CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Search Articles Subscribe
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
John Grochowski Archives
More Strategy Experts

Gaming Guru

author's picture
 

Three Card Poker strategy concepts

29 September 2016

By John Grochowski
Games such as Three Card Poker and Caribbean Stud Poker attract players who would never consider going to the poker room for a session of Texas Hold’em, seven-card stud or Omaha.

The games in the table pits have poker trappings, hand rankings and borrow some terminology, but they’re nowhere near as complex as poker where you play against other players. The games where you play against the dealer or a pay table have minimal strategy or none at all, and newbies can pick it all up within a few hands.

As easy as the games are, there’s a minor point about hand rankings that seems puzzling to inexperienced table pit players.

What, they wonder, is meant by “queen or better” in Three Card Poker or “ace-king or better” in Caribbean Stud. Those are qualifying hand levels the dealer must have in order to activate the bets players make after they’ve seen their cards. If the dealer doesn’t have those hands, players who don’t fold win only on their antes, and their follow-up bets are returned to them.

Three Card Poker is the most popular of the poker-based pit games, so most of the questions I receive on the issue are about that game. Here’s one, received in the last week of August:
“What do you mean by queen or better? Does there have to be a queen, king or ace in the hand? What if I have a pair of twos but my other card is only a jack? Does only the ante count because the dealer doesn’t have a queen or higher in the hand?”

It’s all about hand rankings, and what the “or better” part of queen or better means is a hand that would outrank a queen high hand.

The ranking of hands in Three Card Poker has straight flush at the top, followed by three of a kind, straight, flush, pair and high card.

A high card hand such as Q-9-5 hand of mixed suits qualifies the dealer, because it includes a queen or higher.

A pair of 2s also qualifies the dealer, regardless of the third card, because any pair outranks a high card hand such as Q-9-5. It’s the same deal with a flush such as J-8-3 of hearts, a straight such as 7 of clubs, 6 of diamonds, 5 of spades, three 9s, or a straight flush such as 9-8-7 of spades.

None of those hands include a queen, king or jack, but all of them outrank queen-9-5 and are qualifying hands of queen or better.

I used to get that question more often from Caribbean Stud players who wondered about the ace-king provision for dealer qualifying. Does 2-2-10-5-3 of mixed suits qualify?

It does, for the same reason. Any pair outranks a high-card hand such as A-K-9-7-4 of mixed suits, so any pair falls under the “ace-king or better” umbrella.

The Caribbean Stud questions had an extra level because the qualifying hand was defined by two cards instead of one. Again that’s a matter of hand rankings, where hands with no pairs or better are defined first by their highest card, then by their second-highest card. A-K-4-3-2 of mixed suits is a higher-ranking hand than A-Q-J-10-9.

That all will seem obvious to poker-playing veterans, but you’d be surprised at how often variations on the basic question pop into my email box. Everyone starts learning somewhere, and one point for Three Card Poker players to learn is that yes, even hands with no queen, king or jack qualify if they have a pair or a higher-ranking combination.


Look for John Grochowski on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/7lzdt44) and Twitter (@GrochowskiJ).

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at fscobe@optonline.net.

 

A rare Pair Plus payout at Three Card Poker

25 September 2016
QUESTION: Playing Three Card Poker, I found a Pair Plus pay table different than the ones I usually play. It paid 100-1 on a three-card royal, which I’d never seen. It paid the usual 40-1 on a straight flush, 30-1 on three of a kind, but then 5-1 on a straight, 4-1 on a flush and 1-1 on a pair. What’s the ... (read more)
 

Basic strategy, and then some!

22 September 2016
Basic strategy in blackjack is a great guideline, something every player should learn. It is not an end point. There are hidden subtleties that are glossed over for the sake of making the strategy easily understandable and playable. When the basic strategy table tells you to hit hard 16 when the dealer has ... (read more)
 

One coin or full coin? That is the question!

18 September 2016
QUESTION: You answered a question about playing one coin on $1 video poker instead of five coins on a quarter game. What about slot machines? Dollar slots have higher paybacks than quarter games or penny games, right? Should I play one coin on a dollar game instead of three quarters or, say, 80 pennies? ANSWER: There’s more than one way look at that question. ... (read more)

Next 10 Articles >

  • Featured Articles

Craps Systems

Craps players love systems, trying to mix and match bets in hopes of finding the magical formula that will beat the casino. Just about any system will work sometimes, and when a player wins with a system, it encourages another try, and another, and another. In the long run, of course, the casino comes out on top. ... (read more)
 

Multi Strike Poker

It was a Friday morning in Joliet, and I'd been playing a little video poker aboard Empress II, waiting for the 11 a.m. opening of Empress I and its video poker room. Soon, if it hasn't already happened by the time you read this, Empress' new barge will open, ending such little scheduling inconveniences, but on this day, I found myself passing time with a little quarter Triple Play Poker. ... (read more)
 

Comps - The Basics

A colleague of mine likes to refer to casino comps as "free stuff." And for those who know their basic strategy in blackjack, optimal strategies for certain video poker games and who know how comping systems work, the "stuff" really is free--the value ... (read more)
 

Basic Strategy for Spanish 21

In the last couple of weeks, we've looked at basic strategy in blackjack. Sit down at most blackjack tables in any jurisdiction, play basic strategy and you'll narrow the house edge to a half-percent or so, perhaps a little more or a little less depending on house rules. ... (read more)
 

Single-Deck Basic Strategy

Those whose casino memories stretch back far enough may recall a time when the standard "Las Vegas Strip" blackjack game was dealt from a single deck of cards, with the dealer standing on all 17s. That started to change in the 1960s as operators grew ... (read more)
John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski