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Games and Sports

How to Play 3 Card Poker at the Casino

When someone mentions casino table games, naturally, blackjack and roulette are the first two gambling picks that come to mind. However, a table genre often overlooked by most laypeople and newbies is casino poker. It is a gaming secret mainly reserved for experienced players who visit gambling floors on a semi-regular basis.

These are player versus dealer games designed to get played quickly and entice poker players to try their hand at table action via an option that implements elements from the world’s most popular card game. Caribbean Stud, allegedly an invention of poker player David Sklansky, was this category’s trailblazer, invented in the early-1980s. Yet, today, 3 Card Poker, the brainchild of Derek Webb, is casino poker’s most renowned representative. It got birthed in the mid-1990s but did not take off until the early-2000s when Shuffle Master started to distribute the game, and regulation in the US and other countries changed, allowing venues to introduce it.

Nowadays, the offer of sites to play 3 Card Poker is vast, and many brick-and-mortar US spots carry it. While popularity-wise, it still lags behind more traditional gambling games, it has formed its niche and is thriving. Below, we get into what you need to know to try your hand at this casino poker variant, offline or online.

The Basic 3 Card Poker Rules

Every 3 Card Poker round begins with an ante bet. That is an initial wager signifying that you wish to receive a three-card hand. After making your ante, the dealer will give you three cards face down. Upon inspection, you can decide if you want to play or fold. Folding means you will forfeit your ante. That you opt-out of facing the dealer’s hand. Playing indicates that you like what you are holding and are ready to make a new wager, a play one that is equal to your ante, and put your hand up against the dealer’s one. When that happens, they both get compared, and who has the better poker combo with just three card wins.

3 Card Poker Table Specifics

As mentioned above, Shuffle Master, legally known as SHFL Entertainment, owns the rights to 3 Card Poker. Thus, they set the rules you will encounter at land-based casino tables that offer a game trademarked as 3 Card Poker. Be aware that some operators try to circumvent acquiring the necessary license to provide this game by supplying their variation under a different name, featuring some novel tweaks to its gameplay.

Per Shuffle Master’s guidelines, a 3 Card Poker table has a wagering area for a maximum of eight players. Each player position has three wager spots. These are play, ante, and a pair plus. The last is a standard 3 Card Poker wager, where if you make it and have a pair of better in your three-card combo, you win a prize.

A standard 52-card deck gets utilized in 3 Card Poker, with the jokers removed. Per its defined criteria, this is a two-deck game. While one gets used in a round, the other gets run through an automatic shuffler. These decks get alternated throughout a session.

The hand ranks in this game go from a high card to a mini-royal flush, consisting of an ace, king, and queen of the same suit. Backline betting is not an option on any wager, and all bonus or pair plus bets must get placed along with your ante before the initial deal. All side-bets will lose or win regardless of the outcome of the base game bet.

Every gambling establishment that features 3 Card Poker has the option of setting the minimum and maximum betting limits at their tables. Typically, most higher-end Vegas destinations will run a game that accepts a minimum 3 Card Poker bet of $5, the same as blackjack. The maximum one can vary dramatically depending on the chosen venue. For example, casinos like Circus Circus, located on the northern Las Vegas Strip, have 3 Card Poker tables with a maximum wager limit of $100. The Bellagio, on the other hand, has games where you can lay down a $1,000 per hand.

How to Play 3 Card Poker Online

In terms of the previously described ruleset, playing 3 Card Poker online is more or less identical to the land-based experience. The main difference is that gambling sites let you play this game against software or a live dealer. The first choice allows you to enjoy hands at far greater speeds, without any distractions, while the latter offers a spice of casino authenticity. 3 Card Poker live games only recently became a possibility when industry juggernauts Evolution Gaming and Playtech decided to add this game in their gaming portfolios in the live dealer format.

For more gambling news and reviews, visit OUSC.

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