1. From a 53 card deck containing 1 joker, seven cards are dealt to seven hands. The extra 4 cards are counted and put aside.
  2. Each seven card hand is divided into a two-card hand and a five-card hand. The five-card hand must have a higher poker rank than the two-card hand.
    • A hand set with the two-card hand stronger than the five-card hand is a “foul hand” and automatically loses.
    • One pair is the best possible two-card hand; straights and flushes must contain five cards.
  3. Each player’s front hand (two-cards) is compared to the bank’s front hand. Their back hand (five-cards) is compared to the bank’s back hand:
    • Win: If both of the player’s hands rank higher than the bank’s, the player wins.
    • Lose: If both of the player’s hands rank lower than the bank’s, the player loses.
    • Push: If one hand ranks higher and the other ranks lower, the player keeps their money.
  4. Copy-Lose: When the player’s cards are the same rank as the bank’s cards, the player loses. In order for a copy-lose to apply in the back-hand all FIVE cards must copy.
    • Kickers: If only part of a hand copies, the next highest card, or the “kicker”, determines the winning hand. The highest possible kicker is an Ace.
      • The cards in a straight or flush are also known as kickers. A flush with an Ace kicker ranks higher than a flush with a King kicker, etc.
  5. Joker: Joker: At Cordova Restaurant Casino, the Joker is FULLY WILD and can be played in place of any card.


Action is determined by a dice cup containing three dice. The bank seat is counted as 1, 8, and 15 and action is counted clockwise. Each seat is counted, regardless of whether there is a bet. A “NO PLAY” button follows the bank; no bet can be placed there, and the spot is not counted for action.


  1. Once the hands have been delivered, players have the option of setting their hands themselves or having the dealer set it House Way after the bank hand is opened.  When a hand is played House Way, all seven cards are left in one pile on the table.
  2. After all hands have been set, the bank hand is opened and the banker makes a decision on how to play the hand.
  3. The player hands are compared to the bank hand one by one.
  4. Payouts proceed in a clockwise rotation, starting from Action.


  • Two-Card Hand (aka: “Hair”/“Top”/“Front”) – second highest-ranking hand
  • Five-Card Hand (aka: “Behind” or “Back Hand”)– highest-ranking hand
  • Jokers Wild vs. Non-Jokers Wild
    There are two different ways of playing the game of Pai Gow Poker:

    • In Joker’s Wild, the Joker can be used as ANY card.
    • In Non-Joker’s Wild a Joker can be used to complete a flush or straight, or as an Ace.
  • “Trips”- Three of a Kind [also used as an adjective, as in “trip 8s”]
  • Two Pair vs. Pair-Pair – When a hand contains two pair within the seven cards, there is an option for how to play the hand:
    • “Pair-Pair”- pair in the hair with a pair behind
    • “Two Pair Behind”- both pairs behind
  • Full House vs. Full House Behind:
    • “Full House”- pair on top with trips behind
    • “Full House Behind”- full house played behind
  • Complete Hand- Straight or better behind.