It’s an Americanized version of Pai Gow originating from the Chinese dominoes game, Pai Gow. Also called, Double-hand poker, Pai Gow is played with a standard 52-card deck plus a single joker. The player plays against the banker for the top hand.
How to play Pai Gow Poker begins with a set of rules called the “house way” often online casinos offer players the option to let the cards be automatically arranged in this manner in some cases. Players making a wager, then seven cards are dealt and dice are rolled or a random number generator selects the first set of cards. The seven cards are arranged into two hands, one five-card hand and one two-card hand.
The usual poker hands apply to the five-card hand (High Hand) while pairs beat singletons and then individual ranks in the two-card hand (Low Hand). The High Hand must have a higher value than the Low Hand to qualify. Beat the banker with higher hands and win. The joker can be used to complete a straight, flush or straight flush; otherwise it is used as an ace.
Players are also allowed to play as the banker which is to their advantage as the dealer wins on copies and 5% commission is charged after losses are set against winnings. The player can only bank every 14 hands and has to have enough money to pay off the winning bets of the other players and dealer.