If we put the focus on the variety of poker games to choose from, we can find very pleasant surprises. An example of a fast, easy to understand and very fun game is 3 card poker.
Although it is designed for those who are looking for games with few complications, it also has an interesting strategic component, but since it is not a very popular game, or at least not as popular as SNG games or multi-table tournaments, you may have overlooked it or it may not have aroused your interest.
If you are interested and want to know what 3 card poker is and how to play it, keep reading because in this post we are going to focus on the basics of this game.
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What is 3 card poker
Let’s start with the basics, and then we will see how to play 3 card poker. This is a game whose premise establishes that each of the participants plays with only three cards, basing its dynamics on that of blackjack: the participants play against the dealer, not against each other, which affects the strategy. But we will see this later.
The objective of three card poker is very simple: to tie a three-card hand that is stronger than the dealer’s hand. The ranking of hands according to the rules of 3 card poker is based on those of other poker games, so you will not find many changes in this regard by maintaining a hierarchy almost always identical.
Keep in mind that, as each player has only 3 cards, the ability to tie good hands is more limited. As there are more limited combinations, the game is simpler but more exciting.
How to play 3 card poker
The simplicity of 3 card poker makes it a straightforward, head-to-head game, but against the dealer, taking the best from SNG games and other casino games where participants do not compete against each other.
The concept is simple: each player places a bet called an ante. When all the players have made it, then it is the dealer who makes it, after which three cards are dealt face up for each player, and three cards face down for the dealer.
Here, each player has the possibility to speak in order. His repertoire of actions is based on only two possibilities: play or surrender.
If a player decides to play because he believes that with his three cards, he can form a stronger hand than the dealer can have, he must match his initial bet by placing an extra bet, which is called “play”. By playing, the player’s cards will be compared with those of the dealer at the end of the hand in a sort of showdown characteristic of this game.
On the other hand, if he/she decides to surrender, he/she loses the initial bet. This is where strategy and judgment come into play. Keep in mind that the face to face is with the dealer, and even if you have a good hand or have the potential to beat the dealer’s, you will have to read him to decide if he can beat yours or not. It all comes down to that, a simple yet complex premise in which the decision is often a 50/50 split.
When all the players have spoken, then the dealer reveals his cards. In order for the dealer to play, he must have at least one hand that is High Queen. If this is not the case, the dealer does not qualify and, therefore, the players automatically win their play bet, and the ante bet is returned.
But if the dealer qualifies, the dealer’s hand is compared one by one with that of the other players who have not surrendered. And here, if his is stronger, the player loses both bets. On the other hand, if it is the player who wins, he wins both bets. And, in case of a tie, the bets are returned to the player.
Other poker modalities and differences
Broadly speaking, these are the rules of 3 card poker, but there are also other types of poker that may be of interest to you. For example, there are card poker games that are played with 4 cards and even with 5 cards but they are played in the same way as 3 card poker.
And this is just one of the many types of games you can enjoy. There are games for all tastes: SNG games, multi-table tournaments, cash games, traditional Hold’em tables, Omaha games, more casual games like Caribbean poker, OFC tables… there is a lot of variety and there are games for all types of players. It all depends on the pace you prefer and if you prefer direct confrontations with a lot of rhythm between a few players, or if you are looking for a slow-cooked strategy.
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