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Emperor’s Challenge at Spokane Tribe Casino

Poker is an exciting table game that brings everyone from absolute beginners to seasoned professionals together to try their hand at creating the perfect balance of strategy, bluff, and the chance to win big. Poker is such a popular game that it has spawned dozens of variations to give game lovers new and exciting ways to play and win.

Pai Gow is one such variation that is winning over new fans every day, and Emperor’s Challenge is a version of that game that provides unique betting options. Spokane Tribe Casino is pleased to offer Emperor’s Challenge among our table games, giving our guests even more ways to win big. Guests can enjoy the fun and high-stakes game while enjoying a comfortable environment with convenient amenities.


The rules of play for Emperor’s Challenge are the same for traditional Pai Gow poker, with differences emerging around betting options.

The table is set up for six players and one dealer. Cards are dealt from a standard 52-card deck plus one joker, for 53 cards total. Seven cards are dealt to each player and the dealer, leaving four cards remaining, which are set to the side and not used. All seats are dealt the seven cards, even if no player is sitting in the seat.

The cards that each player receives are divided into two hands: One containing two cards and one containing five cards. The two-card hand is known as the Low hand and the five-card hand is known as the High hand.

The object of the game is to beat both dealer’s Low and High hand to win. For the larger five-card hand, winning is based on typical poker rankings. Some exceptions are made, the combination A-2-3-4-5 (The Wheel) is considered the second-highest ranking straight.

If a player gets the joker, (The Bug) it can be played as a fifth Ace or as a “bug,” which means that it can be used to complete a straight or a flush. If it is played in the two-card hand, the joker is always used as an ace.

The highest possible five-card hand in the game is five aces, for the player who has the joker.

Players may sit wherever they choose and the order the cards are dealt in, is determined by a shake of the dice cup.


To win in Pai Gow poker, both player’s hands (Low and High) must beat both dealers’ hands.

If a player wins only one of the two hands, the hand pushes, or ties and does not win.

If the House beats the player on both Low and High hands, the House wins.


The rank on a player’s five-card hand must be greater than the rank on their two-card hand. A player can foul their hand by having a two-card hand that outranks the five-card hand. A player can also foul their hand by putting the wrong number of cards in each hand. In the case of a foul, the player will receive guidance from staff on how to properly set their hand. If a player continues to mis-set their hand, hands may be forfeited.


In Emperor’s Challenge there are bonus wagers available, including the Emperor’s Treasure Bonus and Pai Gow Insurance.

With the Emperor’s Treasure Bonus, a player wins if their seven-card hand triggers a qualifying event, such as a straight or better. The higher the hand, the more you win.

A ‘Pai Gow’ is a seven-card hand that has no pairs or better. Players may place a bet on Pai Gow Insurance which will pay them in the event this happens. The ace is always considered high, and the joker is always played as an ace. The lower the highest card, the more the player wins on the bet. Pai Gow Insurance is considered a side bet and it is optional.

Emperor’s Challenge also offers a progressive wager for all players. The winning amounts are displayed on a board by the table, and those amounts will be incremented after each hand if the bonus is played.


Spokane Tribe Casino is proud to offer the Emperor’s Challenge among our many other table games. We offer a variety of betting options to make the game more exciting, and we offer amenities throughout the casino to enhance your experience. You can pick up a delicious snack or meal, drink refreshing cocktails, or watch a sports game while you take a break from play. We provide a comprehensive entertainment experience with your fun and comfort in mind. Visit us today to play Emperor’s Challenge or one of our many other games.

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Problem Gambling Hotline

The Spokane Tribe of Indians seeks to provide a fun and safe entertainment environment. In an effort to promote responsible gaming, we would like to offer assistance to those in need of help for gambling-related problems.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, help is available. All calls are confidential. Please contact one of the following organizations if you have any questions or concerns:

•    National Council on Problem Gaming: 1-800-522-4700 or WWW.NCPGAMBLING.ORG

•    Evergreen Council on Problem Gaming: 1-800-547-6133 or WWW.EVERGREENCPG.ORG