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Table Games 3 card vs 4 card poker

Discussion in 'Table Games' started by Sam in Ut, Jul 15, 2013.

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  1. Sam in Ut

    Sam in Ut High-Roller

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    I've seen the Crazy 4 poker and lots of the 3 card poker games in numerous casinos and wondered what experienced players of both games think or favor of the two. Thanks
     
  2. LAV

    LAV Tourist

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    Well, they both are considered house games as they have a much higher house edge than games like bj, bac, or pai gow.

    They both can be very fun, and if you are lucky and last long, you will earn lots of theo as well as a nice win if you hit a couple of jackpots.

    However, they both can make you lose your bankroll very quickly, if you are not on a run.

    Based on my observations (not scientific by any means), 3 -card poker tend to hit more 3 of a kind, paying you 30 to one, or straight flushes, paying 40 to one.

    It's harder to get a four card straight flush in crazy 4 poker, even though you have 5 cards to work with.

    Also, you have to place out more bets for crazy 4 poker. Frequently,even when you win, you actually push if they dealer doesn't qualify or you only win 1 unit even though you bet 4 units.

    Honestly, I really, really like crazy 4 poker, but it took a lot of my bankroll, so I have stopped playing it. I miss it though, but am too afraid to go back to it.

    Bottomline:

    They are both fun games, and you often will hear more screams coming out of 3-card tables as someone just hit a straight flush or 3 of a kind.

    They both can drain your bankroll really quickly (like all casino games, actually), but one big hit will get you right back.

    Both can earn you great theo, thus better offers and a chance to reach elite status quicker.

    Both have high house edge.
     
  3. kboltwkreations

    kboltwkreations Low-Roller

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    I love Crazy 4 Poker, its probably my favorite game, but it will drain your chips quick if you are not winning. You pretty much have to hit a straight or better to be winning and not breaking even each hand. When you only hit high cards or pairs every hand you are betting $40 to win $10 (on a $10 min table)... Also nothing frustrates me worse than hitting a good hand and being able to triple in the back and then getting beat.. Thats what kills your bankroll.

    I usually play 3 card as well, but always play blind because of the dealer not qualifiying more often. It just gets boring to me after a while.
     
  4. TommyToledo

    TommyToledo Low-Roller

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    I have had some good at four card and three card over the years but as indicated by previous posters, it can crush your bankroll fast if you can't get it going.

    Three card can be very streaky. I have been able to hit straight flushes and three of a kinds all over the place in an hour, and in another hour at another time it's all 9-high.
     
  5. topcard

    topcard Older than the Stardust!

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    Here's the thing about 3-card: It's a reasonably "mindless" game, and you can get healthy very quickly... but you must be able to survive long enough for that to happen.

    In my opinion, the best way to play is:
    1. $5 table, with $5 on the pair-plus and $10 on the ante.
    2. Stay in with Q-6 or better.
    3. Stay in with 'mystery cards' anytime you see a Q or better on the first or second card.
    4. Stay in with 1 mystery card if your 1st two cards are suited and reach.

    Because the dealer will not qualify about 1/3 of the time, it seems that the best way to take advantage of that is to have some blind-cards that, if you looked at them, you would fold according to the "Q6 or better rule".
    So, in my experience, it's more fun to do that when your odds of hitting something are better than not.

    Think about this hand:
    Your first two cards are the 3 & 5 of spades. So you stay in without looking at your third card.
    How many circumstances give you a win?
    33% of the time, the dealer will not qualify, so you will win $10 on your ante.
    There are 11 other spades in the deck, so you have an 11/50 chance of having one, or 22%.
    There are four 4s in the deck, so you have a 4/50 chance of having one, or 8%.
    There are, combined, six other 3s and 5s, and three off-suit 4s in the deck, so you have a 9/50 chance of having one, or 18%.
    There are, combined, eight Aces and Kings in the deck that, if you looked at it, you would have played anyway, 8/50 or 16%.
    And, finally, there is one 4 of spades in the deck, so 1/50 or 2%.
    So there are 28 total cards out of 50 that your third card could be which would keep you in, or 56%.
    If you add in 33% of the non-made hands as being ones for which the dealer does not qualify, (44% x .33), that's an additional 14%.
    56% + 14% = 70%.
    So, 30% of the time you will have crap and the dealer will qualify.
    70% of the time, you will win or have a hand that you would have played anyway if you looked at the third card.
    That is why I stay in on suited stringers even when they are both Jack or less.

    Now, let's look at staying with 1 or 2 blind cards after seeing a queen.
    You stay in with any Q-6 or better, so the odds of one of your cards being a 6 or better are 9/13 for each card, or 69%. 33% of the time, the dealer will not qualify, so of the 31% you do not have a 6+, the dealer will not qualify: (31% x .33) or an additional 10%.
    So, 79% of the time, you will win or have a hand that you would have played anyway if you had looked at the third card. And with two blind cards, that percentage goes up.

    I have found that by playing this way, I end up staying in on a lot of hands that I would otherwise have folded, but I end up winning instead because the dealer did not qualify. And yes, I keep track when I'm playing - I count the number of hands I would have unwisely (but "correctly") folded but didn't and the number of hands that, had I folded, I would have saved myself $10...nearly 100% of the time, (over the course of a session), I come out better playing the way I do.
    So, even though the 'wizard' says to fold any hand lower than Q-6, I have found that my variation on that strategy has helped me win (or push) more, overall.

    I've tried 4-card several times and I've lost every single time. So I no longer play it.

    (PS - next trip, it'll be a try at Mississippi Stud! I'll report the results after I get back!)

    Note: Remember that for that 30% I stay in and lose (when I should have folded), I am losing $20 instead of $10, so the 70% of the other hands - assuming I have no pair+, I am either winning $10 or $20.
    Effectively, that means out of 100 such hands, the odds are more like -$600 when I'm wrong and +$700 when I'm not wrong. So, it's really more like 54% vs the casino's 46%, rather than 70-to-30....still to my advantage, but I wanted to be sure that point was clear.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2013
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  6. rbspartan

    rbspartan Low-Roller

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    Over the years, Wife & I have graduated from 3-card to Crazy-4 to Ultimate Texas Holdem. Currently, I find 3-card a little bit boring... stay on Q-6-4, fold on everything less. Not much strategy. Moving to Crazy-4 ... bigger risk for bigger rewards ... and a not-so-obvious "when to fold 'em" rules. Moving on to Ultimate TH ... multiple decisions to be made, you're never out of it until the end... far more exciting (entertainment value).

    Today we play both Crazy-4 and UTH, and only play 3CP if their are no open seats at the other two.

    And as with ALL table games, you have to get THE CARDS to win.:beer:
     
  7. WrongWayWade

    WrongWayWade VIP Whale

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    That was a long explanation with odds of getting the 'mystery cards' in items #3 and #4, but that's just leads you to play some hands that you shouldn't.

    #3) If you see 3h and 4h as your first two cards, you should LOOK at your third card. If you have the 9 of spades, that's a big fold. You don't want to play that just because the first two are suited.

    #4) If your first card is a queen, LOOK at the other two. If you have 3,2, you should fold. Nothing is gained by playing part of your hand blind.

    #2) Specifically, the lowest hand you should play is Q-6-4.

    ==========
    This is a great game with a simple hold-card strategy. It's sometimes easy to find a dealer that exposes her bottom card when she deals, usually if you're sitting at 3rd base.

    If you see a Jack or less, play EVERYTHING (blind). This is because you always get paid on your Ante bet regardless of how bad your hand is, when the dealer doesn't qualify, which is now much more likely. (I usually will play these hands 'blind' without looking; that looks much less suspicious that looking and playing a crap hand. You'll see many players play every hand blind.)

    If you see a Queen, only play Q9 or better.
    If you see a King, only play K9 or better.
    If you see an Ace, only play A9 or better.
    If you see a face card but don't know which one, pretend it is a Queen.

    If you get the hole card every time, you're playing at a 3.2% advantage. You would only play the Ante/Play game and skip the Pair-Plus (which players will mock you for not playing.)
     
  8. TylerH50

    TylerH50 Low-Roller

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    Top Card,

    that is the best explanation I've ever read about 3 Card. 3 Card and Craps are my two favorite games on the floor. I rarely play BJ anymore because I always want to grab a seat at the 3 Card table. The last 2 trips I've won over $2K. Sure I had some losing sessions, but you will hit a Straight flush or 3OAK if you play long enough.

    Also, I play very similarily to you. I seek out the $5 min. tables, and play $5 on the PP and $10 on the Ante. If they are none available, I'll play $10 min, w/ $15 on the ante. If I get a Q or higher, I don't peek at bottom 2 cards. If I 2 cards to a flush, I don't peek at the last one. If I got a pair in my 1st two cards, I'd play the last one blind as well. However, I didn't look at my odds by staying w/o seeing all the hole cards. I just played blind in those scenarios because it adds excitement too the game for me.

    I'm sharing your tips with my buddies who play a lot of 3 Card too.


    As for 4 Card, I've been cleaned out the one and only time I played. Same as I was when I played Ultimate Texas Hold'em.
     
  9. grosx2

    grosx2 VIP Whale

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    This describes me perfectly. 3CP was always my main game, then started playing C4P. I just played UTH for the first time on my trip last week; this game SMOKES the other two in terms of enjoyment, plus you have a much better chance of winning, IF you follow proper strategy (and this is key, even if you aren't hitting many trips bets but are making the correct 4x raises on the ante bet and winning a chunk of them, you will have a good session). I still play 3CP in my local casinos since they don't have the other two, and I'll play a little C4P in Vegas since that's not out here as well. But from this point on, 90% of my table time in Vegas will be UTH. Check it out....
     
  10. Rush

    Rush High-Roller

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    The thing about 3 Card that kills most players, is making the same wager on 'ante' and 'pairs plus'.

    Your ante wager will win far more often than the pair wager will, so why would you just want to break even or win a tad on that wager?

    By at least doubling your wager as topcard suggested, you will stay in the game a lot longer, IMO.
     
  11. topcard

    topcard Older than the Stardust!

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    As to your first point, yeah - there is something to be gained: Approximately 1/3 of the time, the dealer will not qualify... which means that 1/3 of the time I would normally fold, I will end up net-winning $5 instead of losing $15... a $20 turn-around for each of those 33.3% of the hands.
    Now - to add to that, there is also a better than 50% chance (in some cases, MUCH better than 50%) that I will have a hand that, had I looked, I'd be playing anyway.
    So, over half the time, my not-looking makes no difference and a third of the time the dealer doesn't qualify.
    It's far better than just playing blind since part of that 'better-than-50%' has to do with the value(s) of my seen cards. (Having 3-4 of hearts is much better than having 3-4 off suit - which I do not play blind... I play suited stringers blind, as well as any Q-high or better, with mysteries ... that's it. Otherwise, I look at all three cards).

    Now, as to your second point - wow! I have never noticed, but I will definitely be looking for that on my next trip... I'll aim for third, which is typically unpopular, as every other player that sits down 'changes' the cards for that seat... but, since I don't care about that, I'll aim for third from now on to see if I can spot what your talking about.
    Thanks for the tip.
    :beer:

    PS - I guess that explains why the Nugget doesn't pull the dealer's cards until after all players have made their decision. I always wondered why.
     
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  12. WrongWayWade

    WrongWayWade VIP Whale

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    Your explanation of playing partially blind is interesting but it's just not mathematically sound. The extra hands you play (when basic strategy would have you fold) do not help you win more. You lose more on those hands. The Q-6-4 strategy on every hand has been 'proven'.

    And yes, some houses deal the dealer's cards after everyone has played to avoid the hole-card problem. That's how a lot of Europe plays Blackjack, The dealer doesn't get his hole card until the end.
     
  13. topcard

    topcard Older than the Stardust!

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    Actually having Q-6-4 or better on those hands happens a lot.

    So, the thing to look at is those few times when, had I looked, I would have folded.
    Let's say (for the sake of easy math), that I play a hand partially blind once every 4 hands. Out of those, we'll say that 1 of them ended up being a hand I should fold based on perfect strategy. And we'll say that I get 52 hands an hour. So, I would have 13 events per hour.
    For 1/3 of those events (4.33), the dealer doesn't qualify. That's a $5 win vs a $15 loss if I had folded - a $20 turn-around; $20 x 4.33 = +$86.60.

    For 2/3 of those events (8.67), the dealer does qualify and I lose $25 instead of 'only' $15 (had I folded) - a $10 difference; 8.67 x $10 = -$86.70.

    So, mathematically, it's a push due to rounding (4.3333333...vs 8.6666666...)

    Now, you probably would agree with that math for the Q-high blind. But what about the 3-4 of spades stringer?
    OK... the math:
    My third card can be any of the remaining 50 in the deck.
    Of those 50, how many give me a hand I would stay in on, had I looked?
    11 spades, 2 off-suit threes, 2 off-suit fours, 3 off-suit twos, 3 off-suit fives, 3off-suit kings and 3 off-suit Aces. That's 27 out of 50, or 54%.
    Add in the 3 off-suit queens for the vast majority of stringers (5-6 through 10-J), and it goes to 30 out of 50, or 60%.

    The blind Q-high has at least a 9/13 chance of being a Q-6-4 or better (69%), and that's not counting any small pairs.
    With two blind cards, we have only 2-3, 2-4, 2-5, 2-6, 3-4, 3-5, 3-6, 4-5 that give me a fold-hand. 8 'fold'' combinations versus 138 combinations that give me a 'stay-in' hand of Q-6-4 or better. 138/146 = 94.5%.
    (94.5 + 69)/2 = 81.75%

    I used a 75% number above when guessing how many partially blind hands end up being Q-6-4 or better.

    So, I'll stand by the notion that 'the math' does not disadvantage my method here.
    It may not help it, but it doesn't hurt it either.

    I'm not arguing against the Wizard's Q-6-4 threshhold... not at all. If one does look at all three cards, it is correct to fold anything lower than that.
    I've heard from my buddies that I should look, since the cards don't change just because I do or don't look at them.
    ~shrug~
    I know they're right, but this play gives me increased entertainment without giving the house any additional advantage, so I'll keep doing it.
     
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  14. WrongWayWade

    WrongWayWade VIP Whale

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    I know you're assuming something that isn't true (no increased house edge with your method), but I can't do all the math to prove it. I know this because you aren't playing Q-6-4. You've made a lot of assumptions in the calculations where the estimates are probably inaccurate. Your assumption that of these blind hands only 1 of 4 hands you should have folded looks pretty suspect.

    Also, your buddies' statement about not looking is pretty smart :) How can reducing the amount of information you have not hurt your chances?

    As you're only playing blind a minority of the time (and only on hands that still MIGHT be OK), you probably aren't giving up a huge amount. The main game has an edge of 3.37%, playing blind every hand is 7.65%. So you are somewhere between those two. I can see that the entertainment value goes up with this semi-blind strategy, if only because you're not folding as often.

    A thought experiment: You have 9s, 5h, 4h. You fan the 9s first and ultimately fold. You fan the 5 and 4 first and stay in. How can one decision not be worse than the other?
     
  15. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    I'm not going to bother to crunch the math, but I am guessing his house edge is still below 4% by doing these "sweats". I wouldn't do them obviously, but I can see this making the game a bit more exciting. 3CP has the most boring optimal strategy of them all. This along with ploppies goading you to play pair plus with a crap paytable keeps me away.
     
  16. topcard

    topcard Older than the Stardust!

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    Easy. Because if I look at all three, I fold & lose $15.
    If I fan the 4-5 of hearts first, I stay in.
    33% of the time, the dealer will not qualify, and I make $5 instead of losing $15.
    If that exact thing happens 6 times, I will (net) win $40 on the dealer non-qualifiers and lose an extra $40 on the 2/3 that I lose. Push.

    And, since you're pre-supposing the off-suit 9 as my third card, obviously this will skew my math.
    2/3 of the time I will lose an extra $10 and 1/3 of the time I will (net) win $20.

    As I already posted, if you actually look at all 3, then the Q-6-4 threshold is the correct play. The absence of knowledge of that 3rd card allows me to be in when the dealer fails to qualify.

    Now, by putting the off-suit nine there, you are eliminating the huge number of hands (60%) that I might have by not looking.
    You add those in to the 33% chance that dealer fails to qualify, plus the additional hands where he qualifies, but with something lower than my 3rd card, and you essentially get a "push" situation...actually, a sliver or two higher in my favor.

    But to each his own. I've found this to be a good strategy. YMMV.
    :beer:

    PS - quoted from the 'Wizard':
    "So the total combinations is (combin(10,3)-8)*( 43-4) = 6,720. The total combinations for Q-A high is simply 16,440-6,720=9,720."

    6720/9720 = 69% that the dealer will have Q+, and 31% that he wont.
    So, it's not quite 1/3 of the time, but it's close enough for me.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2013
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  17. WrongWayWade

    WrongWayWade VIP Whale

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    You bet $10 on Ante and $5 on Pair-Plus. How do you win $20 when the dealer doesn't qualify? (You really win only $5).


    How can reducing your knowledge of your cards make the wrong play (by your admission), the right play? If you saw all 3 cards and folded, you did so because that's your best bet, (you expect to lose more by staying in with lower than Q-6-4).

    I'm done belaboring the point, and your method can admittedly be more fun, but you're fooling yourself that by hiding some cards from yourself the wrong play becomes the right play (staying in when you should have folded), and that there is no cost to this strategy.
     
  18. shifter

    shifter Degenerate Gambler

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    The bottom line is that while the blind method can add some fun and intrigue to the game, it's most likely going to increase the ha. If you play any cards worse than q64 you're increasing the ha no matter if you've looked at them or not. No amount of reasoning is going to change that fact. Now it may only be a small increase but it's 100% going to make you less money in the long run. There's no denying that. But if it makes the game more enjoyable for you than more power to you.
     
  19. mdm4sfest

    mdm4sfest Low-Roller

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    This begs the question(well only for me)....who has $5 3CP on the strip. I will just guess Casino Royale for starts.
     
  20. topcard

    topcard Older than the Stardust!

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    It's a net-effect "win" of $20.
    If I fold, (as I'm 'supposed' to), I lose $15. By staying in when the dealer fails to qualify, I save the $15 loss & make $5. Net effect = +20.

    To your second question: I'm not really suggesting that it's a mathematically "better" play. I'm suggesting that, staying in with Q-blind-blind or 2 suited stringers + 1 blind, the odds of making a hand - mixed with the 31% probability that the dealer won't qualify - provides more wins than losses, but only when one factors in saving what would have been losses on hands that one would normally 'fold' - which is about 31% of such events.

    60% (suited stringers of Jack or less) to 90% (Queen with 2 blind-cards) of such events result in a hand that I would have played anyway had I looked. 31% of such events are hands where the dealer does not qualify.
    And: 31% of the hands that I would've folded - but didn't - result in a $5 win vs. a $15 loss.

    Now, it would be fair to criticize my inclusion of the hands that I would have played anyway. I get that.

    What I suspect you are not 'getting' is that if I knew the blind cards didn't give me hand, I would fold every time.
    It is the 'not knowing' that allows me to enjoy the events where I turn a $15 loss into a $5 win.
    Roughly 1 in 4 times when I play one of these, I end up having crap - and 31% of that 25%, I get the $5 win vs the $15 loss.
    The other 75% of the time, it makes no difference, since I would have played had I looked at all 3 cards.
    So, 75% + (31% of 25%) = 83% or so.

    That makes it seem like a 17% HA, but the cash-effect is not.
    Let's assume 100 such events.
    75 of them do not matter. Only 25 of them do.
    Of those 25, I lose an extra $10 on 17 of them (-$170) and I net-effect win $20 on 8 of them. (+$160).
    Now, if these were evenly distributed between 2 suited stringers, and Q-X-X, that would represent an additional $10 loss over the course of 100 such events. Small enough (10-cents each) for me to consider it worth the entertainment value.
    But they are not evenly distributed, as I end up seeing a lot more Qs as the first card than I see 2 suited stringers in the first two cards.

    In my experience, I seem to come out about the same or slightly better off by playing this way.
    And yes - I do track it when I'm playing.

    It takes two qualifiers to offset each non-qualifier. And when it comes out that way, it's a push...which what happens most of the time.

    So, every time I end up having a 'fold' hand that wins $5, I put $20 in a seperate stack. Every time I have a 'fold' hand that loses $25, I take $10 off of the same stack. (If I ever go into the negative, I create a seperate stack to represent that.)
    So far anyway, I've always had $10 or more left...or it ends up even.
    100% of the time.
    Perhaps I'm just lucky.
     
    Seems like forever from now, but the flights are booked, so it counts!
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