Playing Three Card Poker onlineThree Card Poker is, with little doubt, the most popular new game in Las Vegas casinos. Internet casinos were slow to catch on at first, but now a few major software brands offer the game. Those that don’t should visit a Vegas casino sometime and just look around and see what people are playing.
There are two bets available in Three Card Poker: the Ante and the Pairplus. The player may make one or both bets. Then the player and dealer each get three cards. The dealer’s cards are dealt face down. The Pairplus bet pays based on the player’s three cards only, thus no skill is required for that bet. If the player made the Ante bet, he must decide to either raise or fold. The raise must be equal to exactly the amount of the Ante bet. Unless the player folds, the dealer’s hand will be compared to the player’s hand. If the dealer has less than a queen high, the dealer will not qualify and the player will win even money on the Ante and will push on the raise. If the dealer does qualify, then the higher hand will win. There is a bonus for hands of a straight or higher and the bonuses are not contingent on the dealer’s hand. The optimal strategy in Three Card Poker is to raise with Q/6/4 or higher.
Differet pay tables are available for both the Pairplus and the Ante bonus, so it pays to shop around for the best pay tables. The best odds online can be found at Microgaming casinos, which offer the “full pay” pay tables. Wager Works has two pay tables available, one full pay and the other not as generous. The one in use at the Hard Rock Casino is the tighter pay table. Real Time Gaming lets the operator configure the pay table, but the vast majority of RTG casinos choose a stingy default.
So Microgaming wins the prize for the best Three Card Poker odds online. A word of warning: Microgaming follows the European rule of treating A/2/3 as the second highest straight. This doesn’t change the strategy or the house edge, but I have had a few angry players write to me on the losing end of that rule.