ULTIMATE THREE CARD POKER Instead of a side bet, Ultimate Three Card Poker is a game variation in which the play bet can be three times the ante instead of equal to the ante. There are both ante-play and Pair Plus options. Pair Plus is the same as in standard Three Card Poker. The poker 3 cards game is described as a poker-style casino game in which the player will play against the dealer. Besides, 3 card poker games use a 52 card deck, and three cards are offered to the player and the dealer. The three-card poker game’s main objective is to make a three-card poker hand better than the dealer’s hand. Three Card Poker, invented by Derek Webb in 1994, is the Poker version most people play when they head to their Casino. Three Card Poker isn't played against other players. Instead, you play. Three Card Poker is like getting two Las Vegas casino games in one. Not only can you play against the dealer, you can also win based on how good your cards are. The object of the game is to make the best poker hand possible with only three cards. How To Play 3 Card Poker. Three Card Poker relies on the traditional poker hand hierarchy to determine winners, but rather than five cards only three are needed. This means high-card (A-3-2) is the lowest qualifying hand, followed by one pair (9-9-2), flush (any three cards of the same suit), straight (6-7-8), three of a kind (9-9-9), straight flush (6-7-8 of the same.
Poker is one of the most popular card games in the world. Everyone knows the game – not everyone knows the rules. Poker conjures up particular imagery: people in smart clothes gathered around a smoky table, pushing stacks of chips around the table top.
Whether it’s the glitz and glam of a modern casino or the fabulous retro setting of a speakeasy or private club, poker is a game that’s familiar to the world.
But poker has a far richer history than that. It’s been a popular source of entertainment for soldiers during wars dating back to the American War for Independence. Over the years different variations have emerged, mainly in the mid-20th century, changing the number of cards used and the ways cards behave while retaining the hierarchy of winning hands.
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Let’s take a look at one of these – 3-card poker.
History of 3-card poker
3-card poker is a form of stud poker developed for speed by British inventor Derek Webb in 1994. Webb tried for years to get his new game into casinos, but many were unwilling to give him a try.
“I never intended to become a travelling salesman, but effectively, that’s what happens,” Webb said. “One of the challenges of inventing is that you have to wear multiple hats to make it work.”
Webb was eventually able to demonstrate how popular and profitable his new game would be, it spread to casinos everywhere. The UK even changed its gambling laws – as 3-card poker had previously been forbidden – bringing the game back to Webb’s home country.
3-card poker has also taken off online, with many online casinos offering it in their catalogue of games. Part of the appeal is that it is very easy to pick up, the only difference with more traditional forms of poker being that straights beat flushes, as the chances of getting three cards in a row are significantly smaller with this variation. 3-card poker also offers different ways to bet, providing players with more opportunities to win.
How to play 3-card poker
As a more simple version of traditional poker, it’s relatively easy to get your head around 3-card poker:
- Each player must decide how they want to bet. You can place either an ante wager or a pairs plus wager, or both if you want. The ante wager means that you are following a win strategy that pits your cards against the dealer.
- The dealer’s hand must score enough to qualify to play. There is no minimum for the player. This method of wagering has smaller, more frequent, returns and is great for people who want to play multiple games and have to patience to accrue winnings slowly. The pairs plus wager pays winnings based on the composition of your hand, regardless of what the dealer has. These are based on traditional poker hands, with the exception of a full house and four-of-a-kind.
- Three cards are dealt to each player. This includes the dealer. Unlike other forms of poker, players do not play against each other, only the dealer. There are no chances to discard or draw further cards.
- Those who have placed an ante bet look at their cards. They decide whether to place a further, identical play bet, or to fold the hand. Basic strategy suggests playing with any hand that has at least a queen as the high card.
- The cards are revealed. If the dealer does not have at least a queen high, they lose. All ante bets are paid at a 1:1 ratio, but the play bets are simply returned. This is because the dealer has not reached the minimum hand needed to qualify.
- Winnings are paid out. If the dealer has at least a queen high, then the pay-out depends on the players’ cards. If the player’s hand beats the dealer, then the ante and play bets are both paid 1:1. If not, both are lost. Often there are also bonus pay-outs if your hand has a straight flush, three-of-a-kind, or straight.
Something to note: pair plus bets don’t compare your hand to the dealer’s, they simply pay on a scale depending on what you have. So a pair receives a 1:1 win, and a straight flush pays at 40:1. These two betting options can be combined, allowing for greater chances to win and the possibility of greater returns on your bets – as one player recently discovered when winning $1 million at the Venetian.
Playing 3-card poker: online casino v land-based casino
Many popular casino chains offer 3-card poker tables, however smaller, independent casinos tend to stick to the more traditional forms. If you fancy giving it a go, then heading to an online casino is a great way to start.
Because 3-card poker is quick, easy and fast to play, it’s one of the increasing number of games offered with a live play option. Live play links you to a real dealer, live from the casino floor, via a high-quality video and audio stream. It brings the atmosphere and excitement of a real casino straight to your computer, or wherever you’re playing, through your mobile device.
The betting options are clearly displayed on your screen. This can remove a lot of the confusion when learning a new game, as you are given clear prompts when you need to do something.
While land-based casinos perhaps have more of an atmosphere, owing to the other players surrounding you and the look and feel of the interior, live poker brings the human element to the fore. That’s why we’d suggest playing 3 card poker online is ideal for players still getting their heads around the rules.
3-card poker is a fun, modern take on a traditional game because:
- It plays quickly, allowing you to take in multiple rounds, and with no need for complicated mathematics.
- Players don’t play against each other – making it an ideal game to play online.
- Winnings are frequent, although small, but the pairs plus bets offer great opportunities to win up to 40 times your original stake if luck is on your side.
As a gamer, it’s all too easy to stick with your tried-and-tested games – but sometimes it’s well worth getting out of your comfort zone and trying something new. As a popular game with familiar rules to poker players, 3 card poker could become your new favourite casino game.
A hybrid table game popularized in 1994, Three Card Poker incorporates elements of poker and blackjack to form an exciting, fast paced contest between players and a house dealer.
The mechanics of Three Card Poker are simple and easy to pick up for anybody who has ever dabbled in either poker or blackjack. With two tiers of betting – the main ante and play bets along with the Pair Plus and other bonuses – Three Card Poker offers multiple forms of action on every hand. Even better, the big bonus payouts awarded for qualifying high hands like three of a kind or a straight flush can turn a casual game into an unforgettable score.
What Is 3 Card Poker Called
Every experienced gambler has that friend who winds up winning big on their first trip to Las Vegas or the local casino. And more often than not, those stories usually take place at a Three Card Poker table, where a few small side bets on the bonus and three perfect cards can combine for huge payouts.
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Three Card Poker Basics
The first action in a Three Card Poker hand is a mandatory bet known as the Ante. This wager must be made for a player to take a hand. Online casino debit card. After making the ante bet (along with the Pair Plus and other side bets, which will be explained below) players receive three cards, as does the dealer. The player’s cards may be exposed at this point, but the dealer’s hand remains face down.
Three Card Poker relies on the traditional poker hand hierarchy to determine winners, but rather than five cards only three are needed. This means high-card (A-3-2) is the lowest qualifying hand, followed by one pair (9-9-2), flush (any three cards of the same suit), straight (6-7-8), three of a kind (9-9-9), straight flush (6-7-8 of the same suit), and in some casinos, the mini-Royal (A-K-Q of the same suit).
Remember, in traditional five card poker a flush beats a straight because the hand is slightly easier to make, and both hands beat three of a kind for the same reason. But things change in Three Card Poker, and the hand values are turned upside down.
With 52 combinations available to make three of a kind, this hand is actually nearly as difficult to make as a straight flush (48 combinations). The odds of making either hand stand at less than 1 percent, while a straight (3.2 percent) and flush (4.9 percent) are far easier to make.
Based on the strength of your hand, you can decide whether to match your Ante with an equal Play bet. If you have a weak hand and decline to play, you can fold and forfeit your ante and bonus bets. When you decide to post the Play bet the dealer will then expose their cards to determine a winner.
The dealer hand must be queen-high or better to qualify. When the dealer fails to produce a qualifying hand, your Ante bet is paid out at even money, while the Play bet is automatically returned as a push. When the dealer produces a qualifying hand it’s compared to each player hand and the highest hand is declared the winner. If your hand is better than the dealer’s, both your Ante and Play bets will be paid out at even money. Identical hands are deemed a push.
The game’s flair comes from the bonuses of course, and even if you don’t wager on the Pair Plus bonus, you can still enjoy a little extra juice on your money from time to time. Whenever a player hand makes a straight or better, it qualifies for an Ante Bonus, or an additional payout on top of the even money you get on the Ante and Play bets.
To top it off, even if the dealer somehow produces a superior hand, causing you to lose the Ante and Play bets, you recoup some of those losses because the Ante Bonus is awarded no matter what when you make a straight or better. There are a few Ante Bonus payout tables out there, but for the most part you’ll see 1 to 1 payouts on straights, 4 to 1 on flushes, and 5 to 1 on straight flushes. The house edge on this standard 5-4-1 pay table is 3.37 percent.
Bonus Side Bets in Three Card Poker
The other primary bet you can make in Three Card Poker is known as the Pair Plus bet. This can be anywhere from $1 on up, and making the bet entitles you to a sizable extra payout when you happen to make big hands.
The name Pair Plus comes from the fact that you need at least a pair to qualify, and while this pays out at even money, the real excitement comes from hitting a straight flush and its 40 to 1 payout. Three of a kind hands also pay out pretty nicely at 30 to 1, and many players enjoy grinding Three Card Poker with the express intent of spiking a big hand with a Pair Plus bet on the line.
The standard pay table used for Pair Plus bonus bets (40-30-6-4-1) offers a 2.32 percent house edge, but alternative Pair Plus pay tables like the 40-30-6-3-1 can be deceptive, while also increasing the house edge to 7.28 percent.
How To 3 Card Poker
In some cases you’ll find Three Card Poker tables that include the mini-Royal (A-K-Q of the same suit) on the Pair Plus pay table, and these pay out at 80 to one. The standard Pair Plus pay table with mini-Royals included (80-40-25-6-3-1) offers a 7.73 percent house edge.
Additionally, many casinos offer tables featuring progressive bonuses that pay out escalating jackpots that can run into the six- and even seven-figures. In order to hit these jackpots, players must make the additional side wager and make specific high hand; usually a mini-Royal in spades.
Finally, you may notice Three Card Poker tables advertising a Six Card Bonus, and this simply refers to the practice of combining your three cards with the dealer’s three cards, while making the best five-card poker hand possible. Five-card Royal Flushes trigger the jackpot on this special bonus bet.
The Strategy of Three Card Poker
What Is 3 Card Poker
Optimal strategy for Three Card Poker can be distilled into the simplest of formulas: when your hand strength equals queen-six-four or higher, you should always post the additional Play bet. When your hand strength equals anything lower than queen-six-four, you should fold and surrender your Ante and bonus bets. The reason for this is based on mathematical certainty, as queen-six-four represents the minimum hand you need to rate better than the dealer’s random three cards.
One thing about Three Card Poker to keep in mind is that your hand will beat the dealer’s hand 44.91 percent of the time, you’ll lose 55.03 percent of the time, and the rest of the hands will result in a chop. But by sticking to the queen-six-three threshold for matching the Ante bet, you’ll stand to lose 8.26 percent of your Ante bet, but your win rate on the Play bet will jump to 5.29 percent.
What Are The Rules For 3 Card Poker
Some players advocate a strategy based on replicating the dealer’s action, or in other words, raising on any hand queen-high or better. Gambling experts have determined that this is a serviceable strategy overall, lowering the house edge to 3.45 percent as opposed to 7.65 percent when playing by instinct alone. Overall though, the queen-six-four strategy lowers the house edge more than any other, and using this as a minimum hand with which to raise will save you money over the long run.