Embarking on the journey of learning Face Up Pai Gow Poker can feel like stepping into a thrilling new world of strategy and luck. This exciting game variation offers a unique twist to the traditional Pai Gow Poker, making it an appealing option for both novices and seasoned players alike. Let’s dive into a beginner-friendly guide that will unveil the secrets of playing Face Up Pai Gow Poker, aiming to demystify its rules and strategies so you can confidently step into this entertaining arena.

Understanding the Basics of Face Up Pai Gow Poker

Before we delve into strategies and gameplay, it’s crucial to grasp the foundational elements of Face Up Pai Gow Poker. Unlike its classic counterpart, in this variation, the dealer’s cards are dealt face up, offering players a significant advantage. This tweak changes the dynamics of the game, influencing strategies and decision-making processes.

The Game Setup

  • Players: Played with up to six players and one dealer.
  • Deck: A standard 52-card deck with one joker, which can act as an ace or complete a straight or flush.
  • Objective: To create two winning poker hands out of seven cards dealt: a five-card “high” hand and a two-card “low” hand.

How to Play

  1. Players make a bet before any cards are dealt.
  2. Seven cards are dealt to each player and the dealer, with the dealer’s cards face up.
  3. Players then arrange their cards into two hands: the high hand (five cards) and the low hand (two cards).
  4. The player’s high hand must beat their low hand in ranking.
  5. Hands are then compared to the dealer’s hands to determine winners.

Strategies for Beginners

Knowing the dealer’s cards in advance provides a tantalizing edge in Face Up Pai Gow Poker, yet requires thoughtful strategy to maximize this benefit. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Focus on Balance: While the temptation might be great to stack your high hand, maintaining a strong low hand can often tip the balance in your favor.
  • Consider the Dealer’s Hand: Adjust your hand arrangement based on the dealer’s cards. Sometimes, going for a push (tie) is more strategic than playing for a win.
  • Beware of the Joker: Remember, the joker can be a game-changer. Use it wisely to complete a flush or straight in your high hand, if possible.

Money Management Tips

Effective money management is key to enjoying Face Up Pai Gow Poker without depleting your bankroll. Here are essential tips to keep your finances in check:

  • Set a Budget: Decide on a loss limit and a win goal before you start playing. Stick to these limits religiously.
  • Be Cautious with Side Bets: They may seem tempting, but side bets often carry a higher house edge. Weigh their cost against their entertainment value carefully.
  • Slow Down: The beauty of Pai Gow Poker lies in its slow pace. Take your time to think through your hands and enjoy the game without rushing. This also helps manage your bankroll by limiting the number of hands you play per hour.


Face Up Pai Gow Poker merges skill, strategy, and fortune into a captivating package that appeals to a wide array of players. By understanding the basics, employing smart strategies, and managing your money effectively, you’re setting yourself up for a rewarding experience at the tables. Remember, every session is a chance to learn more and refine your approach. Embrace the journey, and may your hands always work in your favor!

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