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The player can place either the Pair Plus bet OR the Ante bet, OR both. After placing his bets, both the player and the dealer receive three cards. If the player bets on Pair Plus, he is rewarded according to the Pair Plus Payout Table if his hand contains a pair or better. If the player bets on Ante, he must now decide either to fold, if he does not think he can beat the dealer's hand, or to raise and challenge the dealer. If the player chooses to fold, he loses the Ante bet AND the Pair Plus bet (if he placed one) and the game is over. If the player chooses to raise, he bets an additional amount equal to the ante bet, the dealer reveals his cards, a winner is determined, win paid if applicable, and the game is over.
To determine the game winner after the player has raised, the dealer's hand must first “qualify”. In Tri-Card Poker, the dealer's hand qualifies if it ranks as High Card with a Queen or ranks as a Pair or better. If the dealer's hand does not qualify, the player wins 1 to 1 on the ante bet and “pushes” the raise bet (i.e. the player gets the raise bet back without winning or losing).
If the dealer's hand does qualify, the best ranking hand wins. If the dealer's hand ranks higher, the player loses both the ante bet and the raise bet. If the player's hand ranks higher, the player wins 1 to 1 on both the ante and raise bets, and wins the raise bet calculated according to the Raise Pay Table, below. If both the dealer's hand and the player's hand have the same rank, the highest ranking card determines the winner (for example, a Pair of Kings beats a Pair of 10s). Finally, if the dealer's hand ties the player's hand both the ante bet and the raise bet are pushed back to the player.
If the player places an ante bet, raises the bet, and his hand contains a straight, three of a kind, or a straight flush, he is paid a bonus according to the Ante Bonus Payout Table (regardless of whether or not the dealer qualifies).
This is a simple game in which you get three cards and are paid according to their value. The dealer's hand is immaterial. There is no raising and no discarding, in fact no skill of any kind is involved. The following table shows various paytables for Pairplus. It used to be that the only table was pay table 1. Now pay table 4 is becoming increasingly prevalent in Las Vegas, especially on the Strip.
Payoff Table for Pairplus
Straight flush 40 to 1
Three of a kind 30 to 1
Straight 6 to 1
Flush 4 to 1
Pair 1 to 1
Ante and Play
Play begins with a wager on ante. After the player views his three cards he may either raise by putting an equal bet on play or fold and lose the ante bet. If the player folds he also loses the pairplus bet if one was made, however this should not be any sacrifice because if the pairplus bet paid anything the player shouldn't fold.
If the player does raise then he goes against the dealer's hand. The dealer needs at least a queen high to qualify. Below are the possible outcomes and their payoff:
Dealer does not qualify: Ante wins 1 to 1, play bet is returned
Dealer qualifies and player beats dealer: Both play and ante win 1 to 1
Dealer qualifies and dealer beats player: Both Play and ante lose
Dealer qualifies and dealer ties player: Both Play and ante push
In addition the Ante bet has an extra bonus that does not depend on the dealer's hand. There are different variations of the bonus paytable. The following table shows some variations I have seen along with the corresponding game house edge and element of risk.
Ante Bet Bonus
Straight flush 5 to 1
Three of a kind 3 to 1
Straight 1 to 1