A Guide to Face Up Pai Gow Poker

Face Up Poker, Poker, Cards, Chips, Dealer, Table, Money

Face Up Pai Gow poker is a fun table game available at many online and land-based casinos. You’re always going up against the dealer, and with every hand, you also have two optional side bets: Fortune Bonus or Ace-High.

You’re likely wondering how you can get good at the game and win more consistently. In this article, I’ll explain how to play Face Up Pai Gow poker, which includes information on the rules, house edge, and different strategies. Here’s what you need to know.

How to Play Face Up Pai Gow Poker

Face Up Pai Gow follows several basic rules that are easy to learn, which means that you’ll be playing the game in no time! It also follows a similar formula to traditional Pai Gow poker.

The game is played with a 53-card deck that includes a joker. The joker is semi-wild, and you can use it as an ace or to complete a straight, flush, straight flush, or royal flush.

The ranking system for poker hands follows your standard rules. However, the A-2-3-4-5 straight is considered the second-best straight (keep in mind that this particular rule doesn’t apply to every casino).


Every hand begins with the players making a bet before the cards are dealt. The player will receive seven cards, and so will the dealer. All of the dealer’s cards will be face up.

The dealer then decides how they want to set their cards in terms of a five-card high hand and a two-card low hand. When they choose the high hand, it must be greater than the low hand. If that’s not the case, the hand is fouled, and you lose your wager.

If Ace-High is the best hand that the dealer can produce, then all wagers are pushed. This ultimately results in a tie between the player and the dealer.

The player will then also separate their seven cards into a five-card card high hand and two-card low hand. Conventional poker rules will determine the rankings of each hand.

The five-card and two-card hands from both the dealer and the player will then be compared. The hands with the higher poker values win, but with ties, the dealer wins.

Keep in mind that Face Up Pai Gow also follows a set of rules known as “House Way” which determines how players can set their hands.

Differences to Traditional Pai Gow

Several subtle yet crucial differences exist between traditional Pai Gow and Face Up Pai Gow Poker. Perhaps the biggest variation is that the dealer cards are face up at all times, which gives players a chance to arrange their hands more strategically.

In traditional Pai Gow, players are charged a 5% commission on all winning bets, but in Face Up Pai Gow, no such commission exists. Also, when the dealer’s best five-card hand is ace-high in Face Up Pai Gow, it results in an automatic push.

Futher Info:

I also want to discuss the Face Up Pai Gow house edge, which is relatively low at 2.72%. However, if you make the Push Ace High side wager, the house edge increases dramatically to 9.29%.

Traditional Pai Gow offers a more favorable house edge at 1.42% when you optimize your strategy. The game is comparable to blackjack in terms of how often and how much you can win.

Tips for Face Up Pai Gow

Winning more consistently at Face Up Pai Gow poker will require you to develop at least a basic strategy. Ultimately, your goal should be to make the most of every hand and play the game from a strategic perspective.

Remember, you have to beat the dealer with your high (five-card) and low (two-card) hands to turn a profit. In other words, aiming for the best possible outcome should always be your main objective.


Keep in mind that two strong hands are better than one super-strong hand and one weak hand. Also, having a nine-high for your low hand usually won’t win you anything.

If the cards you’re dealt can’t produce a pair or better, keep your highest card with your high hand and the next two highest cards with your low hand.

If you’re dealt two different pairs, and the best pair consists of aces, you should split. You should do the same thing with kings, except when the other pair consists of deuces. You should play them together and play the two highest remaining cards in the low hand.

When you have a three-of-a-kind, include those cards in your high hand unless you have three aces. Keep two aces in your high hand and the other ace in your low hand, along with the next highest card that you have.

I also strongly recommend that you avoid making side bets altogether. This is how the house makes its money – side bets offer you nice payouts, but they rarely hit. In fact, side bets in Face Up Pai Gow earn the casinos more money than the 5% commissions in traditional Pai Gow.

Where to Play Face Up Pai Gow Online

Many of the best online casinos offer Face Up Pai Gow poker and many other fun table games. These casinos also offer welcome bonuses and other promotions that allow you to maximize your bankroll.

It’s a safe and enjoyable gambling environment that gives you the highest chance to win playing Face Up Pai Gow online.

Petko Stoyanov
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About Petko Stoyanov
My name is Petko Stoyanov, and I've been a gambling writer for more than ten years. I guess that was the natural path for me since I've loved soccer and card games for as long as I can remember! I have a long and fairly successful history with English Premier League betting and online poker, but I follow many other sports. I watch all big European soccer leagues, basketball, football, and tennis regularly, and I keep an eye on snooker, volleyball, and major UFC events.