Pai Gow Poker: Let’s the Dominos fall where they may

Free Casino takes a closer look at Pai Gow Poker, renowned for being fun to play and incorporating a uniquely social element.

Pai Gow Poker: Let’s the Dominos fall where they may

For international students of gaming and entertainment, Pai Gow may well be familiar to you as an historic Chinese domino game. Renowned being fun to play and incorporating a uniquely social element, it was hugely popular at one point and remains synonymous with ancient, Chinese culture.

Fast-forward to the modern day, however, and those of you with eagle eyes may have seen a recently released poker variation bearing the same name. Available on the popular Betfred Casino, it is a unique and engaging game of skill that should appeal to anyone with a sense of community spirit.

The perfect example of a slow and steady poker game, Pai Gow is a challenging game that has several unique elements. To begin with, it borrows elements from traditional blackjack in that each player competes against a single dealer hand, meaning that participants often lose or win in unison. This fits perfectly with the modern desire of online operators to drive real-time interaction between players, as it creates a sense of unity and society among individuals who would otherwise be fierce rivals.


The game itself was invented in 1985, by a Bell card club owner living in Southern California. While Sam Torosian failed to patent his idea and protect it from being adapted by rival operators, he is to be commended for creating a simple and easy to understand set of rules that appeal to both new and experienced players. Using a single, 53 card deck (including a joker), players make an ante wager before being seven cards by the dealer. These are then separated into a high, five-card hand and a low, two-card alternative, with the former needing to be higher in value than the latter.

The five card hand is ranked according to conventional poker rules, while only two outcomes are possible with the two-card hand (pair or no pair). Individual cards determine the value of this hand, and pay-outs can be made on both according to variable house rules.

While some of these guidelines may change, however, the sense of community that the game creates between players remains unchanged. Joined in force against the dealer, they must apply traditional poker strategy and common sense if they are to win big and defeat the odds.