Discount Gambling

Ultimate Three Card Poker (Face Up)

Posted in three card poker by stephenhow on July 23, 2012

Thanks to reader Jet for pointing out this new ShuffleMaster ™ game. I ran a quick analysis this morning to check his numbers, and of course to check for any collusion possibilities. An optimal strategy yields a -3.8807% return, and we pretty much came up with the same basic strategy (differences arise from suit assumptions). You should 3x raise all pairs or better, and 1x call according to the following table.

An ideal collusion simulation with 6 confederates yielded no practical gain 😦 This probably makes sense, because you can’t really take advantage of collusion information when they limit 3x raises to pairs. Perhaps you can get a slight edge on some 1x/fold borderline cases, but it doesn’t amount to anything significant.

Jet has a hole-carding strategy that yields 9%, which you can contact him for.

Ultimate Three Card Poker (Face Up)
Dealer Upcard Min Calling Hand
2 98x
3 Txx
4 T4x
5 T5x
6 T6x
7 T7x
8 T6x
9 Txx
T T84
J J84
Q Q84
K K84
A A85

13 Responses

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  1. Hunterhill said, on July 23, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    Thanks stephen and Jet . Jet could you send me the holecard strategy ?

    • jet said, on January 20, 2013 at 4:09 am

      Hey Hunterhill,

      I am trying to send you an email, but they are bouncing. Can you send me a short email so I can reply.


  2. James said, on July 23, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    hi, Jet/stephen. Could you send me the optimal strategy when 2 of dealer’s cards are known ?

  3. jet said, on July 23, 2012 at 9:22 pm


    I haven’t written down the strategy yet. I just had the computer generate the EV based on every combination of your 3 cards and the two known dealer cards. I anticipate that a chart of the dealers high card and a dealers low card and the trigger hand will capture the overwhelming amount of the increase in EV from one additional card. However, there may be some other hands to fold or raise depending on whether the dealer is suited or how many straight outs you have or if you have matches to the dealers cards. I need to study this more and unfortunately don’t have the time right now. My gut tells me that a “simple” strategy will probably be on the order of 8.5%. Once I develop this, I will email to anybody who contacts me via email and that I feel I can “trust” them.

    • stephenhow said, on July 24, 2012 at 5:47 pm

      Cool. It’s always good to know what the “theoretical max” EV of a technique (e.g., hole-carding) will yield. I’m not really surprised that knowing 2 of the dealer’s 3 cards yields only a 9% edge. And in practice, I doubt that the hole-carder will get 100% accuracy on the hole-card suit. Suit info is important, since it can indicate a high probability of a dealer flush. I wonder how much info a typical hole-carder gets from a weak dealer. When I’ve seen a flash of the dealer hole-card, I’ve often been very mistaken on what the card really turned out to be.

      • Hunterhill said, on July 25, 2012 at 7:02 am

        I agree,and not only suits, but distinguishing picture cards can be very tough also.

      • jet said, on July 25, 2012 at 9:43 pm

        Ahhh, I don’t make mistakes on what the card is that often (accuracy with flashers is >99%). Its like anything you do in life: practice, practice, practice!!! If you can’t make out the card often enough with a particular dealer, then…..DON’T PLAY THAT DEALER!!! She’s too “fast” for you son! Move on for “greener” pastures.

        If you don’t know what I mean, well, you haven’t been “practicing” enough

        In regards to this game, I don’t suspect knowing the suits will be that important. Don’t worry guys, as promised I will eventually come up with a “simple” strategy that doesn’t incorporate suits, straight out, or dealer matches that will probably capture 80-90%+ of the gain over BS.

        A bigger problem will be folding pairs. Just think about it, you hold a pair of 3’s. The dealer has a 7 up, 7 in the hole. You fold your 3’s obviously. But what does BS say to do….RAISE!!! Now here comes the hard part, you fold the 3’s and forget to tell the dealer to muck your fold, or say the dealer is required by house procedure to reveal all mucks (to check for bonus bets, make sure three cards are returned, ect.). She sees that you folded a pair and questions you. Now, in my opinion, no matter what you say, (e.g. I though I had a 2 and a 3, or I only looked at 1 card, ect.), once the dealer flips over her other two cards, you will most likely get a strange look by the dealer, or even worse and more likely, a whole bunch of gossip from other players at the table. To that end, you may be forced to raise all pairs, even losing ones, and absorb the penalty. In anticipation of this, I ran a sim that with still computer optimal play, but raising all pairs regardless of the dealers 2 known cards, your E.V. is still around 7.5%. Not bad in my opinion!!

        By the way, I have actually never played this game, because it isn’t around any of the stores in my area, anybody know where it is offered?

  4. jet said, on July 25, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    If you guys would like to discuss further on this game or any other games, please contact me via email.
    I don’t think its a good idea to discuss so much “sensitive” information on a public forum.

  5. CK said, on July 28, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    FYI, Grosjean covers proper 3 card poker strategy with 2 known cards in Beyond Counting Exhibit CAA.

    Also, the Ocean’t 11 game that Steve simulated a while back has a face up card. Their dealer procedure is to flip up what is the bottom card, rendering hole carding useless. I think it is safe to assume that the procedure will be the same for this game.

    • jet said, on July 29, 2012 at 9:11 am

      The 2 card strategy for this game is slightly different then the one JG covers due to the effect of having a blind and ante bet.
      As for the dealing procedure, you are probably right, considering that the same procedure is applied on Caribbean Stud at the Casino near me. However, never under estimate the “stupidity” of a Casino operator. Just in case you ever run into this “game”, it is good to be prepared. Good luck

      • CK said, on July 29, 2012 at 11:12 am

        Yeah, agreed. It is also fun just to know what is possible. BTW, the Ocean’s 11 game flipped the top card for the first 2 weeks. 😉

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