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Pai Gow Poker Terms- A Full Glossary

The American version of the classic Chinese domino game, Pai Gow, is a wonderful casino game to try out instead of always playing the popular table games found at the casino. such as Blackjack and Roulette. As we’ve already explained in our Pai Gow Poker Online Guide, the game is played using a 52-deck of cards together with a wild card which adds a great twist to the game! Although this casino game is far simpler than it looks at first glance it’s definitely worth learning the rules and Pai Gow Poker terms associated with the game prior to playing the game for real money. Below we’ve compiled a glossary of terms for you to learn in order to play the game. 


Ante – The first bet you place when a game of Pai Gow Poker commences is called an Ante.


Back-hand - A back-hand refers to the 5-card hand after the 7 card-hand is split into 2; one of 2-cards (referred to as the front hand) and one of 5-cards.

Banker - The banker is the player's opponent in a Pai Gow poker game.

Bankroll - The money that you’ve dedicated to your Pai Gow Poker game is called a bankroll.

Betting Spot – This is the place of the table where you place your bets during the game.


Co-banking – An option that is available in some casinos (not all), where the player and the house are 50/50 partners as the bank. Unfortunately, co-banking is not available to online players of the game in which the dealer is always the banker.

Copies/ Copy Hand – A copy hand is simply another name for a tie. When the player's and the banker's hand have the same value, the hand is automatically won by the banker and the player ends up with nothing.


Dragon Hand - A hand dealt to an empty seat at the table. In some casinos, a player may be allowed to place bets on a dragon hand and play it as his/her own.

Dealer - A dealer is a person giving out the hands during a game. He/she always represents the house.


Front Hand – The name of the 2-card hand that is usually placed in front of a 5-card hand that’s called the back hand.

Flush - A hand with all five cards in the same suit, i.e., spades, hearts, clubs or diamonds. All suits have the same value.

Four-of-a-kind - A hand that contains four cards of the same value.

Full House - Three cards of the same value plus two of another (same) value.

Fouling Your Hand – A foul occurs when your front hand outranks the back hand.


Hand Behind - The name given to the five-card hand in Pai Gow Poker, as it is placed behind the smaller two-card hand.

Hand in Front - The name of the two-card hand placed in front of the five-card hand.

High Card - If no player has a poker hand with a pair or better, the highest card, or sequence of cards, will determine the winner.

High Hand - Same as "Hand Behind," see above.

House Chips - This term refers to the chips that are used during a game of Pai Gow Poker.

House Edge - The casino’s edge is defined as the advantage that the casino has over the players. 

House Way - A predetermined strategy used by the dealers when they set their hands. During a game of Pai Gow Poker online, you also usually have the option to use the house way in order to set your front and back hand.


Joker - A card that represents the "wild card" in Pai Gow Poker. It can be used to complete a straight, a flush, or a straight flush. Basically, you can use it in any way that tickles your fancy in order to improve your prospects of beating the dealer and winning the prize at the end of the round.


Low Hand - Same as "Hand in Front," see above.


One-Pair – Two Cards that are of the same numerical value make up one-pair.


Pair - A hand with two cards of the same value.


Royal Flush - The highest hand in poker. A-K-Q-J-T of the same suit, i.e., spades, diamonds, hearts or clubs.


Singleton - A card that is not of the same numerical value to any other card in the hand. Thus, it does not form a pair.

Straight Flush - A hand with five sequential cards of the same suit, i.e., 9-8-7-6-5, all hearts.

Split - A split refers to the separation of your 7-card hand that’s been dealt out to you by the dealer during the initial phase of the game after bets have been placed. Every 7-card hand is split into two during a game of Pai Gow Poker. 

Shoe - The shoe is the pack of cards that every hand is dealt from by the dealer. Usually, every hand is dealt from the shoe. 


Three-of-a-kind - A hand with three cards of the same value.

Two Pair - A hand that contains two cards of the same nomination.


Wild Card - In Pai Gow Poker, the Joker acts as the Wild Card which can be used to substitute for any card in your 7-card hand. Players should you this very carefully in order to make up the best possible front hand and back hand.

Win - A win in Pai Gow Poker occurs when a player manages to beat the dealer with both his/her low hand and high hand.

Go Through Our Pai Gow Poker Glossary & Then Head to a Casino!

pai gow poker termsMany casino fans out there will agree that playing Poker generally takes a few hours which sometimes can mean missing out on many other things. Luckily, Pai Gow Poker offers a quicker dose of fun for all you gamblers out there who feel strapped for time. As we’ve stated previously in this article, it is always worth learning how to play Pai Gow Poker by reading about its rules and learn the pai gow poker strategy. Yet, we also encourage you to acquaint yourself with the several Pai Gow Poker terms that are used in the game too. Once you feel more knowledgeable about the terms used as well as the rules involved, simply head to our Free Pai Gow Poker page to practice playing the game before heading to a real money online casino in our list!

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