Three Card Poker Tips

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Thanks to a low House Edge in comparison with other casino table games, Three Card Poker has experienced a rapid rise in popularity in recent years. As players become more experienced with the game, they are finding tactics that help them win more consistently. Following is some of the best advice collected from players, dealers and researchers of the game.

Table Section – There can be quite a lot of difference between one Three Card Poker and another. They are not all alike. That’s because casinos modify the basic rules and payout schedules, so that some offer better odds than others. It is certainly worth one’s while to seek out table featuring higher rates of pay and a lower House Edge. Perhaps more than any other factor, making this effort can pay off big.

Bonus Payouts – One of the payout table changes to look for is the schedule of Ante Bonuses. Some casinos have eliminated them altogether, while others have lowered then considerably. The industry standard is 5-to-1 for a Straight Flush, 4-to-1 for Three-of-a-Kind, and even money for a Straight. When a Mini-Royal bonus is offered, it is to the player’s advantage, as long as doesn’t decrease the rates for the other bonuses.

Treatment of Ties – When Three Card Poker was first introduced, the game gave the advantage to the player on ties. Even money was paid on the initial Ante bet for every push. However, many casinos have adopted new House Rules that result in a no-win policy for ties. The Ante wager is simply returned. That means the House Edge rises slightly, from the standard 3.24% to 3.37%. Be sure to enquire as to the rule regarding ties before making any wagers.

Pair Plus Payouts – Those intending to wager on the optional Pair Plus side bet should look for the highest payout rate possible: 40-to-1 for a Straight Flush, 30-to-1 for Three-of-a-Kind, 6-to-1 for a Straight, 4-to-1 for a Flush and even money for a pair. Occasionally, a Mini-Royal payout of anywhere from 50-to-1 to 200-to-1 can be found, too. However, if lower odds are featured on any other payouts—especially the Flush, which may only pay 3-to-1—expect the House Edge to increase significantly, perhaps as high as 7.3%.

The Best Bet – When the optimum pay table is in effect, the House Edge on Pair Plus wagers is just 2.32%, making it a much better wager than the Ante and Play bets. Although it is an optional “side bet,” many players think of Pair Plus as the primary bet at the table. If the casino allows it, they will wager on Pair Plus without betting on the Ante. This allows for progressive betting strategies to be employed. In casinos where the Ante bet is required, bet the minimum on the Ante and more on the Pair Plus.

Combination Bets – Some casinos offer a “Play Both” option, whereby it is possible to cover both the Ante bet and the Pair Plus bet with a single wager. This is not, however, a good choice for the player. The convenience of a single wager is far outweighed by the increase in the House Edge to over 5%. Keep the two wagers separate when making both.

Abandon Poor Hands – Too many players cling to bad hand in hopes the Dealer’s hand will fail to qualify with a Queen or better. Probabilities indicate, however, that it’s a mistake to give in to temptation, staying in on rubbish and hoping for a lucky break. Hands that do not contain at least a Queen should be abandoned. The opportunities lost by folding are fully reimbursed by the savings on what would be lost Play wagers.

Get Some Practice – Thanks to the Internet, many online casinos offer versions of Three Card Poker in the “for play” mode. They can be played without committing any real cash, thus providing an excellent way to learn and practice the game before heading off to a land-based casino. It certainly makes sense to take full advantage of the opportunity.

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