The rule that guides dealers in constructing their hands.
  • Joker – Works as a Wild in the game, but it can only replace cards to form a Straight, a Flush, or a Straight Flush. Otherwise, it may work as an Ace.
  • Push – When you only win with one of the two hands.
  • Random Number Generator – Software technology that ensures that the game is fair and that cards are randomly distributed.

Should You Play Pai Gow Poker Online?

Pai gow poker is a popular game in the Philippines that still does not find a perfect match to be played online. While a couple of providers created table games to play individually, we do not have live pai gow poker or the possibility of getting high payouts from certain combinations of cards. Therefore, it is still pretty raw in terms of development, but it can be fun to play sometimes.

More importantly, it is entirely legal, and you can use our tips to try and make your bankroll grow with the next bets. Just make sure to pick the websites that we have tested and approved for that.

FAQs

Pai Gow is an ancient game with dominoes that has a modern version with cards and the use of poker hands, which is called pai gow poker.
No, the free version of any online casino game, including pai gow, is only for demonstration. You need to bet with real money to be able to earn money.
That is entirely up to your preferences, but poker is way more complex and lasts longer, while pai gow is simpler and straightforward.
Any form of gambling in the Philippines, online or not, requires you to be at least 21 years old. That includes pai gow poker in any of its forms.