THREE CARD POKER:
by Kenneth R Smith
Tournament expert Ken Smith has appeared on all four seasons of GSN's World Series of Blackjack, and had several appearances on the Ultimate Blackjack Tour on CBS. He is the author of the e-book.How to Win More Blackjack Tournaments: Tips, Tricks, and Strategies to Supercharge Your Game. Ken hosts the popular website www.BlackjackInfo.com as well as the online tournament community at www.BlackjackTournaments.com. You can subscribe to his free email newsletter at http://www.blackjackinfo.com/news/. Ken also recently released his new pocket blackjack strategy cards, which are available in our BJI store.
Three Card Poker tournaments are offered in many casinos, but little has ever been published about the strategies appropriate to these events. While many of the general tournament ideas apply across all games, three card poker certainly has twists unique to that particular game.
In my experience, the level of expertise shown by typical three card poker tournament opponents is lower than in blackjack events. Perhaps that is due to a relative dearth of information on the game, or perhaps it is just that players have less experience playing the game. No matter the reason, the lack of experience at tournament 3CP means a bigger edge for the skilled player.
I often hear blackjack tournament regulars criticize three card events as being too much about luck. Admittedly, the game can be very frustrating. Positioning your bankroll perfectly for the last few hands means nothing when one of your opponents catches a straight flush with a big Pair Plus bet working. With a top payoff of 40:1, it can be virtually impossible to catch one of these lucky players when they hit late in the tournament rounds. Despite the frustration factor, three-card events offer some of the best opportunities available now. You'll just have to put up with the occasional bad beat to capture the profits.
Let's get on with the advice, starting with some general topics...
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