# Give 3 Card Poker a hand

Jun 8, 2004 3:07 AM

Of all the casino’s table games, none has grown faster in popularity than Three Card Poker. The game 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 beat the dealer’s poker hand. The other, which is also a separate bet, is that your three-card hand will be a 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. 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.

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.

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 bets.

You win your Pair Plus bet if your three-card hand contains at least a pair or higher. The higher the poker rank, the greater the payout. These are paid regardless of the dealer’s hand.

 Straight Flush 40-1 Three-of-a-Kind 30-1 Straight 6-1 Flush 4-1 Pair 1-1

The casinos’ edge for the Pair Plus is 2.3 percent and for the Ante wager it’s 3.4 percent.

Compared to the similar Caribbean Stud Poker and Let it Ride poker games, Three Card Poker is actually a better deal for the player. Of course, it always helps to be lucky!