Strategic Principles of Vegas Three Card RummyBy: Mark Freedman, Thursday March 5th 2015
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Vegas Three Card Rummy is a very atypical game that plays a lot like casino poker. A lot of players really enjoy it because it's set apart from other casino titles because of its atypical scoring system and interesting gameplay. What we want to do for you here is lay out how this game is played so that you feel comfortable starting up with it while also explaining the strategic principles of the game and what it takes to maximize your overall payout rate. This isn't an exceptionally difficult game to learn to play well, but it is a game where it's easy to make mistakes just because you aren't paying close attention.
You start off by choosing between the ante bet and the bonus bet. The ante bet is always better, so make that one while skipping the bonus bet. You and the dealer are both dealt three cards, but the dealer's are face down. The first thing you need to do is figure out your score. Aces are worth one point, face cards are worth 10 points, and all other cards are awarded points based on their rank value. The exception to this is that paired cards, three of a kind cards and consecutive cards that are suited are worth zero. You're trying to have a lower total than the dealer.
Once you see your cards, you have the option to raise or fold. Raising has you add another bet to the game that's the same size as the ante. If the dealer has more than 20 points, then he doesn't qualify. In this case, the ante pays 1:1 and the raise pushes. If the dealer qualifies and the player wins with a lower total, then both the ante pays 1:1 and the raise pays according to a table based on how many points the player has. Having 0 points pays 4:1, having 1-5 points pays 2:1, and having 6+ points pays 1:1.
The key to playing this game well is to raise when you have 20 or fewer points. You're essentially copying the dealer's strategy, but it happens to be the best possible way to play the game. Your mistakes are all going to come from miscounting the point totals for your hand, so you have to pay close attention. Overall, this isn't a game you'll want to play if you're having a hard time focusing.
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