The other day, we were asked by a reader whether Three Card Poker was a good game to play like video poker. It was clear from their question they didn’t realise that Three Card Poker is actually a table game and not a pokie-style game like video poker.
Today, we will take a quick look at Three Card Poker, let you know the basics of how to play, and look at whether it is a good game to play.
Basic Rules of Three Card Poker
Three Card Poker is a card game you’ll find in the table games section of most Aussie online casinos. Some casinos will refer to the game at Tri-Card Poker. Three Card Poker is a simple three-card game of stud poker. The object is to make a better poker hand than the dealer.
At the start of any hand of Three Card Poker, you will place an Ante bet. You’ll also have the option to play the Pair Plus (Pair+) bet. The Pair Plus bet is a side bet pays when you’re dealt a pair or better.
Once you make your initial bet, you’ll get three cards and the dealer will get three cards face down. This is when you’ll make the only decision in the game. You will either Fold or Bet. If you fold, the hand is over. When you bet, a bet equal to your Ante is placed and the dealer’s cards are revealed.
In order for both bets to win in this game, the dealer must qualify, meaning he must have a hand of queen-high or better. If his hand qualifies and your hand is the winner, both the Ante and your Bet pay even money. If the dealer fails to qualify, then the Ante pays even money and the Bet pushes.
Bonus Bets and Pair Plus Payouts
Some Three Card Poker games will pay a bonus when you make a straight or better. If your game pays a bonus, here are the payouts:
- Straight – Even Money
- Three of a Kind – 4 to 1
- Straight Flush – 5 to 1
You’ll remember that this game has an optional Pair Plus side bet. If you play the bet and it wins, you’ll be paid according to the following paytable:
- Pair – 1:1
- Flush – 3:1
- Straight – 6:1
- Three of a Kind – 30:1
- Straight Flush – 40:1
House Edge and Strategy
Similar to video poker, you can employ strategy to improve your odds of winning. Unlike video poker, the strategy is incredibly simple. If you are dealt Q-6-4 or better, you will always Bet. Otherwise, you’ll fold your hand. That’s it. Also, if you want to play optimal strategy, you will never play the Pair Plus bet. That’s because the bet only hits about 25% of the time.
Let’s take a quick look at the house edge for this game. Using the paytable outlined above, the house edge on this game is 3.37%. In terms of RTP, you can expect 96.63%. You’d definitely play pokies with a 96.63% RTP, right?
For the Pair Plus side bet, the house edge using the above paytable is 7.2%. That’s a 92.8% RTP. Even the worst online pokies have a better RTP than the Pair Plus side bet.
Three Card Poker a Fun Alternative to Pokies
If you want to dabble in table games, there are worse games to play than Three Card Poker. With a house edge of 3.37%, you have a good shot at putting together a winning streak. Make sure to avoid the side bet if you want to reduce your overall variance.
Keep in mind that most Three Card Poker games have a minimum bet of $1. That means every hand you play to a conclusion will cost you $2. This may be cost-prohibitive if you like to play less than $1 per spin.
However, if you like to play a little higher and want to try something new, give Three Card Poker a try. By using optimal strategy, you may find a new revenue stream other than real money pokies.