House Ways

At our Las Vegas dealer school, Gold Star School of Gaming, we train hundreds of students to be Pai Gow Poker dealers every year.  One of the initial steps to effective dealing is to learn the house ways.  Every casino has their own variation on the house ways. Below are the standard house ways we teach at our dealing school for setting hands in Pai Gow Poker:

  • No pair: Play the highest card in the back and the next two highest in the front.
  • One pair: Play the pair in back and the next two highest cards in the front.
  • Three pair: Play the highest pair in front.
  • Three of a kind: Play three of a kind in back.  If three aces, split them.
  • Three of a kind twice: Play lowest trips in the back and highest pair in front.
  • Straights, flushes, straight flushes, and royal flush:
    • With no pair: Play the way that will allow the highest two cards in front.
    • With one pair: Play pair in the front if a straight or flush can be maintained in back.  If pair is 10’s+ and you have an ace, play pair/ace.
  • Full house: Play the three of a kind in back and pair up front.  If the full house includes a pair of twos and kickers are A-K, keep full house together.
  • Full house with three of a kind and two pairs: Play the highest pair in front.
  • Four of a kind: Play according to the rank of the four of a kind:
    • 2-6: Always keep together.
    • 7-10: Split unless an ace or better can be played in front.
    • J-A: Always split.
  • Four of a kind and a pair: Play pair in front.
  • Four of a kind and three of a kind: Play pair in front from the three of a kind.
  • Five aces: Split aces and play three aces in back and two aces in front.  If you have five aces and a pair of kings, then play five aces in back and kings in front.


Pai Gow Poker Two Pair Rule: Most casino house ways are standard, but they vary their “two pair” rule, and it typically trumps other rules.  If the dealer has a straight, flush, or straight flush and two pair, the dealer will play the two pair rule, unless, of course the dealer can maintain a pair in front while playing the straight, flush, or straight flush.

Gold Star School of Gaming Standard Two Pair Rule

Low Pair: 2’s – 6’s

Medium Pair: 7’s – 10’s

High Pair: J – K

Low, Med:Split, unless you have an Ace in the low hand
Low, High: Split, unless you have an Ace in the low hand
Med, Med: Split, unless you have an Ace in the low hand
If you have a pair of aces and any other pair, ALWAYS SPLIT.