There are four types of Pai Gow Poker that are dealt in Las Vegas. Face Up Pai Gow Poker is the most popular. It entered the market in 2018. Today, about two out of every three Pai Gow Poker games in our Las Vegas Table Game Survey are this version.
Face Up Pai Gow Poker is faster and has a lower house edge than the other versions. The other two common Pai Gow Poker variants are Fortune and Emperor’s Challenge. The only other Pai Gow Poker game is a single no commission one in the locals market.
Where to play Pai Gow Poker in Las Vegas
The pandemic caused inflation to hit most of the $5 Pai Gow Poker games in Las Vegas. There are still a few in the locals market. The most common minimum bet is $10. It is $25 at most Las Vegas Strip casinos.
The list below is sorted by the expected minimum bet. The games are listed under that by Pai Gow Poker variant. The minimum bet may be higher during busy hours. Some casinos deal multiple versions of Pai Gow Poker.
Las Vegas Pai Gow Poker minimum bet
How to play Pai Gow Poker
A Pai Gow Poker game uses a 53-card deck that includes a joker. This card may be used to complete a straight, flush or straight flush. If it cannot be used for that purpose, it is an ace.
Players receive seven cards after making a bet that may include multiple optional side bets. The cards are split into a five-card low and two-card high hand. The five-card hand must beat the two-card hand. Once players have set hands, the house hand is exposed. The house has a set of rules it uses for its hands. Once set, it is compared to each player’s hand.
If the player’s five-card and two-card hands both beat the banker, the player is paid even money. There is a 5% commission in Emperor’s Challenge and Fortune Pai Gow Poker. If the banker’s two hands beat both player hands, the house wins. If the banker wins one, and the player wins the other, it is a push.
The banker wins all ties. This is called a copy in Pai Gow Poker. This is usually the house. However, players may bank at Emperor’s Challenge and Fortune Pai Gow Poker. The casino’s dealer becomes a player hand. The player banker is up against each player at the table. The house takes 5% of net winnings when a player banks. The player banker wins all copies just like the house usually does.
How Face Up Pai Gow is different from the traditional game
Face Up Pai Gow Poker turns a poker game into one of luck. It is best suited for players that do not want to worry about strategy and want to go after the jackpot and other side bets. There is no skill involved in Face Up Pai Gow Poker. The house sets its hand first. If it is an ace-high pai gow, meaning a hand with no pair or better, the house pushes all player hands. If the dealer does not push, the hand is set. The player’s hand is set by the dealer as he or she helps the player find the best hand.
Players may not bank in Face Up Pai Gow Poker.
No Commission Pai Gow Poker
No Commission Pai Gow Poker has one installation in Las Vegas. It is at Boulder Station. In our 2020 Las Vegas Table Game Survey, this game had just one install. It was at Fiesta Henderson. This game pushes all players when the dealer has a queen-high pai gow. We have never seen this table open at either casino so it is likely only available during peak hours. There is no player banking at No Commission Pai Gow Poker.
Las Vegas Pai Gow Poker FAQ
What is the minimum bet for Pai Gow Poker in Las Vegas?
Some locals casinos deal $5 Pai Gow Poker. It is typically $10 or $15 in downtown Las Vegas and $15 or $25 on the Strip.
What types of Pai Gow Poker are dealt in Las Vegas?
Emperor’s Challenge, Face Up, Fortune and No Commission are all Pai Gow Poker versions dealt in Las Vegas.
What is the most popular version of Pai Gow Poker in Las Vegas?
About two-thirds of Las Vegas tables for the game are Face Up Pai Gow Poker.
Can I bank at Pai Gow Poker in Las Vegas?
Emperor’s Challenge and Fortune Pai Gow Poker allow players to bank.
Is there a commission at Las Vegas Pai Gow Poker tables?
Emperor’s Challenge and Fortune Pai Gow Poker have a 5% commission. Face Up Pai Gow does not.
Why is there not a commission at Face Up Pai Gow Poker?
The dealer pushes all players with an ace-high pai gow. This offsets the commission and keeps change off the table.
Are there any video Pai Gow Poker machines in Las Vegas?
No. The last one was at Riviera. It was removed in 2011.