Otherwise known as three-card poker or tri-card poker, this game is a variation of poker that is played in casinos. It can be divided into two different variations of poker which are in fact, two separate games – “Pair Plus” and “Ante and Play.” Players can generally choose to play one or both of the games. Some casinos will require players to place an ante bet in order to be able to bet on the pair plus part of the game. Here, we will focus on the simpler of the two game variations – pair plus.
In a nutshell, the way that pair plus works is that you place a bet, the dealer deals you a hand and you are paid out according to what you hold. Each player is dealt three cards. There are no difficult decisions to be made by the players, except for the wager that is to be placed before the cards are dealt. You are not playing against the dealer and it is irrelevant if the dealer qualifies for play or not – in pair plus, you are simply betting on whether you have a pair or better. There are also no rules, effectively, except for the payout schedule. The payout is calculated according to the poker value of the cards that the player is dealt.
Hands are paid out as follows:
straight flush 40:1
three of a kind 30:1
straight 6:1 or 5:1 (A payout of 6:1 used to be the norm among casinos, however, it is now more common for them to pay out
5:1, at least in Las Vegas. There are only two casinos in southern Nevada that still pay out 6:1 for a straight – Lady Luck in Vegas and the Pioneer in Laughlin.)
There is an overall house advantage of 2.32% in pair plus poker three.
Straight flush has a probability of 0.22%.
Three of a kind has a probability of 0.24%.
Straight has a probability of 3.26%.
Flush has a probability of 4.96%.
Pair has a probability of 16.94%.
Overall, the probability of a win in pair plus is 25.61%, with a loss probability of 74.39%.