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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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Three-Card Poker Strategy Tips

20 Nov 2022

By John Grochowski
QUESTION: I have a question about Three Card Poker strategy for the ante-play bet.

The recommendation is that you match your ante with a second bet anytime your hand is Queen-6-4 or better. If you have no pairs, flushes or straights, your high card is less than a Queen, or if you have Queen-5-4 or less or Queen-6-3 or less, you fold.

Does that mean if you have Queen-6-4 or better you have an advantage? Do you expect to win money on hands you play and have the losses on hands you fold?

I don't mean you win every time, of course. But do you win more hands than you lose with Queen-6-4.

ANSWER: No. The strategy bar is set at Queen-6-4 because at that point your average result if you make the play bet is to lose less than your ante.

On any hand you fold, your loss is your ante.

For an average result to be a gain, you hand must win more than half the time. But cutting losses helps your bottom line, too, and you do that by betting hands that win more than 25 percent of the time.

Imagine you make 100 $5 antes and fold every hand. you risk, and lose $500.

Now imagine my cards are the same, but I make 100 $5 antes and 100 $5 bets, a risk of $1,000.

If I win 26 times, I get even-money paybacks of $10 on each winner, or $260 for the sequence. On those winners, I also keep my $10 in ante-play wagers for another $260.

At the end of the trial, I have $520 of the $1,000 I risked, leaving the house with a profit of $480.

I've risked more money than you did, and while I didn't win money, I lost less than you.

That's a familiar concept to blackjack players. If you're dealt 8-7 and the dealer shows a 10, you ht not because you expect to win money, but because hitting will lose less often than standing. So it goes on many hands. Strategies designed to cut losses are important to your bankroll.

QUESTION: You wrote that in 9-6 Double Double Bonus Poker, if you're dealt King of hearts, Queen of spades, Jack of hearts, 8 of diamonds and 4 of diamonds, you should hold all three of King, Queen and Jack.

I always thought the best play was to hold best play was to hold the two high cards of the same suit, King-Jack of hearts, and discard the other.

ANSWER: I have to plead insanity along with a touch of sloppy typing on this one. My intent was to make all three high cards of different suits -- King of hearts, Queen of spades, Jack of clubs.

The point of the column, as illustrated in other examples, was that it's almost always best to multiple high cards of different suits even though that eliminates the possibility of a royal flush.

The answer I gave, that the best play is to hold all three high cards would have been correct had I typed Jack of clubs.

Alas, that's the wrong answer for the hand actually defined. Dealt King-Jack of hearts, Queen of spades and 4-8 of diamonds, the best play is to hold the two suited high cards with an average return of 2.75 coins per five coins wagered vs. 2.45 for holding King-Queen-Jack.

There are exceptions, but it's usually best to hold multiple high cards of different suits. However, if there are two or more high cards of the same suit, hold the suited cards and discard others.

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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