Three card poker is one of the newer card games offered by casinos. It was only created in 1994. As such, one may well be impressed by how far it has come since then: most casinos offer it or some variant of it, for example, and even online casinos are now incorporating it in their rosters of staple card game offerings.
To fully comprehend the burgeoning fame of this game, you might need to learn more about its inception and launch first. To that end, we shall review those before going over how it has come to be so popular of late.
- The History of Three Card Poker
Three card poker comes from the UK. Its “creator”, Derek Webb, was aiming to create a new card game that combined several qualities he deemed desirable:
- Speedy play
- The excitement associated with poker games
- Large payouts
- Easily-understood game rules
- A sufficiently large house edge to entice casinos into offering the game
After coming up with the rules for a game that would satisfy all of the above requirements, Webb formed a company expressly for marketing the game to the US and UK gaming markets. Webb’s first success was in the US, where a Mississippi casino (the Grand Casino Gulfport) took on the game after he agreed to train dealers himself at zero cost.
That the game got its start among gamblers in the US before it did among gamblers in the UK was owing to gambling regulations that prohibited it in the latter at the time. Changes to the law allowed three card poker to finally find its footing in the UK in 2002, however.
- The Rules of the Game
The game has three types of bets: the Play, the Ante, and the Pair Plus. The Play bet is arguably the main or basic bet because it is required in most casinos, whereas the Ante and Pair Plus are often optional. This is not always the case, keep in mind, so always check the three card poker rules applied by the casino you frequent.
The easiest way to understand the bets is to comprehend what you are betting on with each one.
- Pair/Ante – When you make these bets, you are playing against the dealer. Essentially, you are wagering that you have a higher hand than the dealer.
- Pair Plus – This bet means that you are wagering that you shall be dealt a pair or better.
Card values, of course, are similar to the ones you have in regular poker games. For instance, a straight flush is better/higher than a three-of-a-kind, and a three-of-a-kind is better/higher than a straight.
Now, the way the three card poker game works, players make bets before they get dealt their cards. After the bets have been made, the dealer gives each player 3 cards. The dealer also deals himself 3 cards, but he cannot open them yet. Players, on the other hand, can take a look at their cards.
Based on the cards they get, players now have the option to keep the three card poker game going by doing any of the following:
- Fold – This means he thinks his three cards have a low chance of being better than the dealer’s. If the player chooses to do this, he forfeits his first wager (the one he made at the start of the game, before the cards were dealt).
- Raise – If he chooses to raise instead, it means he thinks he stands a chance against the dealer’s cards (whatever they may be—keep in mind that they are still hidden at this point). Raising requires the player to make an additional Play bet, one equal to his initial Ante bet.
After the player has decided whether to fold or raise, the dealer finally turns his cards over. In order for the dealer to qualify for the game, he needs a hand that is at least a Queen high. Anything lower than that and he is not qualified, which leads to the following results:
- The player wins even money on the Ante wager
- The Play wager pushes
On the other hand, if the dealer manages to qualify, his hand is compared to the player’s in order to see who has the better hand. If it is the player’s, the Ante and Play wagers win. If it is the dealer’s, the Ante and Play wagers lose. If they have a tie, no payouts are made but both the Ante and Play wagers are pushed.
But there is an added bonus sweetening the deal in three card poker. To be precise, if a player who made the Ante bet also happens to have a hand that is a straight or higher, he also gets an Ante bonus. This is paid out irrespective of the dealer’s hand in three card poker.
Another wager that may pay out irrespective of the dealer’s hand is the Pair Plus bet. This is obvious, as you are really only betting on your odds of getting a pair or better here, not on whether or not you can get something better than the dealer’s cards.
- Explaining the Popularity of the Game
The above should already give you a good idea of what has contributed to this game’s popularity lately. First off, the fact that it combines the familiarity of one of the best-known card games in the world with a new, tweaking element lends it an appeal that many card players can appreciate. You get the comfort of the familiar with the thrill of the new.
The fact that the game is so easy to play adds to the reasons for its resurgence as well. One of the challenges to incorporating or introducing new games is that complex rules can hinder players’ willingness to try the game in the first place. With a game that has rules as simple as three card poker, though, it gets easier. The casinos need not invest too much time trying to persuade players to try it or teaching them how to play it.
The game’s mechanics also make it a very good fit for online gameplay in particular. Unlike what happens in regular poker, there is no real face reading required in three card poker for players. Barely anything of the game’s experience in a land-based casino is taken away by trying it in an online one instead.
These are just a few of the reasons that the game is experiencing such a burst in popularity at the Web-based casinos, of course. If you really want to know more about why it is being adopted by so many casinos now, you should probably give it a try at least once. As is the case with most games, three card poker has an appeal best sampled directly.