Three-Card Poker Strategy

Three-Card Poker Strategy

05 May 2009 | 10:59 Author: Casinotop10

In Three-Card, each player is dealt three cards from a standard 52-card deck. No additional cards are drawn after the initial three cards have been dealt to every player. The dealer also receives three cards (face down). That's how it all starts.

but let's take it from the beginning.

Three-card is really two games: Pair Plus and Play/Ante.

In Pair Plus, players make bets on whether or not they'll be dealt a pair or better. There is no strategy for this portion of the game. You either choose to make a bet or you don't. If you get issued a pair or better, then you're paid off according to this table:

Straight Flush is paid: 40 to 1
Three of a kind is paid: 30 to 1
Straight is paid: 6 to 1
Flush is paid: 4 to 1
Pair is paid: 1 to 1

Play/Ante - Three-Card Poker

In the Play/Ante, game, players are up against the dealer (much like Caribbean Stud poker). There is no competition with the other players at the table.

After an initial ante is made, everyone (including the dealer) is dealt three cards. After looking at your cards, you have the option to bet or fold. If you decide to make the play bet, it has to be equal to your original ante.

The dealer's hand has to qualify in order for play to continue.

If the dealer is holding at least a queen high, then play continues. If the dealer's hand does not qualify, the play bets are returned and antes are paid off at even money. If the dealer's hand does qualify, then the each player compares his or her hand to the dealer. Losing hands lose both the ante and the play bets, and winning hands get paid even money on both.

If a player is dealt a straight flush, three of a kind or a straight, they'll get paid an additional bonus (regardless of what the dealer is showing). Take a look at this bonus table:

Straight Flush is paid: 5 to 1
Three-of-a-kind is paid: 4 to 1
Straight is paid even money

Players can wager on the Pair Plus game, the Play/Ante game or both.

Basic Three-Card Poker Strategy

If you are dealt anything lower than a Queen-6-4, fold. This basic strategy will help lower the house's edge to less than two percent.

Mathematician Stanley Ko is credited with developing this simple, effective approach to Three-Card.

The Numbers

  • The pair plus bet in Three-card poker has a house edge of about 2.3 percent, depending on the pay table. In Three-card, you will be dealt a pair or better at least 25 percent of the time.

  • The Play-Ante bet has a house advantage of about 3.4 percent.

  • Unlike standard five-card poker rankings, three of a kind beats a straight and a flush.

Most casinos that have a wider selection of card and table games offer three-card poker.

Your best option is to look at our list of top Caribbean Stud casinos. These sites all offer Three-Card Poker as well.

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