Right, let’s not be fooled by the name, TriCard Poker is simply the name that Slot Madness use for what most of us call 3 Card Poker.
Although this is not one of Gamblers Pro’s favourites, it is still a very popular form of poker for both online and offline players due to it’s quick action and easy to understand rules.
So, let’s jump in and have a look at what exactly TriCard Poker is and more importantly …
How to play Tricard Poker
Below is an image (left) of the Slot Madness TriCard Poker table at the start of a game.
There are three betting options when you first begin a hand of TriCard Poker.
- Place a bet in the ‘ante’ circle only
- Place a bet in the ‘Pair+’ box only
- Place a bet on both of the above.
Just to make it clear, the ‘ante’ bet is against the dealer using the standard poker hand ranks to determine the winner. The dealer only qualifies with a hand holding a Queen or higher. If the dealer doesn’t qualify the player wins 1:1 on their ante and and the raise bet is simply returned. If the dealer does qualify and the player wins, 1:1 is paid out on both the ante and the raise bets.
The ‘Pair+’ bet is basically just you betting on what cards you will get.
The right hand image below shows the payout table which has NOTHING to do with the dealer’s cards. The Pair+ Payouts start at 1:1 for any pair, 4:1 for a Flush draw and go up to 40:1 for a Straight Flush. The Ante Bonus Payouts offer 1:1 on any Straight draw, 4:1 on 3 of a kind and 5:1 on a Straight Flush – remember, you can win this bonus payout even if the dealer beats you in the main hand/game.
Pretty simple so far! Let’s play a few hands just so we can see things in action. The image below shows that we have made an ante bet – we have decided not to play the Pair+ bet.
Once the bet(s) are placed, hit the deal button – both the player and the dealer get three cards each. The player’s cards are face up (kind of obvious) and the dealer’s are face down.
We now have two choices ‘fold’ or ‘raise’. According to the optimal strategy (see bottom of post), we should fold this hand, so that’s what we will do. And, as you can see, we would have lost the raise bet if we had continued (image below).
Let’s try again (well, a few hands later if I’m honest). Below you can see we have a 10 high straight so we will raise this hand. A raise is just another bet equal to the ante amount.
And, here we go, the dealer qualifies holding King high. Therefore, we win 1:1 on the ante, 1:1 on the raise and because it is a straight we win another 1:1 on the ante bonus payout. We would have won 6:1 on the Pair+ payout if we had placed that bet – but we didn’t.
And that’s basically all there is to it. As we mentioned at the top of the show, TriCard Poker is very popular partly because of its simplicity to play but it’s not one of our favourites. That being said, if you are on a hot streak, you can rake in a few bucks quite quickly. Naturally, the flip is if you’re cold, your pockets can empty at the same rate.
TriCard Poker Strategy
The optimal strategy is very simple, make the raise bet if you are holding Queen/Six/Four or better. Playing this strategy the house edge is 3.37%. Some players choose to simply match the dealer, which means playing any hand which contains a Queen or higher – this strategy raises the house edge to 3.45%. The silly approach is raising every hand – this brings the house edge up to 7.65% – although the casino manager will love you for your foolhardy approach, your wife might not be so understanding. Lastly, the house edge for the Pair+ bet is 3.49%.
Using either the optimal strategy or matching the dealer both offer a better house edge than Let ‘em Ride Poker which is 3.51% but there is no progressive jackpot with this version of TriCard Poker.
Why not try a few hands on the ‘play for fun’ tables at Slot Madness and see what you think? Check out the link below and as always, good luck to you all!