Which are the secrets of Pai Gow Poker?

Here we go again! One of those questions that people ask me all of the time and that I will gladly answer. Where does Pai Gow Poker come from? Why is it named like that? A friend even told me it sounds like a dish.

Many people have actually told me that it sounds like such a weird name, that they don’t even dare to look for it to play it. This, my friends, is a big shame, especially since this is a really fun kind of poker and its origins are actually quite cool.

Let’s take a look!


    • Pai Gow Poker’s origins are from way back to a hundred years ago in China.
    • This type of poker takes its roots from the Chinese game called Pai Gow. Translated literally, Pai Gow actually means to make nine.
    • It has a military nature where the tiles represented army and civilian units. Pai Gow more likely represented the reality in the territory in those times.
    • In the 20th century, a major change occurred to this traditional Chinese tile game when it was taken to US shores and cards were used instead of the traditional dominos thus the game evolved into a card game.
    • The new version of the game applied the basic hands used in poker with the added twist of a Joker being used in the deck during play.
    • In Pai Gow Poker, players go against the dealer (similar to blackjack) with a maximum of six players at a table.
    • The way the game works is that all players are dealt seven cards each, which players use to create two hands to pit against the dealer.


  • One hand will have two cards and the other will have five cards, thus splitting the seven-card hand.
  • The hand that has five cards is called a high hand while the other that has only two cards is called a low hand.
  • Players in this poker variant play their own individual game against the dealer. If a player’s high hand and low hand wins against the dealer’s hands then that player wins. But if ever only one of the player’s hand beats a dealer’s hand, it is then declared a tie.
  • I the 1900’s, Fred Wolf and Sam Torosian were credited with the creation of this variation of poker. Fred Wolf was an inventor of games and back in the 1980’s, was the Commerce Casino’s manager. He continued to introduce game innovations to attract more customers and get ahead of the competition.
  • Pai Gow Poker was one of the games introduced that made a huge hit and from then on, the game caught the hearts of the crowd and became a well-played game in different casinos.
  • Today, it can be found in different Internet casinos. The game remains as an interesting and refreshing change from our regular poker game.

Do you care to try it now that you know its roots? Don’t miss the fun!

Laura Barton

Laura Barton is a self-declared "adventurer". Highly energetic and unpredictable, you will never find her without something to read on her hands. She loves casinos, after all it's in her blood: her father was a Las Vegas mogul and a former owner of some of the largest casino entertainment chains in the US. Loves rock climbing, surfing and playing drums.