Three Card Poker or Tri Card Poker is one of the newest game variants invented by Derek Webb in 1994. Just like other game variations, Three Card Poker can be played at virtual and live tables. Another feature shared by all Poker games is that they are not solely based on luck. Actually, when you know its rules and an optimal strategy, you can lower the house edge and beat the casino. In this article, we bring you a guide to Three Card Poker with a proper strategy and a few tips that can come in handy.
Three Card Poker Basics
This Poker variant is easy to learn. Whether you play it at a brick-and-mortar casino or online, your goal is to beat the dealer with a stronger hand. The game starts with the player placing an Ante bet and the dealer dealing three cards to both sides. You won’t be able to see the dealer’s cards, so you have to make decisions based on the cards you have received.
The moves you can make are Fold or Call. If you fold, you lose your Ante bet while other option means that you raise your bet by making an additional Play bet which is of the same value as your original wager. Once you have made your decision, the dealer shows their cards and the winner is determined based on the rank of each hand.
To qualify for the prize, the dealer must have a Q-high hand. In case they don’t, you win an amount equal to your Ante bet while the Play bet is a push. When the dealer has a Q-high hand, the hands are compared. If the player has a better hand, they win even money on both bets. Should the dealer have a stronger hand, the player loses both bets. In case a round ends in a tie, both bets are a push.
There are a few other outcomes you should take into consideration too. You can win an Ante bonus with a straight or better regardless of the dealer’s hand. The game also offers a Pair Plus side bet which pays based on your hand only.
Hand Ranks and Bonuses
When it comes to Three Card Poker, you should know that hands are not ranked in the same way as in 5-card versions of the game. A straight flush is the strongest hand in this game variant. It is followed by a three of a kind, a straight, a flush, a pair and an A-high or less. The strongest card combination is A-K-Q whereas the hand consisting of 3-2-A is of the lowest rank.
We have already mentioned certain situations in which you can win a bonus regardless of the dealer’s hand. Bonuses on the Ante and the Pair Plus bet in Three Card Poker are paid out as follows:
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Three Card Poker Strategy
If you play Three Card Poker with an optimal strategy, the game has a house edge of 3.3%. However, the house edge increases when you play the side bet or don’t apply the strategy. One of the most important rules is to avoid playing the Pair Plus bet as it increases the casino advantage by more than 2.3%. No matter how tempting this bet may be with payouts going up to 40:1, it is a risky move.
When you play Three Card Poker, you should know when to call or fold. This decision makes all the difference. Since the game is played with three cards only, you should remember that you go for call when you have a Q-6-4 hand or higher. In all other cases, you should fold. And that’s basically all when it comes to the Three Card Poker strategy.
A Few More Tips
What you should know about Three Card Poker played online is that you can choose from virtual and live tables. While live dealer tables provide you with an immersive and realistic gaming experience, they don’t allow you to play the game in free play mode. You can join a table and watch what happens at the table for a while, though. This can help you see how the game works and get ready for real-money play. If you want to practice the game for free, join virtual tables. Also, at virtual Three Card Poker tables stakes are lower and more suitable for beginners.
Whether you play the game at RNG-operated or live casino tables, always keep an eye on your bankroll once you start wagering real money. It is all about money management when you play casino games, so make sure to take care of your funds and set the limits that will prevent you from spending more than you can afford.
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