Three Card Poker is different to any other variant of poker and one that has continued to grow in popularity over time with casino players all around the world.
The main difference is that this game is not played against other players at a table, but it is played against the dealer instead. This means bettors will only ever need to think about the cards that they have and the ones that the dealer has, rather than having to be concerned with a number of different other playing hands that are involved.
Three Card Poker is one of the easiest games to play and does not take too long to pick up and learn for those who do not have any idea about it. Here is a quick guide to help explain the rules and provide you with a typical strategy that can be used when playing this game at a casino.
How to play Three Card Poker
In order to start playing Three Card Poker, players will need to place a wager. There are two options available:
Ante bet – This is the bet that is placed against the dealer’s hand, with the objective of trying to obtain the highest hand possible in regards to poker rank.
Pair plus – This bet is where players will aim to make a hand of a pair or better with their hand. The dealer’s hand becomes irrelevant, but the house edge will increase significantly.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, players will receive a total of three playing cards, as will the dealer once the opening bet has been placed. Players can now look at the cards that they have been handed and choose whether to play or to fold.
If they choose to fold, the game will end with the dealer taking the initial bet, whilst playing the hand will require a “Play” bet to be wagered that matches the ante bet placed.
After the bet has been placed, the playing hands will be revealed by both the player and the dealer to reveal an outcome.
If the dealer’s hand is Jack-high or worse, then their hand will not qualify and players will receive their bets back.
If the dealer has a hand that is Queen-high or better, they will then play their hand which will then be ranked in comparison to the players. If the player wins, they will receive the equivalent to the bets they placed, on top of their initial stake. If they lose, they lose everything they wagered on that turn.
How do the hands rank?
It would be wise to know how the playing card hands rank before playing Three Card Poker. This is the following breakdown:
Straight Flush – 3 cards of the same suit and consecutive values
3 of a Kind – 3 cards that are the same value
Straight – 3 cards that increase consecutively
Flush – 3 cards of the same suit
Pair – a combination of 2 cards that have the same value.
High Card: this is where no sequences of the above can be formed, but a card such as a royal can help improve the hand.
Typically, the following payouts will be rewarded for the following hands:
Straight Flush: 5:1 (40:1 for Pair Plus betting)
Three of a Kind: 4:1 (30:1)
Straight: 1:1 (6:1)
To play Three Card Poker effectively, it would be worthwhile learning one particular strategy to ensure that you have the best chance of obtaining a win when playing against a casino dealer.
This strategy involves remembering just one combination of cards to base the decision that you will make when deciding whether to place a bet or fold.
If you have a hand that consists of a Queen, a Six and a Four or higher, then play. If you have anything else, then you should fold.
Another popular strategy that can be followed when playing Three Card Poker is to avoid using the Pair Plus bet that is available. As mentioned, although the payouts can be rather appealing if it is achieved, this bet will make the house edge increase significantly.