Pai Gow Poker Glossary: Terms Every Player Should Know

Pai Gow Poker is a unique and exciting game that combines elements of traditional poker with the classic Chinese game of Pai Gow. For both beginners and seasoned players, understanding the specific terminology used in Pai Gow Poker is crucial for success. In this glossary, we’ll explore key terms every player should know to navigate the game with confidence.

House Way

The “House Way” refers to the specific set of rules that the dealer follows when setting their hand. Each casino may have slight variations in their House Way, but it usually involves strategies to maximize the strength of both hands while adhering to standard Pai Gow Poker rules.


In Pai Gow Poker, the term “Banker” denotes the dealer or player responsible for covering all bets made during that particular round. The role of Banker rotates among players and provides an opportunity to play against other participants instead of just the dealer.

High Hand (Back Hand)

The “High Hand” or “Back Hand” comprises five cards and needs to be stronger than the front hand. It’s essential to arrange the cards thoughtfully to maximize your winning potential.

Low Hand (Front Hand)

The “Low Hand” or “Front Hand” consists of two cards and must be weaker than the back hand. This adds an extra layer of strategy to the game, as players must ensure that the weaker two-card hand does not surpass the value of the five-card hand.

Pai Gow

A “Pai Gow” result occurs when the player’s two hands (high hand and low hand) both lose to the dealer’s corresponding hands. It signifies a full loss for the player.

Rolling the Dice

Before any cards are dealt, “Rolling the Dice” determines the starting player for the current round. This traditional element adds an element of chance and fairness to the game.

Fortune Bonus

Many casinos offer a side bet known as the “Fortune Bonus.” This optional wager can result in additional winnings based on the strength of the player’s seven cards, including the possibility of winning progressive jackpots.

Common Terms and Definitions

Term Definition
Ante The initial bet required to join a round of Pai Gow Poker.
Commission A small fee (usually 5%) charged by the house on winning hands.
Tie Occasionally, both the player’s and dealer’s hands may tie. In such cases, neither wins nor loses.

Player Strategies

  • Always split pairs: If you have pairs, use them wisely between the high and low hands.
  • Balance your hands: Ensure your low hand is always weaker but still competitive.
  • Observe the House Way: Familiarize yourself with the house rules to better anticipate dealer moves.

By mastering these terms and strategies, you can enhance your gameplay and enjoy a more rewarding Pai Gow Poker experience. Whether you’re playing casually or competitively, understanding these key concepts will sharpen your skills and increase your chances of winning.

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