Three Card Poker
Three Card Poker has become one of the most played versions of poker online, and with hundreds of operating sites, players can find many places to enjoy the action of this game. It is relatively easy to learn, though will take some time to master. This version of poker is a great option for those that are just getting started and with the background information provided here, players can get a complete grasp of the game before they start playing online.
History of Three Card Poker
The modern poker games players enjoy today are all offshoots of the original game that was first played in America in the 19th century. The game got its name from Jonathan Green, who labeled poker “the cheating game” though the work poker came from the word poke, which referred to pickpocketing. Some from Green’s era referred to poker winnings as pokes.
The original game that Green spoke of was played with just 20 cards, including 12 face cards, 4 ten cards and 4 Aces. Over the years, as the game evolved, the cards used was increased to 32 and finally to the full deck that players are familiar with today. Poker quickly spread across the entire US and was quite popular during the Civil War times and more popular during the Gold Rush. Just 50 years after Green coined the game Poker, it was being played in hundreds of saloons across the country and now, more than 200 years later, it remains one of the most popular card games to be played.
The game continues to be reinvented and new game variations are always being tested and offered to players, especially in the world of online gambling. After 100 years of 5 and 7 card stud being the top played games, players now flock to Texas Hold Em games, which are the most popular games offered at land and online casinos. While these poker games are top choices, players will find they have many other great variations they can choose from, with three card poker being one of the top choices for many.
Three card poker is one of the newer formats of the game to be played and it was derived from a British game that was known as Brag. About 200 years ago, British players engaged in a game called Primero, where three cards were used. That game eventually became known as Post and Pair and additional betting rounds were added. Soon, wild cards, known as Braggers, were added and the game name changed back to Brag.
The current game of three card poker was invented by Derek Webb, a British poker player. It is believed that Webb paid a visit to Vegas and played the poker games that existed at the time, finding them slow paced and quite boring. The first variation of three card poker was called Casino Brag or Brit-Brag and was later changed to what we now know as 3 Card Poker. In 1931, when Nevada legalized gambling, this game started to appear in land based casinos along with other poker variations. Three card poker was an instant hit with players and has remained a preferred poker option when visiting casino locations. In addition to the standard game payouts, some casinos started to offer jackpot bonus payouts for achieving certain hands, making the game even more appealing.
Derek Webb invented the poker variant “Three card Poker” in 1994 and patented in 1997.
The next stage of three card poker began when online casinos were introduced in the 1990s, offering players from all over the world the ability to engage in this exciting and fast-paced game. This game is usually offered at online casinos that offer a full range of table and card games and it can be played for free as well as for real money wagers. Players will find the game being offered under multiple names, which include:
• Three card poker
• Tri card poker
• Tri poker
The modern version of three card poker is actually two different games combined into one. It starts with the Ante and Play game, where the player will be playing against the dealer to achieve the highest ranking poker hand. The other game is Pairs Plus, where players will place a side bet and will be betting on whether they will get a winning hand that contains a pair or better.
Playing Three Card Poker
Now that players are aware of where three card poker was born and how the game evolved, they will want to learn how they can get in on the amazing action of this poker variant. The game is actually quite easy to play, which is why it is offered at hundreds of operating online casinos around the world. It is now one of the most played games by beginner poker players and it can be enjoyed for free, which can benefit anyone new to the game.
The game is played with a standard deck of 52 cards and there are no Jokers or wild cards in use. To begin, players will place wagers and the dealer will deal out three cards to all players at the table as well as themselves. The betting limits will vary based on where players are playing and most tables will have a $5 minimum, though when playing online, games can be played for lower amounts.
There are two different modes of play as mentioned, the Ante and Play and the Pair Plus, both of which are described in detail here. It is important for players to fully understand the rules prior to placing wagers so they have the best chances of winning and know how to place their bets at the tables.
The first bet to be placed is on the Ante spot on the table. After all players have received their cards, they will choose whether they fold the hand or risk another wager on the Play spot. If they fold, they will lose the Ante wager and their game is over. The dealer will then reveal their three cards. In order to qualify, the dealer must contain a Queen high or better. If this does not happen, player will all receive their Ante wager. When the dealer does qualify, they will then pay winning hands or take bets from losing hands based on who has the highest ranking poker hand for the game.
All standard hand rankings will apply when determining the winner, with an exception on straights and flushes. With three card poker, a straight will beat a flush. This is because it is easier for players to get a flush with just the three cards in play. The house will pay an additional ante bonus on three winning hands and there are no additional wagers required for these bonus payouts. The payouts are as follows:
• Straight flush wins 5:1
• Three of a kind wins 4:1
• Straights win 1:1
These bonus payouts can vary based on what casino has been chosen and some casinos, especially land based locations, will offer a special Mini Royal Ante Bonus instead of the mentioned Ante Bonus. These payouts are:
• Mini Royal (Ace, King and Queen suited) pays 50:1
• Straight Flush pays 8:1
• Three of a kind pays 6:1
In addition to the Ante wager, players can also place an additional wager, which is optional. The Pairs Plus wager can pay no matter what cards the dealer is holding. To place this bet, one will lay their chips on the Pair Plus circle on the table and payouts will be determined based on the provided payout chart.
One pair will pay an even payout and a flush will offer 4:1. Players who get a straight will enjoy a 6:1 payout and a three of a kind hand will pay 30:1. If players can get a straight flush, they win the maximum payout of 40:1. If the hand does not contain a pair or better, the bet will be lost. Based on the payouts offered, this bet comes with a house edge of 2.32%, which is pretty low for a bonus side bet, making it an attractive option and providing players with another great chance to win with three card poker.
Strategies to Increase Winning Chances
Every player wants to be a winner, but they must invest some time into learning the game rules and some basic strategies, especially when playing poker games. There are some easy to learn strategies that will help three card poker players enjoy more winning hands and these strategies can be applied by players of all skill levels.
With the Ante game, there is a basic strategy that should always be used when playing for real money. This strategy states that players should place the additional Play wager when they hold a hand containing a Queen, 6 and 4 or better. They should fold if the hand holds anything lower in rank. Some players follow a strategy of placing the Play bet when they have a Queen or better and this can produce almost the same result.
This strategy will basically have players placing the Play bet in the following circumstances:
• Having a pair or higher
• Having a King or Ace high
• Having a Queen high with the second high card being a 7 or better
• Having a Queen high with the second card of 6 and the third of 4 or better
By following this strategy, players can reduce the house edge from 7.65% to 3.37%. The other option is folding the Ante hand, which will result in a loss of the bet and the game will be over.
As for the Par Plus, there is a different strategy that should be used. This additional bet can yield some amazing payouts and is usually how players at three card poker tables come out ahead. With a house edge of just 2.32%, it is a safe bet to place and while players will not walk away with millions, they will enjoy some large returns on the wager. This bet does come with a higher risk than the Ante and Play options, but again, the rewards are much higher.
There is no specific strategy involved her as the odds are against the player, so winning this bet actually comes down to luck. Players will be hoping they are dealt a pair or better in their hand and they will automatically win no matter what cards are being held by the dealer. The dealer will not have to qualify when the Pair Plus bet is placed, so it provides a great way to win regardless of dealer cards.
The common wagering strategies used when playing three card poker are to always play the Ante and Pair Plus for the same wager amount or for one of these bets to be double the amount of the other. The best way to be a winner is to place 100% of the total bet on the Ante. This is where the game has the lowest house edge, so there is a greater chance of winning, though the payouts will be smaller than when winning the other bets.
If the game chosen offers a progressive jackpot, there will be a $1 side bet required. It is best for players to avoid this bet as it comes with a huge house edge, but every once in a while, it can be beneficial to place the bet as the jackpot amounts can rise quickly and can offer thousands in payouts. Generally, side bets are sucker bets, so they are avoided by most experienced players.
In addition to game strategies, players need to have bankroll strategies in place as well, which will help them maintain a positive bankroll and avoid overspending. Always track the number of losses and wins and know when to stop. Make sure to have a strategy that will allow some of the winnings to be held in the bankroll and avoid chasing after losses, as this will only lead to the depletion of the bankroll over time.
James, Author The World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) is one of the most prominent online poker competitions. The annual tournament is hosted by the Stars Group, which owns several over online gaming brands and events. The WCOOP offers a wide variety of games...
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