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Best of John Grochowski

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The joys of Three Card Poker

12 March 2015

One of the best features of Three Card Poker is that the top-paying hands occur frequently. If you play very long, you’re going to get your share of straight flushes, which pay 40-1 on the Pair Plus portion of the game, and three of a kinds, which pay 30-1.

Big wins with high frequency make possible beginner’s luck stories such as Kim’s. Kim is a regular reader who lives within a few hours' drive of Tunica, Mississippi. She said she and her friend Chuck go to the casinos there three or four times a year, and mostly play blackjack.

So she was no casino beginner, but she was a newbie at Three Card Poker, the game Chuck suggested they play when the low-limit blackjack tables were too full for them to sit together. He’d heard the game was fun, but he was a beginner, too.

“I told the dealer we were new at this, to bear with us,” Kim said in her e-mail. “He said no problem, this was a friendly game and we’d pick it right up.”

That’s when Chuck asked the dealer if he could bring them a little beginner’s luck. The dealer said he’d try.

“He was as good as his word,” Kim said. “My very first hand, I got a straight flush. I won my regular bet, and on the Pair Plus I won $200 for my $5 bet. I broke out in a big grin and gave Chuck a high five. The other players all cheered their congratulations. One man said, ‘You’re not a Three Card virgin anymore!’

“Chuck, of course, had to put on some mock jealousy. ‘Hey, I’m the one who asked for the beginner’s luck.’ He got it on the next hand. He didn’t get a straight flush, like me, but he did get three 6s, and that was $150 on the Pair Plus. This time there were a few mock jeers along with the cheers. The one man said, ‘You mean all you have to do is ask for it? Hey, how about some old-timer’s luck?’”

The old-timer’s luck didn’t come. In fact, Kim said they saw no more straight flushes or three of a kinds during their time at the table. The beginners were the big winners.

Mind you, I don’t believe in beginner’s luck. There are a lot more first-time losing sessions than first-time winners, but those aren’t the stories that make it into my e-mail box. The winning tales are more fun to tell.

The odds of Three Card Poker are such that some beginners, sometimes, are bound to get a big win off the bat. There are 22,100 possible three-card hands in a 52-card deck. Forty-eight of those hands are straight flushes, making the odds of being dealt a straight flush 1 in 460.4. There are 52 possible three of a kind hands, leaving odds of 1 in 425. And the chances of getting one or the other are 1 in 221. You’re likely to see one or the other about once per four to five hours of play at a full table.

Those odds apply on every hand, regardless of whether the first you’ve ever played or the millionth.

For Kim and Chuck, the luck ended there, but it was enough to give them a thrill and a memory.

“I think we all lost the next couple of hands,” she said. “But we had a great time and while we lost a little money back, we left with a nearly $300 more than we started with, and that’s become our favorite casino story.”

Look for John Grochowski at www.casinoanswerman.com, on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/7lzdt44) and Twitter (@GrochowskiJ).
Recent Articles
Best of 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

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