Invented in 1994 by Derek Webb, Three Card Poker has been a hit with the gambling community ever since. As the name would suggest, each player uses three cards in order to assemble a hand and hopefully best the dealer. In this variant of poker, players play against the dealer instead of against each other.
Three card poker is a popular casino table game played at most every casino. It is a deceivingly simple game with a basic strategy and relatively low house edge.
Three Card Poker is played with a standard 52 card deck at a special table in the casino. From lowest to highest ranking, the hands are: single high card, pair, flush, straight, three of a kind and straight flush.
• Single High Card – Simply put, this hand has three different, nonconsecutive ranks of different suits. The player with the highest card would win this hand, assuming the other player does not have higher ranking hand. If the player’s highest cards are the same, then the player with next highest card wins.
• Pair – Two cards of the same rank and one of a different rank.
• Flush – three cards, each with the same suit. If two players have a flush, then the player with the single highest card wins.
• Straight – Three mixed suit, consecutive cards. Aces can count either as a low or high card. Again, if two players have a straight, then the player with the highest card wins.
• Three of a kind – Three cards with exactly the same rank, if two players have three of a kind hands, then the player with the highest card wins.
• Straight Flush – Three consecutive cards of similar rank.
Types of bets and game play
The two type of bets used in the Three Card Poker are the Ante, and the Pair Plus. You can bet on one of the two options, or both. The Ante is a competitive bet, in which a player is betting against the hand of the dealer. After this, three cards are dealt to the dealer and each player who made an ante bet. The player must then view his or her cards and either make a play bet, or fold. A play bet is when a player bets an additional equal amount to the ante after viewing his or her cards. On the other hand, a fold, is when a player decides to stop playing, thus forfeiting his or her ante and any additional bets made. Following the play bet, the dealers hand is shown and the game is on.
• If the dealer does not have a single high card of a Queen or better, then by casino rules he or she does not qualify and each player is paid 1 to 1 on their ante and all other bets are returned.
• If the player’s hand is worse than the dealer’s hand, then all bets made are lost.
• If the player’s hand is better than the dealer’s hand, then the player is paid 1 to 1 on the ante and any play bets made.
• If the player’s hand is equal to the dealer’s hand, then the player is given back his or her ante and play bets.
• If a player’s hand is a straight or better, they will receive an additional bonus.
o 1 to 1 for a straight
o 4 to 1 for three of a kind
o 5 to 1 for a straight flush
The Pair Plus wager is a side bet, in which the player is betting that they will obtain a hand equal to, or better than a pair. This bet is paid on a pay scale as follows.
• Pair – 1 to 1
• Flush – 4 to 1
• Straight – 6 to 1
• Three of a kind – 30 to 1
• Straight flush – 40 to 1
As with all casino games, the dealer has a clear advantage by not being able to “qualify” without having at least a queen high. However, there is a simple strategy to attempt to overcome this, fold on all hands that do not yield a queen high or better. The most common wager strategy is to bet equal amounts on both the ante and pair plus wagers. Another common wager strategy is to double the amount of wager on either the ante or pair plus wagers. Both of these strategies attempt to ensure that the player comes out equal, however, this can never be guaranteed.
Three Card Poker is a popular game played in casinos and homes alike. With simple rules and strategies it is a game most anyone can pick up and quickly enjoy. Other variations, such as online Three Card Poker do exist, however internet gambling rules and casinos are often times exceedingly confusing. As with all card games, gamble responsibly and above all, have fun.