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Three Card Poker

16 January 2016

It seems poker is constantly being reinvented even as I write this. I’ve been able to find 120 different games of poker or at least that many games that are called poker, but I now have to add Three Card Poker to my list.

Players are discovering that Three Card Poker is not only easy to play, but it can be a lot of fun.

It is played with a single, standard deck of 52 cards. Like many other new table games, it is played on a half-round, blackjack-type table with up to seven players and one dealer.

The game is actually two games in one.

There is the Play-Ante game playing against the dealer to see who has the highest hand. There is also the Pair Plus game where you are wagering on whether or not you will be dealt a pair or better in this case you are playing the odds. Three Card Poker is a stud poker game, you play the cards you and the dealer get without any exchangeable or new cards after the deal.

Because only three cards are used to make up a hand, it’s important to review the ranking chart posted on the table felt.

There are three betting circles in front of each seat. The top betting circle is labeled Pair Plus where the player puts a wager on the pair plus game. Beneath that are two circles labeled Ante and Play for the base game. The game starts with the player making a wager in the Pair Plus and or Ante circle equal to the table minimum. After all the players have made their bets the dealer will give each player a three card hand that is dealt by the Shuffle Master machine. Play begins with the first player to the dealer’s left and continues clockwise around the table.

If a player has made a bet on the Ante he must make his decision to fold or play after looking at his hand. If the player folds he forfeits his Ante wager. If the player wants to continue he must make an additional bet in the Play circle equal to his Ante bet. After all the players have made their decisions, the dealer will turn over his three card hand. The dealer needs to “qualify” with a hand of queen or higher for play to continue.

If the dealer’s hand does not contain a queen or higher all players still active in the hand will be paid even money for their Ante wager and their bet on the Play will be returned to them.

If the dealer’s hand does qualify then their hand is compared to the player’s hand. If players hand beats the dealers hand he will be paid even money for his Ante and Play bets. If the dealer’s hand beats the players hand he loses both bets. In the rare event of a tie then the player wins the hand.

The strategy for Ante portion of Three Card Poker is very simple.

The player should fold if he has a hand lower than Q–6-4 and continue and make the Play bet if the hand is higher. To determine if the player's hand is better than Q-6-4 start with the first highest card and compare it to the queen. If it is a queen or higher then continue to play. The player can ignore the other two cards. If the player's first card is a queen and the second card is higher than 6 the player would still play regardless of the ranking of the third card. If it is lower than 6 don’t play.

Much of the popularity of the game comes from the simplicity of it. Since the player is not playing against the other players, it is similar to blackjack. Even camaraderie can develop among the players as they root for each other to beat the dealer.

Try the game next time you visit a casino; however, at first do it for low stakes until you learn all the rules and become proficient with the strategy.
Recent Articles
Best of John Marchel
John Marchel
John Marchel is an author, speaker, teacher and player -- what John plays are casino games. He’s been a casino player for over 25 years and has played successfully in Europe, Panama, the Caribbean, Canada, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, on Indian reservations, cruise ships and in over 350 casinos throughout the US. He is also the author of six books about gambling, and has written numerous magazine articles and is currently a columnist for three gambling magazines and one internet magazine.

Since 1988 John has combined his experience as a manager, teacher and player to present seminars and lectures about gambling. In addition, John has had an Internet website since 1995 that offers books, special reports and tips about gambling. He also publishes a monthly Internet gambling newsletter. The newsletter keeps subscribers alert to trends, information and winning techniques that allows them to be more successful when visiting casinos.

John Marchel Websites:

johnmarchelgambling.com

Books by John Marchel:

KISS Guide to Gambling

> More Books By John Marchel

John Marchel
John Marchel is an author, speaker, teacher and player -- what John plays are casino games. He’s been a casino player for over 25 years and has played successfully in Europe, Panama, the Caribbean, Canada, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, on Indian reservations, cruise ships and in over 350 casinos throughout the US. He is also the author of six books about gambling, and has written numerous magazine articles and is currently a columnist for three gambling magazines and one internet magazine.

Since 1988 John has combined his experience as a manager, teacher and player to present seminars and lectures about gambling. In addition, John has had an Internet website since 1995 that offers books, special reports and tips about gambling. He also publishes a monthly Internet gambling newsletter. The newsletter keeps subscribers alert to trends, information and winning techniques that allows them to be more successful when visiting casinos.

John Marchel Websites:

johnmarchelgambling.com

Books by John Marchel:

KISS Guide to Gambling

> More Books By John Marchel