Three Card Poker championship

Jun 13, 2005 2:01 AM

Banking on the popularity of poker across the nation, Shuffle Master is sponsoring a Three Card Poker National Championship that features over $2 million in cash prizes.

Three Card Poker is the hottest, banked table game in the casino. The National Championship will be held in Las Vegas, Nov. 27 through Dec. 2, and will feature players from around North America.

To qualify for the National Championship, regional qualifying tournaments will be held throughout North America commencing this month with the first regional tournament at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut.

For a modest entry fee, participants will compete to qualify as one of the finalists who will each receive a $1,000 cash prize and an invitation to participate in the National Championship.

The National Championship itself will include a series of qualifying rounds in which the players who advanced from the regional tournaments will compete for a seat at the final table and a chance to win a $1 million grand prize.

The National Championship will also include two re-entry rounds in which players who did not advance can compete for one of two additional seats at the final table.

The National Championship, as well as select regional tournaments, will be filmed for inclusion in a Three Card Poker National Championship multi-segment TV program that will air in early 2006.

"We are enthusiastic about the initial interest the tournament has received and look forward to offering North America’s Three Card Poker players the opportunity to compete for over $2 million in total cash prizes," said Mark L. Yoseloff, Shuffle Master chairman and CEO. "Additionally, we are pleased to be working with LMNO to develop a program chronicling the tournament and are confident that our joint efforts will result in a unique, appealing television program that highlights our extremely popular Three Card Poker table game."

Shuffle Master has contracted with LMNO Productions to develop and produce a television program based on the Three Card Poker National Championship tournaments. Headed by nine-time Emmy Award-winning CEO and President Eric Schotz, LMNO Productions is a studio based in southern California, that has worked on over 600 programs and 50 different series. As one of the leading providers of reality, documentary, informational, and entertainment programming for network, cable and syndicated television, their credits include Race to the Altar, Boot Camp and Kids Say the Darndest Things.

"Shuffle Master and Three Card Poker are very strong brand names with the gaming audience," Eric Schotz said. "We are looking forward to the creation of a very entertaining televised reality series with Shuffle Master."

For those who have never played the game, Three Card Poker combines the head-to-head excitement of blackjack, where player goes against the dealer, and Caribbean Stud, in which players are paid for attaining a minimum hand.

Here’s how the game 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 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 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

Three-of-a-Kind 30 to 1

Straight 6 to 1

Flush 4 to 1

Pair 1 to 1

The casinos’ edge for the Pair Plus is 2.3 percent and for the Ante wager it’s 3.4 percent based on the initial bet, or 2.0 and 2.3 percent respectively based on the total money bet.

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, regardless of the house advantage!