Poker Face: Casinos with the Best RTP for Pai Gow

Daniel White

Last updated 7.1.2024

Poker Face: Casinos with the Best RTP for Pai Gow

Pai Gow Poker presents a unique challenge in casino games, with its Return to Player (RTP) and House Edge being significant factors for players seeking optimal play.

The house edge in Pai Gow Poker is typically around 2.5% to 2.84%, assuming the player adheres to optimal strategy. This figure can be influenced by additional factors such as commissions charged by some casinos, which typically stand at 5% on each winning hand.

The RTP for Pai Gow Poker generally falls between 92.23% and 97.47%, although some sources indicate it can reach as high as 99.31% under specific circumstances.

Optimal Strategy for Maximizing RTP

To maximize the RTP in Pai Gow Poker, players must employ an optimal strategy. This involves making the most advantageous decisions for handling their hand, taking into account the house rules and the typical 5% commission on winnings.

The effectiveness of these strategies is contingent on the specific rules and conditions of the casino in question. Pai Gow Poker’s strategy is complex, and players often utilize calculators and tools to determine the best approach for any given hand, considering the standard commission and generic dealer strategy.

House Edge Variations

It is important to note that the House Edge in Pai Gow Poker can vary depending on the player’s strategy and the specific ‘House Way’ rules employed by each casino.

Typically, the House Edge ranges between 2.5% and 2.6% with optimal player strategy. When players opt to deal their hand the ‘House Way’, the House Edge may slightly increase to around 2.7%.

House Edge and RTP Range Table

StrategyBankerHouse EdgeRTP
House WayDealer2.72%97.28%
House WayPlayer0.25%99.75%


  • The house edge and RTP values are calculated based on the probabilities and returns of wins, pushes, and losses under each strategy and banking condition.
  • ‘House Way’ refers to the standard method employed by the casino for setting hands.
  • ‘Optimal’ strategy represents the most advantageous method for players to set their hands.
  • The banker role alternates in Pai Gow Poker, influencing the house edge and RTP.

This variance underscores the importance of understanding both the game mechanics and the specific rules of the casino where one is playing.

Understanding RTP in Pai Gow Poker

Return to Player (RTP) in Pai Gow Poker is an intricate aspect that hinges significantly on player skill and the specific rules of the game.

Unlike many casino games, the RTP in Pai Gow Poker is not static and varies depending on the player’s approach and the game’s conditions.

The house advantage and RTP in Pai Gow Poker are contingent on how the player sets their hands and, crucially, the extent to which the player takes on the role of the banker.

Several scenarios exist, each with its own probability and expected value outcomes, depending on whether the house way or optimal strategy is employed and whether the player or dealer is banking.

Optimal Strategy: Maximizing RTP

Employing an optimal strategy in Pai Gow Poker is central to enhancing RTP. The game involves arranging seven cards into two distinct hands: a two-card hand and a five-card hand.

The optimal strategy focuses on how these cards are split. Basic strategy can bring the house advantage down close to its lowest point, around 2.66%.

Optimal Strategy Guide Table for Pai Gow Poker

Hand TypeStrategy
Five of a Kind + One PairPlay a pair of Kings or Aces in the low hand.
Five of a KindPlay a pair of Aces in the low hand.
Four of a Kind + Three of a KindSplit the higher set if Four of a Kind is at least two ranks higher.
Four of a Kind + One PairPlay the pair in the low hand. Exceptions apply.
Four of a KindVarious strategies depending on the rank of the Four of a Kind.
Three of a Kind + Three of a KindStrategy varies based on hand composition.
Three of a Kind + Two PairStrategy varies based on hand composition.
Three of a Kind + One PairStrategy varies based on hand composition.
Three of a KindStrategy varies based on hand composition.
Three PairStrategy varies based on hand composition.
Two PairStrategy varies based on hand composition.
One PairPlay the best low hand that leaves a Straight/Flush in the high hand. Exceptions apply.
No PairStrategy varies based on hand composition.


  • This table covers strategies when a straight, flush, straight flush, or royal flush is not possible.

Advanced strategies, can shave off additional fractions of a percentage point. These strategies often involve nuanced decisions, especially regarding how to handle pairs.

For example, in certain circumstances, it’s advisable to keep two pairs in the back hand, particularly if their ranking sum meets specific criteria.

Calculating RTP: A Statistical Viewpoint

Calculating the RTP in Pai Gow Poker involves understanding the probability and return of various outcomes, such as wins, pushes, and losses, under different strategic scenarios.

The expected value, which ultimately shapes the RTP, varies depending on whether the player or the dealer is banking and whether the house way or an optimal strategy is being used.

For example, when the player banks using optimal strategy, the expected value can be slightly positive, indicating a more favorable RTP for the player. This complexity in calculation underscores the strategic depth of Pai Gow Poker and the significance of player choices in influencing RTP.

Top Casinos with the Best RTP for Pai Gow

When selecting the top casinos for Pai Gow Poker, several factors including RTP rates, game variety, player bonuses, and user experience are paramount.

A few casinos have distinguished themselves in offering Pai Gow Poker with favorable RTPs and comprehensive player experiences.

Key Casinos with High RTP for Pai Gow Poker

  • Wild Casino: Known for its extensive gaming variety and impressive payouts, Wild Casino stands out as a leading destination for Pai Gow Poker players. With a focus on Pai Gow poker, the casino offers a range of promotions, including a casino reload match deposit bonus. It’s celebrated for its swift deposit and withdrawal options and decent mobile integration.
  • Las Atlantis Casino: Las Atlantis is lauded for its robust table game offerings, including multiple Pai Gow Poker titles. It offers new players enticing welcome bonuses and regular promotions. The casino is particularly noted for its reduced fee structure for Pai Gow Poker, making it a financially appealing option.
  • Bovada: Bovada secures a place for its comprehensive range of table games and poker variations, including Pai Gow Poker. It provides progressive jackpots, weekly tournaments, and a variety of incentives tailored to table game players, enhancing the Pai Gow Poker playing experience.
  • MyBookie: This casino is recognized for its immersive live casino experience and a selection of Pai Gow poker table games. MyBookie stands out for its player-friendly promotions, including a 150% match deposit bonus, and its focus on providing a user-friendly experience.
  • BetOnline: With a gaming catalog developed by top providers, BetOnline offers a dedicated poker section with Pai Gow poker selections. It’s known for its varied depositing and withdrawal options and the flexibility of playing in practice mode.

Additional Insights on RTP in Pai Gow Poker

Pai Gow Poker can offer an RTP of up to 98.7%, particularly in casinos that do not charge a commission on winnings. This high RTP makes Pai Gow an attractive option for players looking for fair odds in table games.

Players are advised to separate high cards in the absence of pairs and to keep straights and flushes together to maximize winnings.

Why RTP Matters in Pai Gow Poker

RTP, or Return to Player, is a key metric in Pai Gow Poker, representing the percentage of the total amount wagered that a player can expect to win back over time. It’s effectively the flip side of the house edge, which indicates the casino’s potential earnings.

For example, a game with a 2.7% house edge would have an RTP of 97.3%, meaning theoretically, for every $100 wagered, a player might expect to win back $97.3 over an extended period. This statistical projection doesn’t assure exact returns in each session but rather reflects a long-term expectation.

The Strategic Importance of RTP

In Pai Gow Poker, the strategies players adopt can significantly influence the RTP. The game’s house edge, and consequently the RTP, fluctuates based on the player’s strategy and the specific ‘House Way’ rules of the casino.

For example, optimal player strategies generally yield a house edge of about 2.5-2.6%. If players opt for the ‘House Way’, a slightly higher house edge, around 2.7%, is typical. This variation highlights the importance of understanding and employing effective strategies to enhance winning potential.

Key Strategies to Maximize RTP

  • Hand Splitting Techniques: Knowing how to optimally split hands in Pai Gow Poker is vital. For example, with at least a pair, it’s advisable to place the pair in the high hand and the two highest remaining cards in the low hand. Mastering such hand-splitting techniques can significantly improve winning chances and positively affect the RTP.
  • Banker Role Advantages: Acting as the banker in Pai Gow Poker can offer significant advantages, such as winning when other players make hand arrangement mistakes. As a banker, the house edge can reduce to around 1.46%, highlighting the importance of seizing the opportunity to bank, usually offered once every seven hands in online casinos.
  • Optimal Pai Gow Strategy: Specific strategies, such as how to handle no pairs, one pair, two pairs, etc., are critical for minimizing the house edge. For example, with no pair, the highest card should be placed in the 5-card hand and the next two highest cards in the 2-card hand. Such strategic decisions are key for optimizing the RTP.

Pai Gow Poker: A Game of Strategy and Chance

Pai Gow Poker, a blend of ancient Chinese Pai Gow and American Poker, offers an intricate challenge with its two-hand gameplay and the inclusion of a wildcard Joker.

This game’s appeal lies in its unique combination of strategy and chance, providing a captivating experience for players at various skill levels.

The Central Role of RTP

The Return to Player (RTP) rate is a critical element in Pai Gow Poker, significantly influencing player decisions and strategies.

With an average RTP of around 97%, Pai Gow Poker stands out as an attractive option for gamblers, particularly in online casinos that offer various RTP rates along with bonuses, promotions, and tournaments to enhance the gaming experience.

Maximizing the Pai Gow Poker Experience

To fully appreciate and excel in Pai Gow Poker, players must delve into the game’s strategic aspects.

This involves mastering both basic and advanced strategies, understanding the nuances of different game variations and side bets, and exploring the diverse offerings of online casinos.

These components, coupled with a keen understanding of RTP, enable players to enhance their gaming experience, optimize their chances of success, and make informed decisions that align with their playing styles and preferences.

Final Thoughts

Pai Gow Poker is not just a game of mere chance but a complex and engaging activity that requires strategic thinking and a deep understanding of its mechanics, including RTP.

By embracing the strategic elements of the game and leveraging the opportunities presented by various casinos, players can transform their Pai Gow Poker experience into a more rewarding and enjoyable endeavor.

Daniel White

Daniel White, based in London, UK, serves as the dynamic Editor-in-Chief at With a sharp eye for detail and a deep understanding of the online casino industry, Daniel specializes in RTP analytics and player-focused content. His leadership has transformed the site into a go-to resource for players seeking the most rewarding online gaming experiences in Europe and beyond.