With the phenomenal popularity of poker online and off, it follows that the game of 3-Card Poker is a choice that many casino players are exploring. In this article, the rules and strategies are explained to assist in the play of this fun game.
3-Card Poker is played at a table similar to blackjack and the goal is to make the best hand from three cards with no draws or wild cards. Below are the five possible winning hands:
Pair - two cards of the same rank
Flush - any three cards of the same suit
Straight - three cards in consecutive order, regardless of suit, e.g., (6, 7, 8)
Three of a Kind - three cards of the same rank
Straight Flush - three cards in consecutive order, the same suit, e.g., (8, 9, 10)
There are three betting areas in front of you: Ante, Play and Pair Plus. Your choices include 1) only the Ante or 2) only Pair Plus or 3) both. Cards are dealt from a continuous shuffle machine utilizing a single deck and each player receives three cards.The dealer must have a Queen or higher in order that the game ‘qualifies’ otherwise all bets are returned.
Ante Bet: After the Ante bet is placed and cards dealt, a decision is made as to whether you want to continue play against the dealer.
Play Bet: To continue, you put your cards face down in the Play box directly in front of you and match your Ante bet. Beating the dealer’s hand receives a 1 to 1 payout.
However, there are generous payouts for the following hands with this bet.
Straight Flush: 5 to 1
Three of a Kind: 4 to 1
Straight: 1 to 1
To stop play and fold, toss your cards towards center face down. You then lose your Ante Bet. In addition, if the dealer's hand beats the player, the player loses both Ante and Play bets
Pair Plus Bet: you are betting on your own hand only and the payoffs are as follows:
Straight Flush: 40 to 1
Three of a Kind: 30 to 1
Straight: 6 to 1
Flush: 4 to 1
Pair: 1 to 1
If your bet is Pair Plus only, then you are paid for a pair or better regardless of the dealer’s hand as above. Otherwise, you lose your bet with the absence of a pair.
Once all betting choices have been made and cards dealt, the dealer then reveals his/her hand and pays accordingly.
Strategy: You should continue if your hand is Q-6-4 or better, otherwise fold. Selecting the better Game based on the Pair Plus payoffs is another important strategy. See the examples below that demonstrate a full-pay 3-Card Poker, (see Game 1), with a casino advantage of just 2.32%. This should definitely be your game of choice.
| Hand || Game 1 || Game 2 ||Game 3 ||Game 4 |
| Straight Flush || 40 to 1 || 35 to 1 ||40 to 1 ||40 to 1 |
| Three-of-a-Kind || 30 to 1 || 25 to 1 ||25 to 1 ||30 to 1 |
| Straight || 6 to 1 || 6 to 1 ||6 to 1 ||6 to 1 |
| Flush || 4 to 1 || 4 to 1 ||4 to 1 ||3 to 1 |
| Pair || 1 to 1 || 1 to 1 ||1 to 1 ||1 to 1 |
| Casino Advantage || 2.32% || 3.49% ||4.58% ||7.28% |
Until next we meet in cyberspace…
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