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John Grochowski

John  Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field. Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago.

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3-5-7 Poker

28 Oct 2003

By John Grochowski

When a new table game is ready for prime time, the most likely breakout spots are the jurisdictions with the most table space available. That usually means Nevada or Mississippi.

So it goes with 3-5-7 Poker, now being played--where else?--in a few Nevada casinos and a few in Mississippi. Player response so far has been good. If the game shows staying power, figure Indiana operators, with bigger casino floors than their Illinois counterparts, to take notice.

The game has a lot of attraction for casinos. It's easy to deal, moves quickly and has players making at least two bets, and often three, on each hand.

For players, it has the same kind of attraction as Three Card Poker, Caribbean Stud or Let It Ride: it's easy to play, feels familiar since it's based on poker and holds the possibility of some fairly large wins with a few good hands.

The "3-5-7" refers to three-card, five-card and seven-card poker hands. Each player must bet on at least the three-card and five-card hands, and has the option of betting on the seven-card hand.

After bets are made, each player is dealt three cards and four cards are placed face down in front of the dealer. After seeing the first three cards, players have the option of surrendering half the seven-card bet and taking the other half down.

Each player's three cards then are used to settle the first bet. Three-card hand winners start with any pair and go through a three-card straight flush, with the following pay table:

Straight flush, 40-1; three of a kind, 25-1; straight, 6-1; flush, 4-1; pair 1-1.

Just as in Three Card Poker, straights pay more than flushes. That's because when only three cards are dealt, flushes occur about 1-1/2 times as often as straights.

Next is the five-card hand. Two of the cards in front of the dealer are flipped face up and they serve as cards Nos. 4 and 5 for each player. There is no dealer's hand to beat, a la Caribbean Stud. This is basically five-card stud poker against a pay table, something like Let It Ride without the "pull-back" decisions to make.

Payoffs on the five-card hand are as follows: Royal flush, 500-1; straight flush, 100-1; four of a kind, 40-1; full house, 12-1; flush, 9-1; straight, 6-1; three of a kind, 4-1; two pair, 3-1; pair of 6s or better, 6-1.

Finally, the dealer turns up the last two cards. The dealer's four cards plus the player's three give the player seven cards from which to make the best five-card hand, just as in seven-card stud.

Again, play does not pit player vs. dealer. It's strictly a matter of comparing hands to a pay table.

Since higher-ranking five-card hands occur more frequently when the player has seven cards to choose from, payoffs are lower on the seven-card hand than on the five-card hand.

Final payoffs are: Royal flush, 100-1; straight flush, 20-1; four of a kind, 7-1; full house, 5-1; flush, 4-1; straight, 3-1; three of a kind, 2-1; two-pair, with the high pair being 10s or better, 1-1.

In the entire game, there are only two strategy decisions to make: whether to bet the seven-card hand and whether to surrender the seven-card hand after seeing the first three cards.

As it happens, the seven-card hand has the lowest house edge in the game. House edges are 3.5 percent on the three-card hand, 4.1 percent on the five-card hand and 3.3 percent on the seven-card hand.

Should you make the seven-card bet? I'll leave that between you and your bankroll. All the house edges are a bit high for my taste. But if you do make the seven-card bet, never surrender. You'll give up more money in surrendering the bet than you'll lose by playing it out, no matter what your first three cards are.

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at

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