Pai Gow is played with a set of 32 tiles resembling dominoes. The tiles are ranked in value based on Chinese mythology, and the order will likely seem arbitrary to many newcomers. However, once you’ve familiarised yourself with the value of different tiles the rest of the rules will quickly fall into place.

The goal

The goal of Pai Gow is to set your four tiles into two hands of two, and have each pair be worth more than the Dealer’s.

How to play

  1. After placing their bets, each player, including the Dealer, receives four tiles.
  2. Players arrange their tiles into two hands of two. This is your High Hand and Low Hand.

Arranging tiles

See the accompanying tables below for a full list of rankings.

  1. The strongest hands are Pairs. These are ranked from Gee Jun down to 5’s.
  2. After the Pairs are Wongs, Gongs and High 9’s. These are made by a 12 or a 2 paired with any
    9, 8 or 7 respectively.
  3. If you can’t make the above, it is simply a matter of adding together the dots for the highest total.
  4. The closer to 9 the better and you drop the 10 from your total (eg. 7 and 5 is 2, not 12).

Winning and losing

  1. If both of your hands are higher than the Dealer’s you win.
  2. If both your hands are lower you lose.
  3. If you have one higher and one lower you standoff and neither player wins.
  4. All winning bets are paid at even odds, minus 5%.

Hand Setting Checklist

Perfect Pairs is an optional side bet for players. To win, your first two cards just have to be a pair!

1. Always play any Pairs
2. Play the High 9, Gong or Wong
3. Play your 2 hands as close together as possible (eg play 5-5 rather than 1-9)

Tile rankings




This is a 2 or 12 tile with any 9 tile.



This is a 2 or 12 tile with any 8 tile.


High Nine

This is a 2 or 12 tile with any 7 tile.