Of all the hybrid table games that made up the “New Wave” of casino offerings in the 1990s, Three Card Poker reigns supreme.
And that was by design, at least when Three Card Poker’s inventor Derek Webb tells the tale.
In 1994, when both Caribbean Stud Poker and Let It Ride were taking the table game industry by storm, Webb wondered if he might be able to fuse the best elements of both games to create a casino classic.
Speaking to Global Gaming Business in 2017 as part of a retrospective on Three Card Poker’s rousing success; Webb explained how the first hybrid table games provided plenty of inspiration:
“I wanted to design a three-unit bet game that incorporated what I thought was the best of Caribbean Stud and the best of Let It Ride, and it was going to be naturally faster than Caribbean or Let It Ride.
But also, the design needed to make sure that we got the three bet units out more frequently than Caribbean or Let It Ride. And those two combined features meant that it could go with a lower house advantage than either of those games, and give the player a more positive experience, and at the same time, create a higher win for the operator.
So, in effect, you’re serving both sides of the table better than what was already out there.”
And boy did he ever succeed in that regard…
By blending a relatively low house edge (3.37 percent) on the base game with a more volatile Pairplus side bet (7.28 percent), Three Card Poker offers the best of both worlds for casinos and players alike.
Throw in one of the easiest basic strategies to master in all of gambling – in Three Card Poker, all you need to know is to make the “Play” bet with Q-6-4 or higher, while folding everything worse – and the game holds mass appeal for recreational players and sharps too.
While players nowadays might find one or two Let It Ride or Caribbean Stud Poker tables at their favorite Las Vegas haunts, you can expect upwards of 10 Three Card Poker games running at the same time.
And unlike those classics, the casinos haven’t done their dark magic to make the game worse for players. You won’t find any inferior pay tables or reduced payouts in Three Card Poker, just the beautiful game as Webb designed it all those years ago.
If you’re planning to visit the Las Vegas Strip anytime soon, and Three Card Poker is your game of choice, be sure to hit the three Sin City venues listed here.
1 – Caesars Palace Las Vegas Hotel & Casino
First things first… Caesars Palace in the heart of The Strip has the most Three Card Poker tables on Las Vegas Boulevard at 10. That means you’ll never be stuck waiting around to find an empty seat, even on the busiest weekend nights and holidays.
But while variety is indeed the spice of life, gamblers are looking for juicy life-changing jackpots – and Three Card Poker at Caesars Entertainment properties have that covered in spades.
Well, in diamonds if we’re being technical about it…
“Caesars Entertainment casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City are offering up a Three Card Poker “side bet” that’s too incredible to be ignored: Combine your three cards with the dealer’s three cards to make a six-card royal flush in diamonds…and fly home a millionaire.
Sound impossible? Tell that to the more than half-dozen players who’ve already taken home the million-dollar prize.
Oh, and if you score a six-card royal flush in a different suit, you won’t go away empty handed; you’ll take home $100,000. Not too shabby, right? (You can confirm this non-shabbiness with the dozen players who’ve taken home the $100k prize.)”
Take a look at how Caesars Entertainment describes its Six-Card Royal Flush Progressive Jackpot side bet attached to table games like Three Card Poker:
Breaking that advertising copy down, this amazing addition to Three Card Poker is known as the 6-Card Bonus side bet. For an extra $5 on top of your base Ante bet, you’ll be eligible to take home a progressive jackpot that seeds at $1 million.
And while the odds of landing the perfect 9-10-J-Q-K-A “Super” Royal Flush in all diamonds are quite steep against players – try 1 in 2,598,960 for a house edge of 18.10 percent – folks who can afford an extra $5 outlay have a chance win lottery-like seven-figure sums.
That’s exactly what happened at the Caesars Palace Atlantic City sister casino back in 2011, when an anonymous winner pocketed a cool milly after the cards cooperated like clockwork.
If you’re looking for a more local Las Vegas connection, the Caesars owned Flamingo on The Strip paid out $1 million to a San Diego tourist in 2017 thanks to the 6-Card Bonus.
And that’s the beauty of playing Three Card Poker at Caesars Palace. If the deck isn’t delivering there, you’re only a short walk across Las Vegas Boulevard from Caesars venues like Flamingo, Bally’s, Paris, and all the rest.
Jay Bean – the company’s Vice President of Table Games – made sure to link the million-dollar progressive jackpot on table games to all Caesars properties:
“By linking them citywide it only increases all our jackpots faster, resulting in millions of additional prize money awarded in Las Vegas.”
2 – The Venetian and Palazzo
I’ve got progressive jackpots on the brain now, so let’s stick with that script by covering the twin casinos Venetian and Palazzo.
And this one is much easier to bag too, as you only need a natural five-card Royal Flush to take home the bacon.
Just ask Sean Berry, who visited the Venetian from Ohio in June of 2019 to play Three Card Poker. After a few minutes of grinding, Berry spiked gin with a Royal Flush in clubs to win $1 million and change.
And because he only needed to use five cards, and suits weren’t factor, the odds of winning this Three Card Poker windfall are “only” 1 in 649,740.
According to Lance Gautreaux – Senior Vice President for Venetian and Palazzo parent company Las Vegas Sands Corp. – Berry’s score makes it five instant millionaires through just six months this year:
“The Millionaire Progressive has paid out more than $5 million this year. That’s five millionaires, made each from a $5 side bet. A huge congratulations goes out to all of our winners so far.”
As for the Three Card Poker tables, you’ll find three of them at $10 / $500 limits at Venetian, plus three more with slightly higher $15 / $500 limits at Palazzo.
3 – Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel & Casino
This one’s not exactly a surprise, but gamblers love to go back to the well, so the Flamingo makes the cut based on its recent progressive jackpot history alone.
But even if we leave aside the ultimate longshot of a 6-Card Bonus “Super” Royal Flush for a moment, the Flamingo is where it’s at for Three Card Poker fans.
And if the cards aren’t coming your way, there’s no better way to blow off some steam on The Strip than strolling through the flamingo enclosure alongside pink hued birds who couldn’t care less about wins or losses.
Once you get the hang of Three Card Poker, you’ll probably play the game for the rest of your casino-going life. Simplicity, elegance, plus strategy and skill elements alongside a progressive jackpot – what’s not to love? And if you love gambling it up on the iconic Las Vegas Strip, the three venues listed here are your best bet for enjoying your next Three Card Poker bonanza in style.