Poker is a global game, and one that is as popular here in Australia as it is elsewhere. After all, if not for poker (and video poker, to be more specific) we wouldn’t have the word “Pokies”. Aussies still tend to lean more towards these electronic marvels than they do poker, but with a growing number of Pokerstars players hailing from Down Under, and with tournaments like the Aussie Millions attracting the big boys of world poker, this game has never been bigger in the land of Aus.
Some of the biggest names in Australian poker include former WSOP Main Event winner Joe Hachem, and International cricket legend Shane Warne, who took to poker as a way to keep up the excitement and the riches long after he had retired from the game that made him a household name.
The Texas Hold’em boom attracted a lot of new players to the game of poker, but many of these shifted to different poker variants after becoming tired of Hold’em for one reason or another. This pretty much makes Texas Hold’em a gateway game, and if that is the case, then games like Three-Card Poker are where the true gamblers converge. This game is popular in casinos and has been for a number of years, long before Hold’em found its way out of backrooms and into million dollar events. Three-Card Poker is the preferred variant for gamblers because of its ease, its simplicity and the fact that it can be played against the house, with a skilled player able to secure a small fortune with a little help from Lady Luck.
The rules of Three-Card Poker are very easy to understand, but only if you understand the basic rules of poker. If you don’t understand hand values — what beats what — and you don’t understand antes and bets, then you’re going to have a harder time of it. Still, even then, Three-Card Poker is easier to learn and to master than any other poker variant.
The game begins with the player making an ante bet. This is a small bet, the amount of which is defined prior to the start of play. The dealer then gives each player three cards, before dealing himself three cards as well. Only the player can see his or her own cards, and the dealer’s cards are left face down on the table.
At this point, the player can either fold or bet. A fold will end the hand, with the ante bet being collected by the dealer, before another hand begins (which in turn begins with another ante bet). If the player bets, then he must also make a “play” bet, which goes into a separate pot.
The players then turn over their cards. Firstly, the dealer needs to “qualify”, which means they need a queen high or better. If they do not, the player wins the dealer’s ante and the “play” pot will push. If the dealer does qualify then their hand and the player’s hand will be compared, with the best hand winning both pots.
This is a simple game, and one where your bankroll and bet size is the most important thing. The trick is to bet small and to fold often when your hands are poor, and to increase those bets and “get in good” when your hand is strong. Obviously, you are a slave to luck when you do this, but such is the way of things in poker. You can’t avoid this and the only thing you can do is to ensure that the odds are on your side.
Another good tip is to choose your game of Three-Card Poker very carefully, because not all of them are the same. The rules are usually very similar, but even the smallest changes can go a long way to increasing or decreasing the house edge. For example, some casinos, both online and offline, will expose one of the dealer’s cards, turning it face up. This wouldn’t typically mean anything in any other games of poker, because you need at least two cards to make a hand, but in Three-Card Poker, where it is essential for the dealer to have at least queen high, this can make a big difference. In fact, the house edge swings in your favor by as much as 3.5% due to this small change, so it’s definitely something that is worth looking out for.
Where to Play
So, where should the next generation of poker players head to practice their skills? Well, on sites like Royal Vegas Casino, not only can you use the money you win on pokies and table games to play poker with, but there are also a number of promotions to pickup, as well as a loyalty scheme that rewards regular play whether you win or lose.