What Is Face Up Pai Gow?

What Is Face Up Pai Gow?

What Is Face Up Pai Gow?

Are you interested in learning a new casino game? There is so much more to learn than just the popular games like blackjack, roulette, and craps. If you expand your knowledge, an entirely new door opens at the casino. You might have heard of Pai Gow Poker, but what about Face Up Pai Gow?

Face Up Pai Gow is similar to Pai Gow Poker, but with even better odds.

Pai Gow Poker is the more popular game in the casino. Most regular casino goers have heard of this table despite maybe not playing. However, Face Up Pai Gow Poker doesn’t get nearly as much attention.


Finding Face Up Pai Gow in your local casino isn’t an easy chore. It’s rarer than Pai Gow Poker at land-based casinos. However, Face Up Pai Gow is easy to find at your favorite online casinos.

It’s important to note that this isn’t a community game like Texas hold ’em or Omaha poker. You aren’t playing against other players. This is one of the most common misconceptions regarding Pai Gow and other poker table games like Three Card Poker.

Face Up Pai Gow Poker is played against the dealer like blackjack.

In Texas hold’em, there is an element of strategy, though Pai Gow is a random game the player has no control over at the table. It’s certainly not the worst bet in the casino, so can be worth your time learning how to play.

What Is Face Up Pai Gow?

Pai Gow Poker is a table game with a house edge of 2.84%. There are far better bets at the table available than Pai Gow. One of them includes its sister game, Face Up Pai Gow.

Face Up Pai Gow is exclusively played against a dealer. The house edge on Face Up Pai Gow is 1.81%. That’s considerably better odds and a much stronger bet.

If you are debating between playing Pai Gow Poker and Face Up Pai Gow, always point towards the Face Up variation.

Again, don’t go into Face Up Pai Gow poker believing you are going to be playing against other players. This is exclusively versus the dealer. If you want a game that involves strategy, consider playing Texas hold’em.


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How To Play Face Up Pai Gow

So now that we briefly got into what is Face Up Pai Gow, let’s get into more details on how to play Face Up Pai Gow. If you’ve ever played Pai Gow, then it won’t take anything to understand this game.


The first thing you’ll notice is that the dealer cards are face-up and not hidden. The player is dealt seven and the dealer will have seven cards as well. This is the same format as regular Pai Gow Poker.

Note that Face Up Pai Gow Poker is played with a 53-card deck WITH a Joker included. The Joker can be used to complete a straight, flush, or straight flush. It can also be used as an Ace.

There are two spots on the table to put your cards. The high-hand, on the bottom, must beat the low-hand on the top.

The low-hand consists of two cards, while the rest of your cards will go to the high-hand. Online this will be completed automatically so there isn’t any confusion.

Your two second-best cards will go on top to complete your low-hand. Let’s call this a pair of eights.

If your remaining five cards are anything better than a pair of eights, these will go on the bottom or high-hand spot. For this example, a pair of Kings, or a straight is better than a pair eights, so this will go on the bottom (high-hand).

The player must beat the dealer’s high and low-hand. If you only beat one hand, then this is a push, and bets are refunded. There is a lot of pushing in Face Up Pai Gow Poker.

This is known as the base bet for Face Up Pai Gow Poker. There is also the option to bet the Ace High and Fortune Bonus wager for a bonus payout. The payouts will be located on the table.

The Ace High explains itself, but the Fortune Bonus needs a bit of explaining. The Fortune Bonus is paid if your hand is a straight or better. A straight typically pays 2/1, Three of a Kind 3/1, and so on. Keep in mind the dealer’s hand has nothing to do with the bonus bets.

The bonus bets are not required. Only the base bet at the Pai Gow Poker table.

What’s The Big Difference?

So, why are the odds better for Face Up Pai Gow Poker? It’s important to note that commission is not paid in Face Up. When we’re talking about regular Pai Gow Poker, a 5% commission must be paid to the house.

This 5% commission adds up on a Pai Gow Poker table. It’s always advised to search out a Face Up Pai Gow Poker table and avoid traditional Pai Gow.


Remember, your high-hand (five cards) has to be better than your low-hand (two cards). The goal is for you to beat both of the dealer’s hands. So, you want to have your second-best combination of two cards for the low-hand.

There is very low volatility with this game. As a result of the ties with the dealer and refunds, it’s one of the better bets in the casino if you don’t want to lose fast. It’s especially better to play Face Up Pai Gow without the 5% house commission.

Author: Tamara Kim