Dealer Qualifying in Casino Games

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What is Dealer Qualifying in Casino Poker Games?

royal flushThere are many poker games online where you’ll only win with some of your bets if ‘the dealer qualifies’. The dealer will have been deemed to have ‘qualified’ if their hand is ranked at a given level (for example Ace-King) or higher – the level of this minimum hand changing dependent on the poker variation.

In this article I start by looking at the process of dealer qualifying explaining the ante and the bet. I move on to look at three particular games which feature dealer qualifying and explain the rules of these. I finish with an overview of dealer qualifying.

What is Dealer Qualifying?

Online poker variations will normally start by placing an ‘ante’ bet, at which point you will be dealt your cards. Depending on the strength of your hand (or potential strength if the hand is not complete yet) you’ll have the choice of placing a ‘bet’ at this point. The hand will now play out.

You’ll win the ‘ante’ amount if you win the hand. However, you’ll only win the ‘bet’ amount if you win the hand AND the dealer’s hand qualifies – meaning that the dealer’s hand has to be of certain strength. If you win the hand but the dealer’s hand doesn’t qualify, the ‘bet’ will be considered a ‘push’.

If you lose the hand, you’ll lose both the ‘ante’ and the ‘bet’.

Dealer Qualifying in 3 Card Poker

three card pokerIn three card poker, you’ll place an initial ante. You’ll then see your own 3 cards, with the dealer’s cards face down. You’ll now choose whether or not to bet or fold – if you fold you’ll lose your ante. A bet will cost the same amount as the ante.

You’ll then compare your hand to the dealer’s hand. If your hand is better you have won the ante. If your hand is better and the dealer qualifies you’ll also win your bet – in 3 card poker the dealer is deemed to have qualified if their hand features a single Queen or more. The bet is considered a ‘push’ if your hand wins but the dealer’s hand doesn’t qualify. If the dealer’s hand is better, you’ll lose both the ante and the bet.

Dealer Qualifying in Casino Hold’em Poker

When playing casino hold’em you’ll place an initial ante. You’ll then see your two ‘hole’ cards as well as the three card flop – the dealers two ‘hole’ cards will be face down. At this point you’ll decide whether or not to proceed in the hand. If you decide to continue you’ll place a bet which is double the amount of the ante.

You’ll then compare your hand to the dealer’s hand. If your hand is better you’ll win the ante. If your hand is better and the dealer qualifies you’ll also win your bet amount – in casino hold’em the dealer is deemed to have qualified if their hand is a pair of fours or better. The bet is considered a ‘push’ if your hand wins but the dealer’s hand doesn’t qualify. If the dealer’s hand is better, you’ll lose both the ante and the bet.

Dealer Qualifying in Caribbean Stud Poker

When playing Caribbean Stud poker you’ll place an initial ante. You’ll then be dealt your five card hand and the dealer’s hand will be face down apart from just one card. You’ll now decide whether to either fold or bet. If deciding to bet this will cost double the size of the ante.

You’ll now see the rest of the dealer’s hand. If your hand is better you’ll win the ante. If your hand is better and the dealer qualifies you’ll also win your bet amount – in Caribbean Stud poker the dealer is deemed to have qualified if their hand has an Ace plus a King or higher. For example a hand such as A, K, 10, 7, 4 will qualify -  a hand such as A, 10, 8, 5, 2 will not qualify. Any hands of a pair or higher will of course qualify. The bet is considered a ‘push’ if your hand wins but the dealer’s hand doesn’t qualify. If the dealer’s hand is better, you’ll lose both the ante and the bet.

What happens when hands tie?

In all of the above casino poker variations, if both hands are equal then both the ante and the bet will be considered to be a push. It would be unusual to see equal hands in either 3 card poker or Caribbean Stud poker, however in casino hold’em it is much more likely, especially in the situations where the board makes a high ranked hand by itself.

Dealer qualifying – Overview

Understanding how ‘dealer qualifying’ works in casino poker is very important as it’s an integral part of the game – and has a huge effect on the strategy you should use whichever game you are playing. The ruling can be a bit strange at times, as on occasions you’ll be willing for the dealer to receive good cards (when you have a good made hand which is unlikely to be beaten for example) – however you’ll soon get used to the concept and you’ll find it adds another layer to the already exciting world of casino poker.

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