3 Card Poker has plenty of action on its own, but some people want more. No, we’re not talking about Pairplus; even though it’s usually not a great bet, just about everyone at the table is always playing it, and since it’s built into the game, it can hardly be called a side bet.
Three Card Poker side bets are other bets that you’ll find on a 3 Card Poker table, which aren’t actually part of the main game. At the moment, you won’t find these at most casinos, but since side bets usually make the casinos a lot of money, you should see more and more of these popping up in the next few years.
3 Card Poker Progressive is a $1 side bet that pays off based on the strength of the hand you’re dealt. If you win, you’ll earn the following amounts (the player doesn’t get the dollar back, even when they win):
Mini Royal (Spades): Jackpot
Mini Royal (Any Other Suit): $500
Straight Flush: $100
Three of a King: $90
If you’re not familiar with the term “mini royal,” it refers to a straight flush using the ace, king and queen. There is also an envy bonus, which pays off if one of the other players at the table makes one of the bigger hands. The payoffs for the envy bonus are usually as follows:
Mini Royal (Spades): $100
Mini Royal (Any Other Suit): $25
While the house edge is usually quite high, this game can sometimes be a good gamble if the progressive jackpot is high enough. To be exact, the game has no house edge (meaning you’d expect to break even in the long run) if the jackpot is $11,520; the total can be $175 less for each other player at the table, because of the occasional envy bonuses you’ll pick up. If the jackpot gets any higher than this, then the player has the edge, and you absolutely should play this bet!
A similar side bet is sometimes offered without the progressive jackpot, simply offering a large amount – say $4,000 – for a mini royal in spades. These 3 Card Poker side bets have very high house edges, often in the area of 40%. These bets should be avoided, unless you’re just looking for a fun way to use a few $1 chips!
One other Three Card Poker side bet is known as Six Card Bonus. In this game, you use your cards along with the dealer’s to make the best five-card poker hand possible. This bet offers a payout chart similar to this one:
Royal Flush: 1,000-1
Straight Flush: 200-1
Four of a Kind: 50-1
Full House: 25-1
Three of a Kind: 5-1
You might be surprised to know that even with the sixth card, you’ll only make a winning hand about 7% of the time! Even though the payouts for each hand may seem generous, overall this side bet has a rather high house edge of about 15%.
As in most casino games, 3 Card Poker side bets should usually be avoided unless specific circumstances (such as a very large progressive jackpot) make them worthwhile. Side bets almost always exist simply to get more money out of gamblers who don’t know any better and haven’t looked into the odds of the games they’re playing. By sticking to the regular 3 Card Poker bets, you’ll give yourself the best chance of winning.