How to Deal Three Card Poker

Part 2: A Vegas Aces Guide

Playing the Game

Before you deal your first hand, scan the layout and make sure that all bets are placed in their correct betting areas and that there are no bets under the table minimum or over the table maximum. Be aware that Players aren’t allowed to bet on other Player’s hands. When everyone is done making their bets, the dealer will initiate the shuffle machine and a set of 3 cards will come out.

Some casinos have the Dealers start from the left hand side and go right, while other casinos will have the Dealer start from the right and go left, so make sure you know your house rules. The dealer will deliver these cards face down and to the dealer’s left hand side of the ANTE wager. The cards will be spread far enough apart that the players and the cameras can see all 3 cards clearly. Once the first set of cards comes out, no one is allowed to change or alter their bets. Some casinos only let players play one hand while other casinos allow them to play multiple hands, so make sure you know your house rules. As soon as the Players get their cards, they’re allowed to look at them. They don’t have to wait for all of the cards to come out of the shuffler before they touch them. The Dealers 3 card hand will stay in the shuffle machine disperse box until the players have either bet or folded. Some casinos allow players to show each other their cards & discuss their hand, while other casinos have a “No Sharing Policy” which means they can’t show their cards to any other Player.

Player is folding on 3 Card Poker

If the Player doesn’t like their hand, and they also have an ANTE wager, then they have the option to fold. When the Player folds, they forfeit all of their bets, and refuse to continue playing. In order to fold, the Player will do one of two things. They will either, gently toss their cards towards the Dealer or they will take their cards and push them under their bets and towards the Dealer. Normally, the Player would fold if they have three unmatched cards with the highest value being a 10 or a Jack. And even though that betting circle says Pairs Plus, it is not advisable to fold everything you have except pairs. Yes, I actually had a Player who did that. He folded hand, after hand, after hand and after a while I finally asked, “Do you mind if I check that?” and he replied, “Yeah, sure, it’s crap. No pair.” So I flip over his hand and he has a Straight Flush, the highest hand a Player can get. “Why are you throwing away a Straight Flush?!?” “Well, it’s not a Pair. I need a Pair to win on the Pair Plus.”

When the Player folds, the Dealer will immediately lock up their bet; placing their chips in the bank. The Dealer will then pick up their folded cards and spread them to the Dealer’s right of that Players betting area. By spreading the cards, the Dealer is proving to the camera that all cards are present and accounted for. Then the Dealer will then place these cards in the discard rack.

If the Player likes their hand, and decides to continue playing, then they will lay their cards in the square marked PLAY, and place their wager on top of them. Remember, the amount of the PLAY wager must be equal to the ANTE wager. Here’s a quick tip, Mike Shackleford from the Wizard of Odds told his readers that the best way to play this game is to bet on anything higher than a Queen, six, four and fold anything lower. Dealer has a Queen high

After all of the Players have made their decision, the Dealer will finally place the last 3 cards face down in front of him. The cards will be spread far enough apart that the entire card can be seen. The Dealer will then expose the cards, one-by-one, ranking them from highest to lowest. The Dealer will qualify with a Queen or higher. When the Dealer arranges his cards, it’s good for him to announce his hand and qualifications as well. For example, if the Dealer does not qualify, then he might say something like, “Dealer does not qualify” , or “No hand” , or “Dealer does not play” . If the Dealer does qualify, then they might say something like, “Dealer qualifies with a Queen high” .

Tipping the Dealer

Player tips the dealer

When tipping the Dealer, the Player will place the cheque to the right of the betting area. You’re allowed to place the tip on any wager you desire. Or you can just give the cheques directly to the Dealer. When trying to figure out how much to give, 10 % is normally a good place to start.

Every casino is different and at some casinos, if you place a tip next to the ANTE wager, you do not have to place a tip on the PLAY wager as well. However, at other casinos, the Player cannot bet a toke wager next to the PLAY area unless they have a toke wager next to the ANTE area, as well. Make sure you know your house rules.

As the Dealer, make sure the toke is placed to the left of the betting area. When completing the Take and Pay Procedure, always pay the Player’s bet first and the toke bet second. If the Player bets a toke on the ANTE and they get a qualifying hand, then the toke bet is paid the ANTE Bonus even if the Player has lost the hand. It’s good to get in the habit of thanking the Player every time they tip you, regardless of whether that toke bet won or lost. If the Player bets a toke on the PAIR PLUS, then the Dealer will get paid full odds for that toke bet; however, keep in mind that a lot of casinos have a maximum total payoff for the Dealer’s toke bet. Toke bets are not allowed to be parlayed. All toke bets must be taken down by the end of the hand.

Determining a Winner

Once the Dealer’s cards have been revealed, it is now time to turn over the Player’s cards and compare the two, to see who has won. The outcome of your future winnings depends on whether the Dealer qualifies or not. If the Dealer’s highest card is a Jack or less, then the Dealer does not qualify and their hand doesn’t play. When this happens, everyone’s PLAY wager is considered a Push and no action is taken on this bet. The Dealer will pat the table, just as they would if they were dealing on a Blackjack table. Some casinos will ask you perform a different hand gesture other than patting the table, so make sure you know your house rules.

After the PLAY wager gets pushed, everyone’s ANTE bet will get paid 1 to 1 or even money. If the Player qualifies, then the ANTE Bonus will be paid. The last bet is the PAIR PLUS and that will only get paid if the Player has a pair or better.

Getting Paid

Now, in order for the Dealer to qualify, they must get a Queen or higher. If this happens, then the Dealer’s hand is now in-play and it is the Player’s goal to try and get a better poker hand ranking then the Dealer.

So, if the Dealer qualifies and the Player’s hand beats the Dealer’s hand, then both the PLAY & the ANTE wagers would get paid 1 to 1, or Even Money. The PAIR PLUS would get paid depending on if the Player had a pair or better. If the Dealer qualifies but the Player’s hand loses against the Dealer’s hand, then both the PLAY & the ANTE wagers lose as well, and the bets are taken. However, the PAIR PLUS is not affect by the Dealer’s hand, so if the Player has a pair or better then they‘ll still get paid for it.

The ANTE BONUS is similar to the PAIR PLUS in that, these bets get paid regardless of the Dealer’s hand. So if the Player gets a Straight or better, then they will get paid on the ANTE BONUS even if the Dealer’s hand beats the Player’s hand and the ANTE loses.

If the Player’s cards and the Dealer’s cards are exactly the same, then this is considered a tie and the ANTE and PLAY will push, meaning no money is exchanged and the Player gets to keep their bet for another round. If the Player has a pair or better, then the PAIR PLUS will still get paid and the same goes for the ANTE BONUS, if the Player has a Straight or better.

If all of the Players fold, then they’re allowed to see the Dealer’s hand before the Dealer places it in the discard rack and starts a new hand.


The odds for the game are typically the same, however there are variations out there, so don’t fret if your casino has different odds then the ones I’m posting now. For the ANTE BONUS, if the Player gets a Straight then they’ll get paid 1 to 1, or Even Money. If they get a 3 of a Kind then the payout is 4 to 1 and if the Player gets a Straight Flush then they’ll get paid 5 to 1.

For the PAIR PLUS, if the Player gets a pair then they’ll get paid 1 to 1, or Even Money. If they get a Flush then they’ll get paid 3 to 1. However, remember when I said there were variations out there? Some casinos will pay you 4 to 1 on a Flush. For a Straight, you’ll typically get paid 6 to 1, however there are some casinos that’ll pay 5 to 1 for this rank. The 3 of a Kind pays 30 to 1 but in Great Britain, the casinos typically pay 33 to 1. And a Straight Flush will get paid 40 to 1, but in Great Britain it normally gets paid 35 to 1.

In Great Britain the house edge is 2.0% and the house edge on the PAIR PLUS is 2.7%. This is due to the odds that Great Britain offers, with a 3 of a kind paying 33:1, a Straight Flush paying 35:1, a normal Straight paying 6:1, and a Flush paying 4:1.

In Las Vegas, the house edge on the PAIR PLUS is 7.28%. This is due to the odds that Las Vegas offers, such as a Straight Flush paying 40 to 1, a 3 of a Kind paying 30 to 1, a Straight paying 6 to 1 and a Flush paying 3 to 1.

Take & Pay Procedure

When completing the Take-and-Pay Procedure, the Dealer will pick up the Player’s cards and spread them near the center of the table, next to the PAIR PLUS circle. Spread the cards far enough that the cameras can see them clearly. Pay the winning bets and take the losing bets, starting from the bet closest to the Player and moving your way towards the Dealer. For example, handle the PLAY bet first, then the ANTE BONUS, then the ANTE and the PAIR PLUS goes last. When paying the ANTE BONUS, make sure to pay it before you pay the ANTE and heel off the winnings to the side. Once the Take & Pay Procedure is complete, pick up the Player’s cards and place them in the discard rack before proceeding to the next hand.

If any of your Players gets a 3 of a Kind or higher, then you must notify the Floor and get his approval before paying the Player. Upon completion of the round, the Dealer will remove all of the cards from the discard rack and perform the single deck shuffle for that house. Here’s an example of a house shuffle. Riffle, Strip, Riffle. Then the Dealer will place the deck of cards in the shuffle machine and the machine will spit out new cards, and that’s when a new round will start.

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Game Security

Game Security and Table Protection are important factors of a Dealer’s job. The Dealer is the casino’s first line of defense against cheaters. Because of this, there are certain things the Dealer must look for in order to spot anything suspicious. As the Dealer, always keep your eyes on the layout and closely observe the way the players handle their cards and cheques. The cards must stay within the railing and in full view at all times. Players are only allowed to handle their cards, if they’re seated at the table. Watch the Player’s hands and listen to their conversations. Always be alert to irregular play, and be especially aware of betting amounts on 1st and 3rd base. Another situation that you might come across is, sometimes there are Players who try to create “Side Bets” amongst themselves; it’s your job to stop them and notify them that this behavior is prohibited on the table. If you have any troubles or are suspicious of anything, then notify your floor.

As with any game that has a shuffle machine, sometimes there will be misdeals and the dealer will need to know what to look for in order to properly notify their floor. If any Player or the Dealer has an incorrect number of cards, then this is a misdeal and the floor should be notified. When a misdeal occurs, the Floor will normally tell the Players that all of the cards are void and will be reshuffled for a new hand, however every casino is unique, so some floor might handle this situation differently than others. If a card is exposed, then this is not a misdeal. The Dealer will turn the card over and continue dealing. If the Dealer doesn’t take the last 3 cards, then this is also not a misdeal, however the Dealer is expected to notify the Floor and he’ll tell you what actions to take in order to handle this situation.

Another aspect of game security is Alert and Approval calls. For example, it’s good practice for the Dealer to announce “No More Bets” before pulling the cards out of the shuffle machine. After the Dealer has made this verbal call, the Players are not allowed to change or alter their bets. This helps protect the Dealer, in case a Player gets a ranking hand and then accuses the Dealer of going too fast and not allowing them to bet on the PAIR PLUS in time. The Player always has a story for why they should be paid and it’s entertaining to see how creative they can get. The Dealer can even take it a step further and verbally announce which positions did not play Pair Plus. For example, “No Pair Plus, positions 2, 3, and 5.” Casinos will typically want you to alert the Floor if there is a wager over $50 on PAIR PLUS or $250 on any other bet by calling out “Cheques Play”, and surveillance must be notified on winnings of $2,500 or more. But since every casino is different, your house might require you to notify them on different amounts, so make sure you know your house rules.

When you’re stuck on a Dead Game, there are a few tasks that you’re expected to complete. Take one of your decks and put it in the shuffle machine, so that is has finished shuffling and is ready, by the time a new Player sits down at the table. Take the second deck and spread it face down on the table in an arch shape, just as you would if you were dealing a single or double deck game of Blackjack. Straighten up your Bank so that all of the chips are in their proper order and arranged them in a way that the Floor can glance over and easily determine how much you have. If there is any trash on your table, now is a good time to clean up. Throw away all of the trash, napkins, ashes from the ash trays and empty bottles and once all of that is off the table, sweep the layout with a table brush. When the table looks nice and presentable, ask your floor for permission to push in your chairs, and once they give the okay go ahead and straighten the chairs up. While you’re standing on a Dead Table, be inviting by keeping your arms at your side and your hands on the table as you smile and make eye contact with people as they walk by. You want to be as welcoming and approachable as possible to passing guests, so please don’t scowl, fold your arms, make faces at them, stick your tongue out at them, make them feel intimidated, shoo them away, pick your nose, or do anything else that would purposely keep players away.

Decks will be changed every two hours. Complete the same procedure for changing the deck, as you would if you were dealing on a blackjack game. After you’ve inspected, washed and shuffled the first deck, put it in the shuffling machine and start the same procedure with the second deck. The casino will tell you how to complete a quick shuffle for your house; however, if you want an example of a quick shuffle then here you go: Riffle the deck, then strip it, then riffle one last time before placing it in the shuffle machine.

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