Playing 3 Card Rummy

3 Card Rummy, also known as Vegas Three Card Rummy, is a popular casino game composed of a few different games. It incorporates factors from poker and casino table games, rolling all of these different aspects into one, creating a unique game that’s now available at many online casinos around the world today.

While it may seem like a confusing game at first, 3 Card Rummy is a pretty easy game to master, and the only thing getting in your way of playing is the fact that it’s not available at all online casinos yet. However, it’s a lot more common at online casinos than it is at land-based casinos.

The game is played with a single deck of cards — a standard 52-card deck — although if you do find it offered in land-based casinos, it’ll typically be played with a shoe of between 6 and 8 decks of cards. While it’s unsure exactly where 3 Card Rummy originated from, it was first seen online around 15 years ago; Microgaming and Cryptologic both offered variations of the game.

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How to Play Three Card Rummy

One of the best things about Three Card Rummy is that it’s elementary to learn, play and master, and if you already know how to play certain other Rummy games, you’ll pretty much already know how Three Card Rummy works and how to play it. The game begins with you, the player, placing an ante bet. Once you play this bet, the dealer will then deal three cards to you, the player, and three to himself.

All of your cards are dealt face-up, while the dealers’ are dealt face down. Once the cards have been dealt (provided your ante bet is still running), it’s time for you to read your hand. Your hand’s value directly corresponds to a points-based system, and the points are equal to a card’s pip value, while aces are worth one and all face cards are worth 10.

For example, if you were dealt a hand of 6, 2, 5, your hand’s score would be 13. However, a high score isn’t a good thing as, in Three Card Rummy, it’s the lowest score that wins. So, if your hand is worth fewer points than the dealer, you win — it’s that simple.

Now, there’s also something called pairs and sets; for example, if your hand consists of two or more cards of the same rank (not the same suit), then the value of the matching cards decreases to zero, something that you don’t see in poker-value-based games. 

If your hand has two or three cards of the same suit and in a sequence, then the value of all three cards drops to zero. Once you’ve read your hand, you’ll need to decide whether to play your card or fold it. If you choose not to play, your ante bet is lost, and the dealer’s hand wins.

However, if you choose to play, you’ll need to make a play bet. The play bet is equal to the ante bet, so if your ante bet is $5 and you want to play your hand, the play bet would cost you an additional $5. Once you’ve made your decision, the dealer will reveal his cards, and the two hands are then compared with the lowest-scoring hand winning.


Winning Combinations & Payouts

There are a few different things to take into account when playing Three Card Rummy, and now that we’ve covered the rules of the game, we’re going to be looking at the winning combinations and payouts. When it comes to payouts, the first thing you should know is that if your hand beats the dealer’s hand, the initial bet is paid out at a rate of 1/1. The optional bonus bet is also paid, but this is something that we’ll cover in the section below.

The dealer also needs to qualify; this is done automatically in internet casinos, so you don’t need to worry about it, but we’ll tell you about it anyway. To qualify, the dealer’s hand cannot total more than 20, similar to 3-Card Poker. If the dealer doesn’t qualify, the play bet will be a push; it will be returned to you. If the dealer’s hand does qualify in Three Card Rummy and your hand beats theirs, you’ll win a payout in the card game. The amount that your bet pays depends on your hand.

If your hand scores 0, then the play bet pays 4 to 1. If your hand scores between 1 and 5, your hand pays 2 to 1. If you hand scores between 6 and 19, your play bet is paid out at 1 to 1, and your ante wager always pays 1/1.

Optional Bonus Bet & Payouts

In virtually every Three Card Rummy variation at casinos, you’ll find an option called a bonus bet. The bonus bet is an optional side bet that you can place for an additional fee, and while it can offer some quite promising returns, you should be aware that the house edge of the bonus bet is 3.46%. This figure is relatively high for a house edge, so it should be seen as a novelty bet more than anything else.

If you place a bonus bet and your hand score is 12 or below, you will always win, regardless of what the dealer has. If your hand scores between 7 and 10, the bonus bet option pays out at 1 to 1. If you score between 1 and 6, you’ll be paid out at 2 to 1, and if you score between 11 and 12, you’ll be paid out at 4 to 1.

Where things get interesting is with the highest-paying two scores; if your hand totals zero, then you’ll be paid out at 25 to 1, and if your hand contains exactly A, 2, 3, all of the same suit, then you’ll be paid out at a whopping 100 to 1.

Strategy, House Edge and Ante Bet Explained

While Three Card Rummy is straightforward to play, there are some basic steps that you can take to try and increase the house edge of the game. The first thing that you should be aware of is that you should always play your hand if the total value is between 0 and 20.

If your hand is 21 or above, then you should always fold; while it may be tempting to take a punt and hope that the dealer’s hand is lower than yours, in the long run, it’s a losing play, and it’s not worth playing.

Finally, despite offering payouts of up to 100/1, which look tempting, you really shouldn’t play the bonus bet. The house edge is simply too high, and it’s designed to make money for the casino; playing the regular Three Card Rummy bets is far better when it comes to RTP, and you should only consider placing a bonus wager if you feel lucky now and again.