Pai Gow Dominoes

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Do you prefer playing Pai Gow Tiles or Pai Gow Poker? Pai Gow Tiles is played with dominoes and Pai Gow Poker is played with playing cards. Pai Gow tile is slow in comparison to Pai Gow Poker. But playing with tiles has its own charm, uniqueness and experience. Here you will find the hand rankings of Pai Gow Tiles and Pai Gow Poker.

Pai Gow Tile

Recall the Basics

(Pai Gow is Cantonese; Pai Jo is Mandarin; aka Pai Kow) This gambling game is an ancient Chinese or Korean domino game that has become very popular in quite a few Nevada, U.S., casinos. Additional equipment needed: 3 dice to be thrown at the beginning of the game to determine the deal) and a number of chips of varying shapes denoting different. Pai Gow is a gambling game played with Chinese dominoes. The set consists of all pairs of numbers from 1-1 to 6-6, with the following eleven tiles duplicated: 6-6, 6-5, 6-4, 6-1, 5-5, 5-1, 4-4, 3-3, 3-1, 2-2, 1-1. There are 32 tiles in all. Pai is the Cantonese word for a tile or card and Gow is the number nine. Although Pai Gow was invented in Ancient China, its popularity has spread worldwide. If you didn’t find your set of dominoes yet then never fear! Nowadays the game can be found on numerous casino sites, with online Pai Gow and Pai Gow Poker being particularly popular in Malaysia. Pai Gow was originally a game played with a set of 32.

Before you understand the rules and hand ranking just recall the Pai Gow Tile game. There are 32 dominoes used in Pai Gow, which are mixed or shuffled by the House Supervisor. The dominoes are placed in eight stacks of four each. The Player/Dealer and up to seven players are dealt one stack (four dominoes). The object of the game is to set the dominoes into two hands (front and back, two dominoes per hand) for the best ranking combination. If they are lower, the Player/Dealer wins. When the Player/Dealer and players have the same ranking combinations, the Player/Dealer is the winner.

Rules Of Pai Gow Tiles

  • The game is played with 32 dominoes, each with two sets of dots. Some dominoes, such as the 3:6 and 2:5 (“top:bottom” format), appear only once. Others, such the 6:6 and 1:5 appear twice. Even though some dots are red while others are white, the color is irrelevant.
  • The goal of Pai Gow Tiles is identical to the goal for Pai Gow Poker: to beat the dealer (or technically, the banker when the dealer isn’t banking).
  • At the beginning of a hand, the banker will mix the 32 dominoes and arrange them in 8 stacks of 4.
  • The players (up to 7 besides the banker) will choose their bets.
  • Then, dice are rolled to determine the distribution of the 8 stacks of tiles – each player receives 1 stack.
  • Your job is to arrange your 4 tiles into two hands. Each hand will contain 2 tiles. Each tile (or domino) has a value based on its two sets of dots.
  • If both of your hands beat the banker’s hands, you’ll win and your bet is paid even money.
  • If both of your hands lose against the banker’s hands, you’ll lose your bet.
  • If you win one hand while the other hand loses, you’ll push and your bet is returned to you.
  • If you win both hands, the banker will collect 5% of your winnings as a commission. This is one of the reasons it’s an advantage to act as the banker.

Hand Rankings

Hand values are calculated by adding the dots on the dominoes and dropping the tens place. As an example a hand comprised of 3:4 and 4:5 would be scored as “6”. Here’s the math: 3:4 equals 7 and 4:5 equals 9. 7 plus 9 equals 16. Drop the tens place digit and you’re left with 6.
A nine is the best hand possible (with a few exceptions )

Days, Teens, Gongs, and Wongs

A 1:1 tile is called a Day.
A 6:6 tile is called a Teen.
If you pair up either of them with an eight (i.e. 2:6, 3:5, 4:4, etc.), the resulting value is 10, not zero. The hand is called a Gong and outranks a nine.
If you pair up either with a nine (i.e. 3:6, 4:5, etc.), the resulting value is eleven, not one. The hand is called a Wong. It too, outranks a nine.
A 1:2 tile and a 2:4 tile are both known as Gee Joon tiles. They can represent a value of 3 or 6, depending upon which yields the best score. For example, suppose that you have a 1:2 tile paired with a 4:5 tile. Normally, with the 1:2 tile representing 3, the hand would be scored as 2 (3 plus 9 equals 12, drop the tens place digit). However, because the 1:2 is a Gee Joon, it can represent 6, giving the hand a score of 5 (6 plus 9 equals 15, drop the tens place).

The Pairs

Among the 32 Pai Gow Tiles, there are 16 possible pairs (as example, a hand comprised of a 2:3 tile and a 1:4 tile). A pair always beats a non-pair hand, regardless of the dots. The ranking of pairs is as follows, starting from the highest score to the lowest score:

  • 1:2 and 2:4
  • 6:6 and 6:6
  • 1:1 and 1:1
  • 4:4 and 4:4
  • 1:3 and 1:3
  • 5:5 and 5:5
  • 2:2 and 2:2 (vertical)
  • 2:2 and 2:2 (horizontal)
  • 5:6 and 5:6
  • 4:6 and 4:6
  • 1:6 and 1:6
  • 1:5 and 1:5
  • 4:5 and 3:6
  • 2:6 and 3:5
  • 3:4 and 2:5
  • 2:5 and 1:4

Pai Gow Poker Hand Rankings

Most Pai Gow Poker hands are ranked according to traditional poker rules. You’ll remember that the game is played by splitting 7 cards into two separate hands: a 2-card hand and a 5-card hand.

  • The 2-card hand- The best hand you can have is a pair of Aces (or an Ace and a joker). From there, pair rankings descend to a pair to 2’s. If your 2-card hand does not contain a pair, a high card wins. A pretty easy to rank your pai gow poker 2 card hand.
  • As you probably realize, flushes are irrelevant within your 2-card hand. In descending order of value
  • The best 5-card hand you can have is 4 Aces and a joker (which is the same as 5 Aces).
  • You can also have a royal flush, straight flush, four of a kind, full house flush, straight, 3 of a kind, two pairs, single pair and high card.
  • There is one notable exception to traditional poker rankings. Pai Gow Poker hand ranks distinguish an Ace-K-Q-J-10 as a higher-ranking straight than an Ace-2-3-4-5. From there, the highest card of a straight determines its value. For example, a Q-J-10-9-8 outranks a 9-8-7-6-5.
  • Five Aces – A-A-A-A-Joker
  • Royal Flush – 10-J-Q-K-A of the same suit
  • Straight Flush – Five cards of the same suit ranked in order (for example, 5-6-7-8-9 of clubs)
  • Four-of-a-kind – Four cards of the same rank (for example, 7-7-7-7) The highest-ranked cards would win should the dealer and player both have four-of-a-kind.
  • Full House – Three-of-a-kind and one pair. Ties are broken by the highest-ranking three-of-a-kind (for example, Q-Q-Q-7-7 beats a J-J-J-10-10)
  • Flush – Five cards in the same suit, regardless of ranking (for example, 3-6-8-10-J of diamonds)
  • Straight – Five cards of different suits ranked in order (for example, 5 hearts – 6 clubs – 7 diamonds – 8 hearts – 9 spades)
  • Three-of-a-kind – Three cards of the same ranking (for example, 5-5-5)
  • Two Pair – Two sets of pairs (for example, 10-10 and 4-4)
  • One Pair – Two cards of the same ranking (for example, 3-3)
  • High Card – If no one has at least a pair, then the highest-ranking card wins (for example, A-10-5-4-2 beats Q-10-7-4-2)

How To Play Pai Gow Dominoes

Some Pai Gow Poker Examples

If you are dealt an Ace of Hearts, Joker, Queen of Hearts, 9 of Clubs, 10 of Clubs, Queen of Diamonds and King of Hearts, here are some hands to think about:

  • Highest hand: A/Hearts-Joker-Q/Hearts-Q/Diamonds-9/Clubs (Two Pairs)
    Second highest: K/Hearts-10/Clubs (High Cards). With this example, the chances of beating the dealer’s highest hand are great, but maybe not the second-highest hand. This results in a push, or tie, which extends your playing time.
  • Highest hand: A/Hearts-Joker-9/Clubs-10/Clubs-K/Hearts (One Pair)
    Second highest: Q/Hearts-Q/Diamonds (One Pair). With this example, the highest hand would probably not beat the dealer’s, but the second-highest hand probably would. Again, another push, but nothing lost.
  • Highest hand: 9/Clubs-10/Clubs-Joker-Q/Diamonds-K/Hearts (Straight)
    Second highest: Q/Hearts-A/Hearts (High cards). The Straight would almost certainly win, and there is a good chance that a Queen and Ace as the high cards would beat what the dealer has for the second highest hand.

You need to compare both of your hands to both of the dealer’s hands to determine whether you’ve won, lost, or pushed.

(Redirected from Chinese domino)
A set of Chinese dominoes

Chinese dominoes are used in several tile-based games, namely, tien gow, pai gow, tiu u and kap tai shap. In Cantonese they are called gwat pai (骨牌), which literally means 'bone tiles'; it is also the name of a northern Chinese game, where the rules are quite different from the southern Chinese version of Tien Gow.


Ming author Xie Zhaozhe (1567–1624) records the legend of dominoes having been presented to SongEmperor Huizong in 1112. However the contemporary Li Qingzhao (1084 – c. 1155) made no mention of dominoes in her compendium of games. The oldest confirmed written mention of dominoes in China comes from the Former Events in Wulin (i.e. the capital Hangzhou) written by the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368) author Zhou Mi (1232–1298), who listed 'pupai' (gambling plaques or dominoes) as well as dice as items sold by peddlers during the reign of Song Emperor Xiaozong (r. 1162–1189).[1] Andrew Lo asserts that Zhou Mi meant dominoes when referring to pupai, since the Ming author Lu Rong (1436–1494) explicitly defined pupai as dominoes (in regards to a story of a suitor who won a maiden's hand by drawing out four winning pupai from a set).[1] Tiles dating from the 12th to 14th centuries have survived. Unlike most modern tiles they are white with black and red pips.

During the Qing dynasty (1644-1912), the suits known as 'Chinese' and 'barbarian' were renamed to 'civil' and 'military' respectively to avoid offending the ruling Manchus.[2] Tiles with blank ends, like those found in Western 'double-six' dominoes, once existed during the 17th century. These games employed two sets of 'double-six' tiles. It is possible that these were the types of dominoes that made it to Europe the following century.[3]

Deck composition and ranking[edit]

Each tile pattern in the Chinese domino set is made up of the outcome of a throw of two six-sided dice. Each combination is only used once, so there are 21 unique possible patterns. Eleven of these 21 unique patterns are repeated to make a total of 32 tiles in a Chinese dominoes set. The tile set consists of 32 tiles in two 'suits' or groups called 'military' and 'civil'. There are no markings on the tiles to distinguish these suits; a player must simply remember which tiles belong to which group.

Pai Gow Dominoes Online

The tile set contains two each of eleven civil suit tiles (6-6, 1-1, 4-4, 1-3, 5-5, 3-3, 2-2, 5-6, 4-6, 1-6, 1-5) and one each of ten military suit tiles (3-6, 4-5; 2-6, 3-5; 2-5, 3-4; 2-4; 1-4, 2-3; 1-2). Each civil tile also has a Chinese name (and common rough translation to English): The 6-6 is tin ( heaven), 1-1 is dei ( earth), 4-4 is yan ( man), 1-3 is ngo ( goose or harmony), 5-5 is mui (plum flower), 3-3 is cheung ( long), 2-2 is ban ( board), 5-6 is fu ( hatchet), 4-6 is ping ( partition), 1-6 is tsat () (long leg seven), and 1-5 is luk () (big head six).

Play Pai Gow Dominoes

The civil tiles are ranked according to the Chinese cultural significance of the tile names, and must be memorized. The hendiatris of heaven, earth, and man (天地人) dates back for over two thousand years [4] while the harmony () of the three have been in dice and domino games since at least the Ming dynasty. Remembering the suits and rankings of the tiles is easier if one understands the Chinese names of the tiles and the symbolism behind them. Jessie rebhan. The military tiles are named and ranked according to the total points on the tiles. For example, the 'nines' (3-6 and 4-5) rank higher than the 'eights' (2-6 and 3-5).

The military tiles (since there is only one each) are also considered to be five mixed 'pairs' (for example, the 3-6 and 4-5 tiles 'match' because they have same total points and both in the military suit). Among the military tiles, individual tiles of the same pair (such as 1-4 and 2-3) rank equally. The 2-4 and 1-2 are an odd pair. They are the only tiles in the whole set that don't match other tiles in the normal sense. This pair when played together is considered a suit on its own, called the gi jun (至尊 supreme). It is the highest ranking pair in the game of Pai Gow, though the tiles rank low individually (in their normal order). When a tile of this pair is played individually in the game of Tien Gow, each takes its regular ranking among other military suit tiles according to the total points. The rankings of the individual tiles are similar in most games. However, the ranking of combination tiles is slightly different in Pai Gow and Tien Gow.

Mexican Train Domino Game Set

Using the same coloring scheme of the traditional Chinese dice, every half-domino with 1 or 4 pips has those pips colored red (for example, the 4-5 domino has four red pips and five white pips). The only exception is the pair of 6-6 tiles. Half of the pips on the 6-6 domino are colored red to make them stand out as the top ranking tiles.

There are also sets with where the tiles have Xiangqi characters next to the pips. As Xiangqi also has 32 pieces, these dual use sets can be used to play Giog. Variant sets include the Digging Flowers (挖花) game in which some tiles have flowers or frames printed on them while others have their values duplicated and may have mahjong type flower and blank tiles.

Bone Tiles game[edit]

Pai Gow Tiles Ranking

The eponymous game of Bone Tiles (gǔpái in Mandarin) is played in northern and central China and as far south as Hunan.[5][6] The name suggests that it is or became the default game played with dominoes in those regions. It is a trick-taking game similar to Tien Gow but has been simplified. In single-tile tricks, the civil and military suits have been merged into a single suit. In double-tile tricks, there is a new ranking order similar to Pai Gow. Triple-tile and quadruple-tile tricks are not allowed as in older versions of Tien Gow.[7] Scoring has been simplified to number of stacks won.


  1. ^ abLo, Andrew (2000) 'The Game of Leaves: An Inquiry into the Origin of Chinese Playing Cards'. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London , Vol 63-3 p. 401.
  2. ^Lo, Andrew (2003) 'Pan Zhiheng's 'Xu Yezi Pu' (Sequel to a Manual of Leaves)- Part 1.' The Playing-Card: Journal of the International Playing-Card Society, 31 (5). pp. 222.
  3. ^Lo, Andrew (2004) 'China's Passion for Pai: Playing Cards, Dominoes, and Mahjong.' In: Mackenzie, C. and Finkel, I., (eds.), Asian Games: The Art of Contest. New York: Asia Society, pp. 224.
  4. ^Chinese Text Project
  5. ^Celko, Joe; McLeod, John. 'Tien Gow'. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  6. ^Lai, C.P. A Chinese Domino Game: Tien Gow (天九 Heaven Nine) at CP's Conversation Pieces. Retrieved 6 April 2016.
  7. ^Lo, Andrew (2003). 'Pan Zhiheng's 'Xu Yezi Pu' - Part 2'. The Playing-Card. 31 (6): 281–284.

Pai Gow Dominoes

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