Three Card Poker is unlike most poker variants in that it is basically two distinct games in one, â€śPair Plusâ€ť and â€śAnte & Play.â€ť Players may bet one or both, and may vary the size of each wager independent of the other.
Rules for Pair Plus
The simpler of the two game, Pair Plus involves no real skill and you donâ€™t even have to beat the dealerâ€™s handâ€”itâ€™s simply a question of whether or not you get dealt winning cards. To play, simply make a wager in the Pair Plus field and examine your three cards. Winning hands and their payouts include:
Basic Pair Plus Payout Schedule
Straight Flush 40-1
Three of a Kind 30-1
Notice how the value of certain hands differs from that of traditional poker. Most notably is that a straight is superior to a flush. This is because a flush, with a probability of appearing 4.95% of the time is greater than a straight (and hence easier to get) which only appears in 3.25% of all hands dealt.
Rules for Ante & Play
The second game in Three Card Poker is only slightly more challenging than the Pair Plus game. The game begins when a player places an ante wager and, like the dealer, is dealt three cards. The player next looks at those cards and decides whether to fold or raise by putting a second bet in designated the â€śPlayâ€ť area. If the player folds, he/she loses all bets made, including any â€śPair Plusâ€ť wager. If the player raised, action then goes to the dealer who must now expose his cards. The two hands are then compared. The rules involved in deciding the winner are as follows:
â€˘ The dealer must have a minimum hand of Q-X-X in order to qualify.
â€˘ If the dealer doesnâ€™t qualify, the ante bet is paid off at 1-1. The Play bet is then returned to the player.
â€˘ If the dealerâ€™s hand qualifies, but player wins, both Ante bet and Play bet are paid off at 1-1.
â€˘ If the dealerâ€™s hand qualifies and wins, the player loses both Play and Ante wagers.
â€˘ If the dealerâ€™s hand qualifies but the player and dealer tie, both Ante and Play wagers remain unaffected (push).
In addition to the above results, the Ante bet has a special bonus that is independent of the dealerâ€™s hand. An example of a typical payout schedule for the ante bonus is:
Three Card Basic Poker Ante Bonus
Straight Flush 5-1
Three of a Kind 4-1
Variations on a Theme
Three Card Poker, (aka Poker Three and Tri-Card Poker in online venues) has suffered the same fate as so many other games before it: tougher payout schedules being developed by both land-based and online casinos.
Three Card Poker Alternative Pair Plus Payout Schedules
Table 1 – Table 2 – Table 3 – Table 4
Straight Flush 40-1 40-1 35-1 35-1
Three of a Kind 25-1 30-1 25-1 25-1
Straight 6-1 5-1 6-1 5-1
Flush 4-1 4-1 4-1 4-1
Pair 1-1 1-1 1-1 1-1
And for the Ante Bonus:
Three Card Poker Alternative Ante Bonus Payout Schedules
Table 1- Table 2 -Table 3
Straight Flush 5-1 4-1 3-1
Three of a Kind 3-1 3-1 2-
Straight 1-1 1-1 1-1
While itâ€™s unfortunate that practicality dictates that I canâ€™t list every single table game and every minute deviation, the ones that Iâ€™ve included here represent those that currently show the most variation in the online gambling arena.
Do you have a comment or question about this article?
Look for your question to be answered in either Casino Player or Strictly Slots Magazines.