Of all the poker variations out there, 3 card poker is probably the best suited to the live casino environment because it has barely been changed to make the transition.
The game can be played via a live dealer over the internet practically identically to in real life, except there is no limit to how many players can be seated at the table.
This also makes it one of the most authentic live casino games, since the player is only competing with the dealer.
It’s a simpler version of the arguably more popular Texas Hold’em, and it plays a little faster too, with only a single decision for the player to make; whether to play their hand or fold it.
How Does it Work?
The first thing to get to grips with is the interface.
You will see various options overlaying the live stream, which shows a real dealer at a real 3 card poker table playing the game. This should look familiar to anyone who has played in real life before.
The options at the top of the interface are all optional features allowing you to alter the volume, perhaps the camera angles, and also giving you quick access to the game rules and an easy paytable reference. You can play with these once you are comfortable with the gameplay.
The only real difference between playing in the real world is that you can’t physically place chips on the table, so you have to do it digitally, and a timer controls the pace of the game rather than the dealer.
The live casino software will bring up the option to place bets by showing a number of differently priced poker chips, from which you choose your desired amount and then click on the ante bet on the table to place your bet.
You have around 15 seconds to do this before the game begins (it won’t wait for you), at which point the cards will be dealt and you must decide whether to play and place an extra bet or fold. This is handled in the same way as before, with the software bringing up both options for you to click on to make your decision.
Be aware though, that this decision is also on a timer and if you do not make a decision you will be auto folded, so keep your attention on the game.
Although the cards are on the table, the software will also display them digitally and indicate the best hand you have, as well as highlighting the winning hand when the outcome has been revealed.
Each game is played with a newly shuffled deck of 52 cards, and after each game round the deck is swapped out and placed into an automatic shuffling machine.
Two decks are used one after the other in this way, so while one deck is in use the other is being shuffled. This keeps the pace up and leaves the dealer free to deal.
In terms of how the software actually works, you will notice when looking at the cards that they have markings in the middle that look like barcodes or QR codes.
As each card is drawn from the shoe the dealer will drag it over a scanner. This scanner reads the information and tells the software the card’s suit and value, so the software then knows which cards to display on your screen. It can also immediately work out which hand has won.
3 card poker can be played for as little as 50p, although of course this is just the ante bet. To play the game round through to its’ conclusion an equal play bet would also be required so really the minimum bet is £1.
There are also a few side bets available which carry the 50p minimum, and either a £250 (pair plus) or £50 (6 card bonus) maximum depending on which one you go for.
At the other end of the scale the upper limit is £1,000, and again, this can be doubled to £2,000 if the player wants to complete the game.
This means 3 card poker is cheaper than games like Live Texas Hold’em which requires an ante, a blind, and then at least one play bet to complete the game.
There are two common side bets with live dealer 3 card poker; pair plus and 6 card bonus.
The pair plus bet will pay out if your hand reveals a pair or better, even if your hand is beaten by the dealer.
The lowest winning hand is a pair paying out at 1:1 while a mini royal flush pays out 100:1.
The 6 card bonus side bet takes all cards on the table into account, both yours and the dealer’s. From these six cards the bet pays out if traditional poker hands can be made from 3 of a kind upwards.
This can pay as little as 7:1 and as much as 1000:1 for a royal flush.
Live 3 Card Poker Variations
There are no true variations of 3 card poker out there for live casino players, but you can find a very similar game called 3 card brag.
The main difference here is just that the games are made by two separate companies, so the interfaces have minor differences but in essence the game is the same.
One slight alteration is that 3 card brag offers the player the option to play blind, which is to say you can place your play bet before the cards have been dealt.
Why anyone would want to do this is not clear though, because you would be putting yourself at a disadvantage with no perceivable upside for the extra risk.