While some casino card players, either live or online, prefer only to play traditional poker, limiting themselves to games such as seven card stud or Texas Holdem,
some see poker as just one part of the full casino experience, and enjoy trying their luck at a variety of card games and other gambling games.
For these people, many live and some online casinos provide three card poker, a table based game using the basic rules of poker, where players compete against the dealer to win a predetermined amount.
Three card poker is spread like traditional table games such as blackjack, so as many people can play as there are seats open.
Players play against the dealer and not each other, so the number of players does not really affect the play of the game.
Three card poker players first place an ante in front of them of however much money they wish, pursuant to the listed table minimums and maximums.
The player than receives three cards, trying to make his or her best three card poker hand according to traditional poker rankings.
Each of the players now has the option to fold or raise. If he or she folds, he or she loses his or her ante bet and the hand is over for him or her, regardless of what happens with other players in the hand.
If the player chooses to play, he or she must raise, putting an amount equal to the ante bet in the “play” spot on the table. There is no “check” option in three card poker.
Once the player has decided whether or not he or she will play, the dealer shows his hand. If the dealer does not have queen high or better, the dealer does not “qualify” and the hand is over.
Players who did not fold get paid even money on the ante bet and nothing on the raise bet. If the dealer does qualify, he collects both bets if he has a better hand than the player, and pays off both bets if he does not.
The house edge comes from the fact that players must choose to fold before the dealer sees if he can qualify, potentially losing with a better hand, and that non-qualifying hands only cost the dealer one bet,
whereas if a player should stay in with a hand worse than queen high and lose, he or she would lose both his or her bets.
Most three card poker games also offer a bonus payoff on the ante bet for being dealt a straight or better.
Players get odds on these payoffs, although of course the odds are much lower than the true odds of being dealt that particular hand.