Everything You Need To Know About 3-Card Poker Games At Online Casinos
Three Card Poker is a fresh new game combining the game of poker with the speed and excitement of casino games. As familiarity with the game of poker has increased, along with the growth of internet casinos, so too has the popularity of this game grown. You can now find Three Card Poker spread in many live casinos and online rooms.
This guide will take you through all you need to know to start enjoying this game. First up you will find some of the history telling you where the game came from before being taken through the basics of the game. Three Card Poker is designed with many bonus pay-outs from the house and the first, as I explain, is the Ante Bonus which all players are entitled to. You can also find opportunity to place different side bets in the game, so the most popular two, the Pairs Plus and 6 Card Bonus bets are covered.
The History Of Three Card Poker
Three card poker was invented in England during the 1990s and has rapidly gained popularity since. Derek Webb, the inventor, took his original game Casino Brag to the British Casino Association in order to introduce it into casinos. His application was deemed not strong enough to justify a change regulations to accommodate the new game at the time so it was instead suggested that he pitched the game in the US in order to gain experience.
The game which became Three Card Poker, or Tri Poker on introduction to the US market, began to gain success with a series of smaller deals being made between Webb and US casinos. Eventually Shuffle Master brought the rights to the game in 1999 and its popularity began to spread worldwide.
How To Play Three Card Poker
Basic betting in Three Card Poker involves the placing of two bets – the ante bet and the play bet. In order to receive cards you must first place your ante bet, then three cards are dealt to yourself and the dealer face down. If you are on a table with other players they also receive three cards, however you are all playing against the house as you would on a blackjack table. Once the cards are dealt you choose whether or not to play your hand.
Three Card Poker rankings differ slightly to regular poker rankings, due to the odds differing with fewer cards. As with other poker games Aces can be high or low. From lowest to highest card rankings are:
- High Card – Judged by the highest ranking card when holding three different ranks which are not all the same suit.
- Pair – Two cards of the same rank. When the dealer and player both have the same pair the rank of the 3rd card (the kicker) decides the winner.
- Flush – Three cards of the same suit. When two flushes are compared the highest card rankings win.
- Straight – Three consecutive cards, not of the same suit. Higher straights beat lower straights.
- Three of a Kind – Three cards of the same rank.
- Straight Flush – Three consecutive cards all of the same suit. Higher straights win.
When deciding to play it is worth remembering the dealer can only play if their hand is Queen high or better. This makes King high and even the top end of Queen high hands playable. Should you choose not to play you can fold your hand face up on the table and the dealer will collect your ante bet. If you think your hand is playable you then place a Play bet. This should be of equal size to your Ante bet. The hands are then revealed.
If the dealer has lower than Queen high, you will win even money on your ante bet and the play bet will be a push, meaning it is returned to you. If the dealer does play your hands are compared and the highest ranking hand wins. Should you win you will receive even money on your play bet and at least the same on your ante bet. If the dealer wins the house collects all bets.
An ante bonus is an extra pay-out you can receive when you have a certain hand. This is paid whether or not the dealer wins, so even the dealer has a better hand and you lose your Ante and Play bets then you should still receive this bonus pay-out. It has been known for dealers to make the mistake of not paying out on ante bonuses when the player loses the hand so it pays to know when you are entitled to one.
Bonuses are paid out as follows:
- Straight = 1:1
- Three of a Kind = 4:1
- Straight Flush = 5:1
Side Bets In Three Card Poker
Like all table games there are an array of side bets available, the vast majority of which should be avoided. All of these promise large pay-outs although in reality they are all designed to increase the house’s edge. Because sometimes you might be feeling lucky or may find it fun to play with the promise of extra rewards, the two most common side bets are listed here.
Pair Plus – This bet can be found in any game of Three Card Poker and can also be placed instead of the Ante bet. Participation is not mandatory however so it has been classed as a side bet. A Pair Plus bet only wins if your hand ranks as a pair or higher. Even if the dealer beats you, winning your initial Ante and/or Play bets, you will still receive the following pay-outs:
- Pair = 1:1
- Flush = 4:1
- Straight = 6:1
- Three of a Kind = 30:1
- Straight Flush = 40:1
6 Card Bonus – A qualifying 6 Card Bonus bet can only be placed prior to the deal if an Ante bet is also in play. The bet pays out according to the best five card poker hand the three dealer cards and three player’s cards make. If there is no qualifying hand available then the wager is lost. There are different pay-outs available for this bonus, depending on which the casino supports, although all the information should be listed on the table. Typical pay-outs are:
- Three of a Kind = 5:1
- Straight = 10:1
- Flush = 20:1
- Full House = 25:1
- 4 of a Kind = 50:1
- Straight Flush = 200:1
- Royal Flush = 1000:1