Three card poker is a fun game that's easy to learn
December 31, 2013 3:00 AM
by Marc Meltzer
I usually look for the games with the smallest house advantage when I visit the casino, but if I’m there for a long time I look for some variety in my games.
On my last trip to the Vegas Strip (yes, you can vacation in Vegas when you live here) I noticed a large increase of 3-card poker tables, which is probably my favorite of the newer “carnival”-type games to play. You’d think I would be happy about the increased availability of the game. Eh, not so much.
The increase of 3 Card Poker tables is in line with the amount of interest of the game. Almost every 3 Card Poker table was full on this weekend. I prefer to play the game with a full table but it was difficult to get on a table with all of the people.
There was so much 3 Card Poker action that the game was made available on old blackjack tables. These are the tables with no sign but correct felt. I play 3 Card Poker for a little variety in my casino visits. There’s only so much blackjack, craps or video poker I can play.
I know the house edge on this game is around 5%. I also know I’m not playing the smartest game but it sure is fun. I’m assuming most people who gamble on the Strip don’t know or care about the house edge in 3 Card Poker. I think they just want to play a fun game that’s easy to learn. That’s their prerogative.
Maybe since the majority of cheap blackjack games on the Strip pay 6:5 they’re okay with playing a table game with a larger house advantage. The difference between 6:5 blackjack’s approximately 2% house advantage and 3 Card Poker’s 5% house advantage is less drastic than good 3:2 blackjack games.
A conspiracy theorist may think the casino is trying to force more 5% house advantage games on the floor. Perhaps the 2% house advantage isn’t enough to make a casino profitable for the operator.
That’s just a conspiracy theory. At the end of the day it’s up to the player to choose what game’s they want to play. Personally, I’m okay with the growth of 3 Card Poker.
I like to play it with a full table. It’s a fun game for all. Since other player’s moves don’t affect the cards there’s no complaining about bad moves or that the dealer always pulls out a hand that’s just barely better than the players’. The relaxed atmosphere makes 3 Card Poker fun despite its large house advantage.
Marc Meltzer covers Las Vegas, gambling and men’s lifestyle for various outlets. Follow Marc on twitter @eastcoastgamblr. Check out his blog at www.AC2LV.com Contact Marc at MarcMeltzer@GamingToday.com.