Many of the terms in our Pai Gow Poker glossary will be familiar to seasoned poker players, though some are endemic to this unusual poker game variation. If you want to keep your focus on what’s important—the cards—then we advise that you learn Pai Gow Poker terms prior to playing your first hand. Understanding the computer prompts and the conversation at the table will prevent confusion and keep you focused on your strategy.
If you’re totally new to poker, then we recommend actually printing our pocket Pai Gow Poker glossary so you can get familiar with Pai Gow Poker slang. We promise it’s a quick study—even for amateurs.
Abandon: When a player forfeits his hand and his ante after the deal.
Ante: The initial wagers that all players must make in order to play a Pai Gow Poker hands.
Banker: The dealer (or occasionally another player) in charge of dictating player movement.
Bet: Wager placed after the initial dealing of cards. Pai Gow Poker players have the option of competing for the pot by doubling their initial ante.
Betting Position: Determines the order in which each player places his bets. In Pai Gow Poker, betting starts with the banker and proceeds counter-clockwise (the dealer is usually established with a throw of the dice).
Big Hand: Of the two Pai Gow Poker hands, this is the five-card poker hand, also called the high, behind, or bottom hand.
Bug: This is the special term for the Joker used in a Pai Gow Poker deck. A bug always acts as an Ace unless it can be used as a wild to complete straight or flush combinations.
Dealer: A casino employee (or occasionally another player) that distributes the cards.
Deck: The 53 cards incorporated in a Pai Gow Poker game.
Dragon Hand: An optional feature wherein an empty chair is dealt a hand and players are given the option of betting that additional hand.
Flush: Five cards of the same suit.
Foul: When a player’s minor hand outranks his big hand. This results in forfeiture of the pot.
Four of a Kind: Four cards of the same value.
Full House: A hand combination comprised of three cards of the same value plus two additional matching cards.
Hand Rankings: The comparative value of each possible combination. The lowest hand in Pai Gow Poker is the high card, and the highest hand is the royal flush.
High Card: A hand without any other combinations. A high card is usually an Ace or King.
House Rules: The rules imposed by each individual casino. House rules determine penalties for fouled Pai Gow Poker hands and also determine how a casino banker sets his hand.
Joker: The extra face card added to a 52-card deck.
Minor Hand: Your two-card poker hand; also called the small, low, front, or on top hand
Pair: Two cards of the same value.
Player: Paying participants in a Pai Gow Poker game.
Push: A tie between a player and the dealer.
Rake: A commission that the casino charges against the pot for every hand.
Royal Flush: The five highest cards in one suit.
Split Pot: In the case of a tie between players, they will split the pot evenly.
Straight: Five cards of consecutive value.
Strategy: Purposely playing a certain way in hopes that it will increase your odds of winning.
Three of a Kind: Three cards of the same value.
Tie: Similar to a push, this occurs when two players have Pai Gow Poker hands of the same value.
Pai Gow Poker Glossary
Refer back to these Pai Gow Poker terms when you need to reacquaint yourself with Pai Gow Poker definitions and slang. We promise our Pai Gow Poker glossary is the most current and comprehensive representation of the language used in everyday online and on-land game play. If you want to learn Pai Gow Poker rules and strategy, visit our corresponding game pages. Good luck at the tables.