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Betting Three-Card Poker

30 January 2022

QUESTION: I have a question about Three Card Poker betting strategy. Currently I bet two units on the ante, two units on Pair Plus and two units on the Six-Card Bonus. Would it make more sense to bet three or four units on just the Pair Plus and Six-Card Bonus and forget about playing against the dealer?

ANSWER: My approach is to play against the dealer, usually skip Pair Plus and always skip the Six-Card Bonus.

The house edge on the ante-play portion of the game is 3.37 percent of your ante or 2.01 percent of your total action, once the bet after you've seen cards is taken into account. That assumes an ante bonus of 5:1 on a straight flush, 4:1 on three of a kind and 1:1 on a straight. Other pay tables are available. If those pays are reduced to 3, 2 and 1:1, edges are 4.28 percent of the ante and 2.56 percent of total action.

In Pair Plus, the most common pay table is 40:1 for a straight flush, 30:1 for three of a kind, 6:1 for a straight, 3:1 for a flush and 1:1 for a pair. The house edge is a whopping 7.28 percent, much higher than ante-play.

If you're lucky enough to find a table at the original pay table, which increases the flush return to 4:1, the edge drops to 2.32 percent. At that level, I like to play both Pair Plus and ante-play, but at the more common pay table, I skip Pair Plus.

The Six-Card Bonus has at least four available pay tables. Three top out at 1,000:1 for a royal flush while one pays 2,000:1. The bottom of the pay table is three of a kind, 5:1 on three pay tables and 7:1 on one.

At wizardofodds.com, Michael Shackelford calculates house edges ranging from 8.56 to 15.27 percent -- all higher than Pair Plus and all MUCH higher than ante-play.

It's understandable that players want to have a shot at the big bonanzas on rarer hands in Pair Plus and the Six Card Bonus. But there's a cost in high house edges that deplete bankrolls rapidly. Minimizing ante-play while maximizing the high-edge bets seems the wrong way around.


QUESTION: I'm curious about a note I saw online about the field bet in craps. It says the house edge is 5.56 percent if you're paid 2:1 on rolls of 2 or 12, but 2.78 percent if either 2 or 12 pays 3:1.
I get that. I've seen tables that pay 2:1 on both, and I've seen tables that pay 3:1 on 12. I haven't seen 3:1 on 2 but I can see it would work the same way as 12.

What I don't get is that it also says the house edge is zero if 2 and 12 both pay 3:1. No doubt the math works that way, but why bother with that note? Nobody is going to put a no-edge bet on the table, are they?

ANSWER: I know of no one currently paying 3:1 on both 2 and 12 on the field, but I have seen it.
In the late 1990s at Harrah's in Joliet, Illinois, that generous version of the field was offered. I played to check it out. For half an hour, I bet nothing but the field and wound up winning $75. There were seven other players, but none of them ever made that bet.

It was intended to generate interest and attract new players to craps, but the option was gone within a few months.
John Grochowski

John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

Winning Tips for Casino Games

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski