Tri Card Poker Strategy, Tips and Advice
Tri-card poker is a game that is picking up speed in terms of popularity and though it is not very well known yet, more and more people are playing every day, making this game one of the fastest growing online. The rules of the game are quite simple and if you've played the traditional game of poker in the past, this one will be a cinch. Of course, if you've never played poker in any of its shapes or forms before, this game is still one that will thrill you as it has the potential for great wins, a lot of strategic moves to make and the need for a little bit of luck. So how does it work? We'll explain.
Getting to know the game
Tri-card poker got its name from the fact that the player and the dealer only get three cards each. In the game, the player makes one of two bets (or both if they're feeling lucky) - either an ante-and-play bet (sometimes just called an ante) or a pair plus bet. What's the difference? The first is a bet that the hand of the player will be better than that of the dealer. This is pretty standard when it comes to most poker games (video poker being an obvious exception). As for the pair plus bet, this is a little more complicated. This type of bet is based on the quality of the hand the player has, rather than on whether the hand is better than that of the dealer. This is where the game is kind of similar to video poker in that the better your hand, the more you get paid out.
Of course, as with many variations of poker, you need to be aware of certain card variations if you want to succeed when playing tri-card poker. The better your hand is (according to the rankings below) the better your chances of getting a lot more cash. Here are the most important:
- The straight flush - the top dog as far as tri-card poker is concerned, a straight flush refers to a hand with three cards of the same suit in consecutive order.
- Three-of-a-kind - this hand is made up of three of the same cards.
- A straight - a hand with three cards in consecutive order that are not necessarily all of the same suit.
- A flush - comprises three cards not in consecutive order that are all of the same suit.
- A pair - made up of two cards of the same value (such as two sixes).
- One high card - a card that is higher than the value of the highest card belonging to the other player (if neither the player nor the dealer have any other combinations, the player who has the highest value card is the winner).
Once you understand the possible combinations available to you, you need to consider what type of bet you will make. As previously mentioned, there are two types of bets you can make and once you have made one, or both, of the bets, you will be given your cards. Once you've checked your cards, there are a number of ways in which you can play the hand. You can either keep playing, which you can do by placing another bet that is equal in value to the ante or fold, which means you lose all your money on the table (for both the ante and the Pair Plus, if you made both bets).
Once the bets are in, the fun really starts. When considering the ante hand, the dealer must have a better hand the player in order to take their money. But there are a few extra rules to take into consideration, especially when it comes to the ante. If the dealer doesn't have a queen, king or ace as their highest card, the player gets their ante paid out. If the dealer has those cards however, but the player's hand is better than the dealer's hand, the player gets their ante bet and play bet. Next, if the dealer has a queen, king or ace, but the player and dealer have equally ranked hands, all the bets are off and the player takes his/her money back. Finally, if the dealer has a queen, king or ace but the player's hand is worse, the game is done and the player loses their money.
If this sounds a little complicated, don't worry, play a few hands and you'll see how quick and easy it is to pick up. In addition to the above, players should also take note that if they have a certain type of hand, they could get more money. A straight for example, will pay out an even amount of money. Players who get three-of-a-kind will be able to claim a payout of 4:1, which those who hit the jackpot with a straight flush can claim 5:1.
A pair plus - is it worth it?
Getting paid out for a pair plus bet is completely dependent on the types of cards the player has. The dealer's cards don't even come into consideration when pair plus is played. The payouts for great hands work as follows:
- 40:1 for straight flush - considering this is the toughest hand to get, a high payout is a great motivation to place your bets on the pair plus.
- 30:1 for three-of-a-kind - also not too easy to get, this combination could result in impressive payouts.
- 6:1 for straight - get this combo and you'll have a decent payout.
- Flush at 4:1 - a flush is much easier to get than you think, especially with only three cards.
- Even payout for a pair - considering how easy it is to get a pair, the payout for this hand is relatively low.
Strategic tips from the players-in-the-know
Tri-card poker is a game that has a number of parts and that means you will need to think about dual strategies, for both the ante and the pair plus hands. The experts say that when placing your ante bets, always play or raise when you have a high queen or better. If you have a pair, an ace or king high, a queen high with a seven or better as your second card, or even a queen high with a six as your second card and a four as your third, play the hand. Any hands with values less than this simply aren't worth following through on.
As for the pair plus hand, keep in mind that the house edge is 2.3% which means the odds are very much in your favour. Pros say that if you're going to take advantage of the pair plus, always ensure you bet is the same as the ante bet. This ensures you're getting the lowest house edge and potentially, a bigger win.
There are some huge advantages to playing tri-card poker, not the least of which is that it's a fast and fun game with many opportunities to score an easy win. If you enjoy games that are a little off-centre and that will keep your mind turning as fast as your luck does, this is a game you simply have to try. Be sure to get to know the rules and form a strategy of your own as you go along.