OBJECTIVE OF PAI GOW: The objective of Pai Gow is to beat the banker.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: Up to 8 players

MATERIALS: A 32-tile Chinese Domino set, chips or money, and a flat surface.

TYPE OF GAME: Betting Domino Game



Pai Gow is a betting domino game for up to 8 players. The goal of the game is to beat the banker with both pairs in your hand to win your bid.

Pai Gow is a betting game and should be played responsibly. If not playing at an established casino players can form a house or chose to have the banker as a player. Players should also establish bid amounts before the game, such as maximum, minimums, and standard bets.  


Each player will make their bid before being dealt their hands.

The tiles are shuffled and fixed into piles four tiles high with 8 piles side by side. The first player to receive their hand is determined randomly, often by a throw of 3 dice.

The house begins as the bank, but it may be passed to the other players. If a player refuses the option to be the bank it is passed to the next player in counterclockwise order.


Once each player has their hands, and the banker has been established, players move to making their pairs. Each player and the banker will have 4 tiles. With these tiles, they will create 2 pairs of tiles. These pairs will then be compared with the banker’s pairs. If both pairs a player holds beats the banker, then the player wins their bid. If neither pair beats either of the bankers, then the player loses their bid. When a player only has one pair that beats one of the banker’s pair then the bid is a draw, and the bet the player made is returned.


The rankings of Pai Gow are complicated to memorize. There is no numeric order to their ranking, and there is no way to know the ranking than to have them written or to memorize the pairings.

The highest-ranked pair is titled the Gee Joon, it is composed of the tiles [4-2] and [2-1]. These two tiles are special and are called the wild cards. They can be used when making pairs, as a 3 or a 6. 


Ranked next are the Bo pairs which contain tiles with the same total pips on each tile. The rank order of these are: Heaven ([6-6], [6-6]), Earth ([1-1], [1-1]), Man ([4-4], [4-4]), Goose ([3-1], [3-1]), Plum Flower ([5-5], [5-5]), Double Three ([3-3], [3-3]) Board ([2-2], [2-2]), Hatchet ([6-5], [6-5]), Red Ten ([6-4], [6-4]), Long Leg Seven ([6-1], [6-1]), Big Head Six ([5-1], [5-1]), Jaap Gow ([6-3], [5-4]), Jaap Bart ([6-2], [5-3]), Jaap Chut ([5-2], [4-3]), and Jaap Ng ([4-1], [3-2]).


After the Bo pairs, there are the Wongs. These consist of a nine-tile paired with a double 6 or double 1. Their ranks are: ([6-6], [6-3]), ([6-6], [5-4]), ([1-1], [6-3]), and ([1-1], [5-4]).


Following the Wongs are the Gongs. They consist of an 8-tile paired with a double 6 or double 1. Their ranks are: ([6-6], [6-2]), ([6-6], [5-3]), ([6-6], [4-4]), ([1-1], [6-2]), ([1-1], [5-3]) and ([1-1], [4-4]).


If none of the above apply, then total the pip value of your pair and drop the tens place. This is your pair’s score. For example, if your pair is ([6-1], [3-1]) you would count the pips of your tiles which results in 11. You drop the tens place leaving you with a score of 1 for your pair.

Tile Value

If there is still a tie for a pairing it moves to compare the rank of individual tiles. The tiles are ranked high to low in the following order. Teen [6-6], Day [1-1], Yun [4-4], Gor [3-1], Mooy [5-5], Chong [3-3], Bon [2-2], Foo [6-5], Ping [6-4], Tit [6-1], Look [5-1], Gow [6-3] and [5-4], Bot [6-2] and [5-3], Chut [6-1] and [5-2], Luk [4-2], Ng [4-1], Ng [3-2], and Saam [2-1].


After comparing pairs, the banker settles any bets. After bets are settled the tiles are collected and a new round is started.

Amber Crook
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