It is widely-known that Blackjack is one of the table games with the lowest house edge, of as little as 0.5%. But other games offer excellent odds for winning, too, the second-best being poker. And while there are many poker variants out there, 3 Card Poker offers the best odds of all. The question is, does 3 Card Poker have better odds than Blackjack? Not really, as the house edge in 3 Card Poker is 5 to 10 times the size of Blackjack's house edge. However, if you follow the proper strategy and know the right tricks, you can turn the odds in your favor.
Out of all the poker variants, 3 Card Poker is the easiest to play in rules and gameplay. It has the most straightforward rules and the easiest to remember winning hands.
However, as straightforward as it sounds, you would still need to use a strategy to get to a win. As you know, countless poker strategies have been invented throughout the years, each aiming at getting you to that much-wanted win faster.
In this article, we’ll present the basic rules, and we'll dig deeper into the tips and tricks of how to win playing 3 Card Poker. As you will see, it is all about the 3 Card Poker odds and how to increase them.
The basic rules are pretty similar to the ones in any other poker variant but shortened, simpler. The player places an Ante or/and a Pairplus bet. Both the Player and the Dealer receive three cards. While the Dealer's cards are face down, the Player can check the cards.
The Player needs to make the first move, meaning either raise or fold. If they choose to raise, they need to make an additional bet equal to the Ante bet, called the Play bet. If they fold, they lose the Ante bet. Then, it’s the Dealer’s turn. The Dealer will show their hand, and if they have a Queen or better, the bet qualifies. If the bet doesn’t qualify, the Player wins even money on the Ante, and the Play bet will push. If the bet qualifies, the hands are compared, and the higher hand wins.
As mentioned, when it comes to 3 Card Poker, it is all about increasing the odds of winning. Now, the thing is, you need to focus on the Ante and Play bet. Considering you are allowed to examine your hand as the Player, if you see that you have a hand that consists of a Q, a 6, and a four or higher, you should raise. Otherwise, don't. The thing is, if you have a hand like that or higher, your chances to win on the Raise are 5.29%. Why, may you ask?
Well, you know that the dealer must have a Queen or better for their bet to qualify. So for your bet to win, you also must have a Queen. In this situation, it is all about the second card. In case of a tie of Queens, you need to have a second card higher than the Dealer's second card. The third card won't even matter if you handle the bet on the second card.
Now, to adequately explain this, let’s take this example. We said that a Q, a 6, and a 4 is the borderline hand you need to have to raise your bet. What if you had a Q, a 7, and a 3? Considering the 7 is the second card, that hand beats the borderline hand since the third 4 and 3 cards don't matter because you resolved the hand with the second card.
So, raise every time your second card is seven or higher, regardless of your third card, and when your second card is 6, but your third card is 5 or 4. Fold if your second card is six and your third a 2 or 3, and also when your second card is 5, regardless of what your third card is.
The house edge of 3 Card Poker for the Ante bonus is usually 3.37%, but the risk element is 2.01%. If there is a Tie, the house edge is lower, 3.24%.
If you raise any Q or better hand, that's another strategy, called Mimic the Dealer. A 3.45% house edge is involved here, and that’s why this one is riskier than the one described above. Raising on any card, the house edge will be 7.65%.
It would be best if you remembered that across the sites to play 3 Card Poker, you will come across many different 3 Card Poker versions, with side bets and other confusing, risky bets that you could place. But these will shake your basic strategy and likely, make the game turn for the worse.
We explained which hands are less risky for you to raise and risky for you to fold. But for proper bankroll management, you need to set some predetermined rules for yourself. You need to decide the number of hands you're willing to play each day, when to back up, how much to wager on each hand, and, most importantly, how much you're ready to risk, how much you can afford to lose.
Say, for instance, you can afford to use $60 a day. And, say, you will be placing a max bet of $4. That would mean that you would need to stick to your own rules and not play more than 15 hands each day. This example right here is the example you would need to follow not to lose more than you can afford. And even if you win, do not continue gambling. You've promised yourself you'll only spend $60 today. It's an overstretch to test your luck if you continue wagering.
To Wrap Up
Being an avid poker player, you probably thought that 3 Card Poker is one of the most straightforward poker variants to master. Now, after you've read about the basic strategy and the odds involved, you're not sure about that anymore. The thing is, once you get the hang of the system and use it once or twice, you'll see that you'll be getting better in the game each time. The truth of the matter is, strategies for other poker variants are way more complicated. Therefore, as you start using the basic 3 Card Poker strategy, you'll see that you've been worried about nothing.
As long as you have the proper bankroll management in mind, you've practiced using the basic strategy, even by playing the game in demo mode, and you know the basic rules by heart, you’re good to go.
About the Author
Shelly Schiff is an expert, a professional writer for the iGaming industry. She has spent more than a decade playing table games and slots and sharing her knowledge with the readers across many iGaming websites. Most of the articles at United States Casinos have been written by her, as she has in-depth experience in the most popular online casino games. Shelly enjoys spending quiet evenings reading a book or patting her dog while watching an excellent detective movie in her spare time.