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3-Card Poker a Popular Choice in Japan

2,556 Views on 14/11/20

Why is 3-card poker so loved in a country where gambling is restricted?

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Why is  3-card poker so loved in a country where gambling is restricted?  This poker game is perhaps the easiest to learn and win.  Anyone who plays a 3-card poker game likes it immediately. The house has a low edge, and the strategy is simple to master and execute well in the first game you play.  3-card poker is a very popular choice in Japan, where there are few options to play poker. 

Restrictive Poker Laws 

Japan’s old gambling laws restricted person to person games for profit. These laws cover many gambling games, including poker. Many tourists on a night out are usually surprised that there are no casinos in Tokyo or other big cities.

Poker fans who want to pay face to face have to look for an invite to one of the private poker rooms in which members are usually picked carefully.   There is the occasional poker game organized in poker social media groups.

If you want to play 3-card poker, you will play on one of the online casinos operating in Japan. Online casinos are able to offer a better gambling experience because laws do not restrict them. Not all casino brands offer 3-card poker, but luckily the people at 6宝くじ have compiled a list of the most popular online casinos offering the game.  

Online 3-Card Poker 

3-Card  Poker is a poker variant that was invented in 1994. The inventor of the game, Derek Webb, wanted a quick, simple game that offered good payouts. 3-card poker was the solution. It is an easy game that anyone who has never played poker can learn in under  10 minutes.  

The main difference between traditional poker and 3-card poker is that in  3-card poker, the  player plays against the dealer, instead of the other players at the table.  There are only two rounds of betting.   Japanese poker fans love playing  3-card poker online because it is simple to learn and offers quick action. You also do not have to wait for other players to come into the poker room. 

How to Play 3-card poker 

  • The player’s objective is to have a  hand that is stronger than the dealer’s;
  • The game starts with players placing an ante bet. A player can place a pair plus bet before the game starts. This bet will win if the player gets any pair. 
  • Each player and the dealer gets three cards each, face down
  • The players are allowed to look at their cards, but the  dealer’s cards remain face down 
  • A player decides to fold or raise depending on the strength of his hand. Folding means losing both the ante bet and the play bet. If a player decides to raise,  the play bet must be equal to the ante bet. 
  • The dealer  reveals his cards after the players are done folding or raising
  • The  players’ and dealer’s hands are compared to determine which hands win 
  • The dealer’s hand has to qualify with a Queen or higher. If  his hand is weaker than this, the player wins the ante bet, but the play bet is a push
  • The player wins if his hand is greater than the dealer’s qualifying hand. A win takes both the  ante and  play bet  
  • The dealer wins both ante and plays bets if his hand is greater than the player’s hands 
  • The pair plus wager is considered independently of the dealer’s hand. Any pair wins the bet.  

3-Card Poker Payouts 

The  standard payouts for  3-card poker are;

  • Straight Flush for 5:1
  • Flush  for 4:1 or 3:1 
  • Three of a kind for 2:1

3-card poker is also popular for the bonus payouts on the pair plus  wager; 

  • Straight Flush gets 40:1
  • Three of a Kind gets 30:1
  • Straight gets 6:1
  • Flush  gets 3:1
  • Pai gets 1:1

3-Card Poker Strategy 

3-card poker has perhaps the simplest strategy among poker games.  It is easy to memorize;

  • Play any hand above Q/6/4, and fold any hand weaker than this combination.  Having a hand stronger than this combination brings down the house’s edge to less than 3.5%
  • Do not bet blind.  Ensure that you have looked at your hand before deciding to fold or raise. Playing blind  raises the houses’ edge by up to 7%
  • Do not place a  pair plus wager because it raises the house’s edge by up to 2.3%

3-card poker is fun to play, and the payouts are very good. Japanese poker fans looking for a quick action poker game will continue loving this simple game.  Things can only get better with the easing of the gambling rules. 


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