Tri Card is extremely popular among beginners, and veterans often recommend this variant to those who are yet to master the fine art of poker. Thanks to the simplified structure, the game provides comfortable gameplay for the players who are still in the learning curve, while more experienced poker aficionados will enjoy the dynamics of the fast pace sessions. According to some sources, the game bears a strong resemblance to Teen Patti (aka Indian Poker) and British Brag, however, the official developer of Tri Card is a UK native Derek Webb who introduced it to the USA market in the 90s.
The Basic Rules Of Tri Card Poker
In Tri Card poker, the players’ rival is the house and the session starts with the Ante bet. Pair Plus side bet can be either mandatory or optional while wagering on the 6-Card Bonus is entirely up to the player. The session is initiated when all bets are submitted, at which point the dealer will deal three cards for the player and another 3 for the house (facing down).
The players will then have two options:
- Continue playing, which will automatically add new bet that’s equivalent to the Ante or
- Fold and forfeiting the initial bet.
If you choose to continue, the round can end in one of the following ways:
- Dealer fails to qualify (one Queen is all it takes for the dealer’s hand to be competitive) and the player recovers both the Ante and the Play bet
- Dealer qualifies and outranks the player, collecting the Ante and the Play bet
- Dealer’s and player’s hands have the same rank, and the player recovers Ante and the Play bet (push play)
- Dealer qualifies but the player’s hand is stronger, and the bets are settled according to the paytables below
Side bets are settled independently from the Ante bet, according to the separate paytables.
Hand Ranking and the Payout Odds
Straight hand outranks the Flush in Tri Card poker, due to the fact that Flush has a higher frequency rate. Both Ante and Play bet produce even pay, while Ante Bonus is a payout rate applied to the Ante bets that result in Straight Flush or a higher ranked hand. Detailed representation of the payouts can be found in the tables below:
Ante Bonus Pay Table, Rank and Pay Table:
- Straight Flush – 5:1
- 3 of a Kind – 4:1
- Straight – 1:1
Pair Plus, Rank and Pay Table:
- Straight Flush – 40:1
- 3 of a Kind – 30:1
- Straight – 6:1
- Flush – 4:1
- 1 Pair – 1:1
6-Card Bonus bets are paid as follows:
- Royal Flush – 1000:1
- Straight Flush – 200:1
- Four of a Kind – 50:1
- Full House – 25:1
- Flush – 20:1
- Straight – 10:1
- Three of a Kind – 5:1
Optimal Strategy and House Edge
The house edge (when the optimal strategy is applied) is 3.3% for Ante and Play bets or 2.3% for Pair Plus bets. Here are some of the main principles of the basic Tri Card Poker strategy which will help you reduce the edge:
- Play whenever you hold Q-6-4 or a stronger combo. Otherwise, fold.
- Play if you hold a Queen-high card with 7 as the second highest card
- Play if you hold a Queen-high card with 6 as the second highest card and 4 or 5 as your third card
- Fold if you hold a Queen-high card with 6 as the second highest card and 2 or 3 as your third card
- Fold if you hold a Queen-high card with 5 (or lower) as the second highest card
Tri Card Poker falls along with some other types of poker as being some of the easiest games at the casino, but also some of the most fun. Yet, throw in the optional 6 card bonus and you’ve got a great game with a nice learning curve for the newer player that is still learning the hand ranks. This guide should get you on your way to playing along and hopefully bringing in all the winnings!
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