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Pai Gow Vs Poker?

The casino industry is full of all types of games. Many of these will be derivatives of the classics you already know and love. If you have a walk through the gaming floor of a brick and mortar casino, then you’ll probably come across some jackpot games that look very traditional, and yet are different. When it comes to the game of poker, there are a huge variety of poker games. But also some games which look very similar. These are the “poker derivative games”, and include the ever-popular Pai Gow.

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New Games For New Players

With the casino industry constantly looking out for new ways of enticing new players onto the online casino, then you’ll find the casino market is full of interesting poker-based options. These include such games as High Card Flush, Three Card Poker, Jackpot Hold’em and Ultimate Texas Hold’em. Probably one of the most interesting and immersive games of all these poker derivatives, it also happens to be one of the oldest casino poker games. Yes we’re talking about Pai Gow poker.

If you’re a poker veteran who likes to playing the traditional game, then you may be wondering what on earth is Pai Gow poker? And how is it similar to real poker? Well today we thought we’d take the time to investigate this variant of jackpot poker. And see whether it’s the perfect derivative for you to start playing, or utilise your bankroll with.

What Is Pai Gow?

First things first, we should talk a little bit about what exactly Pai Gow poker is. And how you play it. We should start by saying, that as previously mentioned, Pai Gow poker is a derivative of the classical game. In fact it’s derived from five card poker, but with some added ingredients. You can find both the standard table game and live dealer versions of the game at 22Bet Casino. They also offer all new players a great sign-up bonus of 100% up to 300 Euros. 

Poker Vs Pai Gow Poker


There are some major differences between, for example, Texas Hold’em poker and Pai Gow poker. Probably the most noticeable, and certainly the most important, is that you’ll find Pai Gow poker is a house-banked casino table game. This is different to other poker games such as Texas Hold’em. In the latter, you’re playing against other players. And the casino will help itself to a small percentage of the pot. But with Pai Gow poker, the player is actually playing against the casino. 

The second main difference between Texas Hold’em and Pai Gow PokerIs that in Pai Gow poker you will receive a total of seven cards from which you’ll make two poker hands: a five card hand and a two card hand. You can contrast this with a traditional poker game in which you should make just a single five card hand.

How Is Pai Gow Played?

As soon as you sit down at the Pai Gow poker table, you’ll be expected to make your bets. The most common bet is  called the “standard bet.” You’re betting that both your hands will beat both of the dealer’s hands. It’s important to keep in mind that in order to win and be paid out, both of your hands will need to be successful. Likewise, for you to lose, then you’ll require that both your hands lose. As a result, you’ll see a lot of pushes in Pai Gow poker. There’s another major bet you can make which is known as the “fortune bonus bet.” We must confess that this bet is a very exciting proposition.

Pai Gow Does Have Some Big Cash Prizes

The fortune bonus bet in Pai Gow gives you the chance of a huge jackpot payout. And consider this is based on bets for as little as $1. Nevertheless, in order to play, you must make the main bet. As for the fortune bonus bet, it’s purely optional. Though we should add that by making it, it certainly ups the ante of the game and adds a great deal of excitement. And all thanks to the possibility of some huge prizes.

Once you’ve placed your initial bets, then all players will receive cards from the dealer. These will be seven cards dealt face down. From these, you’ll need to make two different poker hands. These can be a five-card hand or a two-card hand. Now we see, the five card hand, also known as the “bottom hand,”must outrank the two card hand. This is the “top hand.” Take note that if your top hand out-ranks your bottom hand, then you’ll immediately lose your bet.

The Bottom Hand


As previously mentioned, your five card poker hand is your bottom hand. You would use it in exactly the same way as if you were playing a standard game of poker. In other words, flushes, straights, and pairs, along with full houses, are exactly the same as you’d find them in a game of regular Texas Hold’em

The Top Hand

When it comes to the top hand, these two cards are ranked, not with traditional poker rankings, but simply on the rank of the cards. All players want to play with the best top hand possible, which is a pair of aces. As to which cards to play if they’re all different in your top hand, then we suggest you play your highest card first. Once you finally set your hand then it’s time for the dealer to reveal his cards. There’s a set of fixed house rules that are predetermined as to how the dealer will set his hand. 

Now comes the time for the dealer to compare your hands with their own hands. This is a requirement, whether you win, lose, or push. At the same time, any bonus extras will pay out. Keep in mind that your bonus payouts are independent of the initial bet. In fact, even if you should lose your main bet, you’ll still get any bonus due to you.

So, Is Pai Gow Like Poker?

So now we come to the $6 million question: is Pai Gow poker really like traditional poker? In one respect, yes, as it plays out like poker in respect that you are making poker hands. On the other side of the coin, it’s a house-bank game. Inherently, this means that there is a built-in house advantage. At the end of the day, even if you play perfect jackpot winning strategies, you will still lose out to the casino in the long run. 


Traditional poker has an appeal to many players because you’re able to utilise both skill and luck. The component of skill will help increase your jackpot winning chances. At the end of the day, here at we tend to look at Pai Gow poker as a sort of second-rate poker game. That’s because if you’re a serious poker player, then the very idea that you’ll lose against the casino in the long run makes the game of Pai Gow poker all the more less inviting.

A Good Strategy Can Help You

Having said that, there is some truth in the fact that strategy does matter in Pai Gow poker. Though it’s not enough to bring the game from being a negative expected value game, into a positive one But if you make use of well thought out strategies, then you can get better results. To that end, the casual poker player might find the game more appealing. After all, your decisions still matter. And depending on the choices you make, you can certainly still win the jackpot online in the short term.

Easy To Learn, Hard To Master

You can learn the game of Pai Gow poker within a couple of hands. But it will take much longer to master. If you’re the type of poker player who enjoys the challenge then Pai Gow poker certainly offers some work for your little grey cells. In the end, we have to confess that Pai Gow poker isn’t really close enough to poker to be a game that traditional poker players will really enjoy. If you want to try your hand at the game, then head over to 22Bet Casino. There you’ll find Pai Gow poker being played at their live casino. These offer real dealers. They are, without a doubt, the closest experience you’ll find to the real brick and mortar casino.

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