Basics of 3-card poker

Feb 28, 2005 2:53 AM

The most successful table game to hit the floor in recent years is 3-Card Poker. Since its introduction in Nevada a few years ago, 3-Card Poker has become the fourth most popular casino game in terms of revenue won.

Last year, 3-Card Poker tables raked in $155 million, a 28 percent increase over the previous year’s revenue. Moreover, casinos 35 new tables to the mix, bringing the total number of games to 207 in Nevada.

Three Card Poker combines the head-to-head excitement of blackjack, where players go against the dealer, and Caribbean Stud, in which players are paid for attaining a minimum hand.

Here’s how it works:

The game is played with a standard deck of 52 cards on a blackjack-style table. Both the player and dealer get three cards face down.

There are actually two "objects" to the game. The first is to hope your poker hand beats the dealer’s poker hand. The other object, which is also a separate bet, is that your three-card hand will be at least a pair or higher.

Prior to the deal, you must determine which bet or bets you want to make.

If you want to compete against the dealer’s hand you make a bet on the Ante spot. If instead you want to bet that your three-card hand will be at least a pair or higher, then you would wager on the Pair Plus box. The betting spots for making these wagers are located directly in front of each player.

If you decide to play against the dealer and bet the ante, the play begins with the dealer giving you and he three cards face down. You pick up your cards, look at them, and decide whether you want to stay in the game or fold. If you want to stay, you must make another equal bet in the "Play" betting spot. If you decide instead to fold, you would place your cards face down on the layout toward the dealer, and you forfeit your ante bet.

After all the players have decided to play or fold, the dealer will look at his cards. If the dealer has a queen or higher, then his hand "qualifies" and play will continue against the remaining players.

If the dealer doesn’t have a queen or higher, he will automatically pay each player who stayed in the game (i.e. wagered on the Play) even money on the Ante wager and return the Play wager to the player (it’s a push).

When the dealer’s hand qualifies but your hand has a higher poker rank than his, you win your Ante and Play wagers at even money. If instead the dealer’s hand beats your hand, you lose both your Ante and Play wagers.

If you don’t want to compete against the dealer’s hand, your other betting option is to bet on the Pair Plus. You win if your three-card hand contains at least a pair or higher. The higher the poker rank, the greater the payout. You lose the Pair Plus bet if you end up with less than a pair. These are paid regardless of the dealer’s hand.

Straight Flush 40-to-1

3-of-a-Kind 30-to-1

Straight 6-to-1

Flush 4-to-1

Pair 1-to-1

There’s a game similar to 3-Card-Poker that is finding its way to the gaming radar screen. It’s called 3-5-7 Poker.

The game is dealt from a 52-card deck, and features three poker games in one. After placing bets for at least two of the games, players receive three cards for their 3-card poker hand. At the same time, the dealer receives four cards face down.

After reviewing their hands, players are paid off according to a pay table on the layout. They may also at this time surrender one-half of their last
(7-card) bet.

If the player continues, the dealer exposes two cards to form the player’s five-card poker hand. Once again, the player is paid according to a pay table.

Finally, the dealer exposes the last two cards to create the player’s 7-card poker hand, and he is paid off.