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Barona House Way


This is the house way used at the Barona casino, near San Diego. The Barona, like most casinos in California, treat the joker as fully wild in pai gow poker.


  1. Pai Gow (no pair or better): 2nd & 3rd highest cards in front.
  2. One pair: Pair in back, next highest 2 cards in front.
  3. Wild One Pair: 1st & 3rd highest cards in front.
  4. Two Pair:
    • High pair is A’s, K’s, Q’s: always play as Pair – pair
    • High pair is J’s, 10’s, 9’s: play as Pair - pair unless you have an Ace.
    • High pair is 8’s, 7’s, 6’s: play as Pair - pair unless you have K or Ace.
    • High pair is 5’s, 4’s, 3’s: Pair - pair unless you have QUEEN or higher
  5. Two-Pair plus joker plays as Pair - trips unless highest card is 3 pts.
  6. One Pair plus joker, plays as Pair – Pair
  7. Three pairs: always play highest pair in front.
  8. Three of a kind: Aces split 2 & 1; Kings and lower – never split.
  9. Two Three of a kind: Put pair from highest set in front.
  10. Three of a kind plus joker: plays as a pair in front, with trips in back.
  11. Straight, Flush, or Str. Flush: Best hand in front with Straight or flush.
  12. Straight, Flush, or Str. Flush with one pair: Same as above
  13. Straight, Flush, or Str. Flush with two pair: Play as two pair strategy.
  14. Full House: Pair in front, trips in back.
  15. Full house or Quads plus pair: Pair in front, full house (or quads) in back.
  16. Full house plus joker: Highest pair in front that will leave any full house or quads in back.
  17. Four of a kind:
    • A’s, K’s, Q’s Always split
    • J’s, 10’s, 9’s Split unless KING or higher
    • 8’s, 7’s, 6’s Split unless QUEEN or better
    • 5’s and below Never split


Exception: A COMPLETE hand in back WITH a PAIR in front supersedes other rules.



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