Discount Gambling

Face Up ™ Three Card Poker @ Casino Pauma, CA

Posted in three card poker by stephenhow on July 30, 2011

Three Card Poker Logo
They’ve added a new Three Card Poker table to Casino Pauma, and I got excited when they said they exposed a dealer card. However, unlike the Three Card Poker at Ocean’s 11, they don’t pay the Ante if the dealer doesn’t qualify 😦 They remove the Ante bonuses, so while you get to see a dealer card, it still ends up being worse than regular Three Card Poker. The Wizard Of Odds posts an optimal strategy that yields a 4.3% house edge, while the simple strategy below returns a slightly worse 4.6% house edge. All-in-all, I’d rather have the regular game and it’s more reasonable 3.4% house edge.

Face Up ™ Three Card Poker Basic Strategy
Hand Decision
Losing hand Fold
Pair or Better Play
Ten-high or less Fold
Jack-high Play if your 2nd card higher than the dealer upcard; else Fold.
Queen-high Play against a lower dealer upcard, and play Q-9 against a Queen upcard; else Fold.
King-high Play against a lower dealer upcard, and play K-9 against a King upcard; else Fold.
Ace-high Play against a lower dealer upcard, and play A-9 against an Ace upcard; else Fold.

I looked into the benefit of collusion on Jack-high decisions, and found only a few tenths of a percent improvement. Unlike Caribbean Stud, where collusion improves the return by 6.5%, the effect of dealer qualifying is not that dramatic in Face Up Three Card Poker. So, there’s no practical point of colluding here.

4 Responses

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  1. jet said, on July 21, 2012 at 10:35 am


    You numbers for the expectation on the basic strategy game are incorrect. This is primarly due to an incorrect description of how the game works. The game works as follows:

    The Player places an ante bet and a MANDATORY BLIND BET THAT MUST EQUAL THE ANTE BET. The Player receives 3 cards and the dealer receives 3 cards of which one of them is face up, while the other two are face down. The player examines his hand and if he has a hand that is at least as strong as a pair, can place a play bet up to 3X his ante, call by placing a 1X play bet, or fold. If the players hand is lower than a pair then he has two options, he can either place a 1X call bet or fold his hand. Then the dealer reveals her remaining two cards and resolves the hands. The dealer qualifies with a hand of Queen high or higher. If the dealer qualifies, then all bets are in action and are paid even money if the players hand is stronger than the dealers hand except the blind, which is paid according to the following pay table:

    Player hand must beat the dealers hand!!
    Hand Payout
    Royal Flush 100 to 1
    Straight Flush 8 to 1
    Three of a Kind 6 to 1
    Straight 3 to 2
    Flush 1 to 1
    Pair or lower Push

    If the dealer fails to qualify, then the ante bet is pushed, the blind bet resolved by the above table (if your hand is lower than the dealers non-qualifying hand, you will LOSE YOUR BLIND BET), and if your hand is stronger than the dealer non-qualifying hand, you will get paid even money on your play bet (This is essentially the same procedure as Ultimate Texas Holdem’).

    The game you described above is simply not how Ultimate Three Card Poker Face up works. Furthermore, the strategy is different because an immediate fold results in a loss of 2 antes, not 1 like normal three card poker. The following strategy produces the optimal “return”:

    Dealers Up Card Call if hand is higher then: (ALWAYS RAISE 3X on PAIRS!)
    2 T32
    3 T43
    4 T54
    5 T65
    6 T65
    7 T75
    8 T83
    9 T92
    T T92
    J J92
    Q Q84
    K K83
    A A85

    The following strategy produces an EV of -0.0389475. I programmed a C++ macro to cycle through all 1,221,511,200 combinations. The program takes about 5 minutes to run.

    I also have calculated the EV when two of the dealer’s cards are known. This game has an EV of about 9% using the optimal strategy. If you are interested in it, send me an email.

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