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How to Play Three Card Poker Progressive

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Photo Courtesy (Nevada Casino History)

Three Card Poker Progressive Table

Photo Courtesy (Nevada Casino History)

Three Card Poker is a casino table game variation of poker invented by Derek Webb. The game is quite popular with over 1600 tables around the world. Learning to play the game of Three Card Poker Progressive will take the average reader less than ten minutes. Simply put, the best three-card poker hand wins! However, players may wager on four different bets, making the game more exciting.

The Game

Three Card Poker Progressive is played with a standard English deck of 52 cards. No jokers are used. Each player places their bets before the dealer delivers three cards to each player and themselves. Betting limits are listed at each table, but a $5 minimum is standard. There are two modes of play for the game: Ante and Play and Pair Plus. Many casinos allow you to play either mode or both.

The pair plus bet is independent of the dealer's hand and is played by placing a single wager within the pair plus circle.

Common Pair Plus Payoffs
  • One Pair 1-1
  • Flush 4-1
  • Straight 6-1
  • Three of a kind 30-1
  • Straight Flush 40-1

If a player's three cards do not contain at least a pair, the player loses their pair plus bet. The pair plus payoffs listed above have a house-edge of 2.32 percent, fairly low for a bonus-style bet, although other pay tables do exist. Most gamblers playing Three Card Poker also play the ante/play circles.

Ante and Play Bets

To play the ante/play, a player places a single bet inside the ante circle. Players will have the options of folding their hand and losing their ante, or matching the ante wager by placing an equal amount in the play circle. The dealer will then turn over their own three cards. To qualify for play, the dealer's hand must be at least queen high. If the dealer does not qualify they will pay each player's ante wager only. If the dealer does quality, they will pay or take each player's ante and play wagers depending on who has the highest hand.

Standard poker rankings apply, but a straight beats a flush since a flush is actually easier to make with just three cards. In addition, the house pays an ante bonus on three of the winning hands. There is no additional wager required for this bonus payoff.

Ante Bonus
  • Straight Flush 5-1 or 4-1
  • Three of a Kind 4-1 or 3-1
  • Straight 1-1
Mini Royal

A few casinos such as Wynn in Las Vegas, Borgata in Atlantic City and Talking Stick Resort in Arizona offer a special Mini Royal Ante Bonus.

Talking Stick Resort Mini Royal Ante Bonus
  • Mini Royal (Ace-King-Queen Suited) 50-1
  • Straight Flush 8-1
  • Three of a Kind 6-1
Strategy

Because the dealer needs to "qualify" in order to pay the play bet, there is some strategy to the game. The dealer qualifies on any hand that is at least Queen high. Therefore you should fold if you have a hand lower than Queen - 6 - 4 and play if your hand is the same or higher.

Progressive Bet

The progressive aspect of Three Card Poker is available on some tables. Players who wish to play to win the progressive jackpot listed at the table make a $1 bet each hand on the red, light-up circle. To win the jackpot a player must receive a Mini Royal in spades.

Progressive Payoffs
  • Mini Royal in Spades - Jackpot Meter
  • Mini Royal in hearts, clubs or diamonds - $500
  • Straight Flush - $100
  • Three of a Kind - $50

The $1 wager also has an envy payoff for players who are in the same hand when another player hits a Mini Royal. The envy pays $100 for a Mini Royal in Spades and $25 for any other Mini Royal.

Three Card Poker with or without the progressive jackpot is a fun and easy game to play. Casinos use a variety of bonus payoff schedules, so consult the charts found at the table.

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