3 Card Rummy

Three card rummy is a casino table game that is quite similar to three card poker, with a very different scoring system. The game is played with a standard 52-card deck. Both the player and dealer are dealt three cards, but the players cards are face up whereas the dealers cards are face down. The object of the game is to get fewer points than the dealer.


How to Play

Play begins with the player making an ante bet. There is also an option to make a bonus bet, which will be explained later. The player and dealer are then dealt 3 cards. The scoring of cards in three card rummy is as follows:

Aces always count as 1 point, 2 – 10 count as the number and any face card counts as 10.

All pairs, three of a kinds or suited straights of at least 2 cards count as 0.

After the player receives and reviews the hand they have the option to raise or fold. This means that the player can either surrender his initial ante bet or double the ante bet if they think their hand will beat the dealers. The dealer then turns over his cards. If the dealers cards amount to more than 20 the he doesn’t qualify and the player wins his ante bet, but the raise bet is pushed. If the dealer qualifies and his three cards amount to less than 20 then the dealers cards will be compared with the players cards and whoever has the lower three card hand will win the bets. If the player wins then the ante bet pays even money and the raise bet pays 4 to 1 if the player’s hand total 0, 2 to 1 if the player’s hand totals between 1 and 5 and 1 to 1 if the players hand is 6 or above.

If the player made a bonus bet then payout will be based on the following:

Suited (A,2,3) pays 100 to 1

0 points pays 25 to 1

Between 1 and 6 points pays 2 to 1

Between 7 and 10 points pays 4 to 1

Between 11 and 12 points pays 1 to 1

13 points or more results in a loss


Let’s say you make both the ante and bonus bet and are dealt (2D,3D,8H). The (2D,3D) suited run counts as 0 points, which means your point total is 8. You decide to raise which is definitely the right move in this circumstance. The dealer turns over his cards and shows (2H, 4D, 6S), resulting in a total of 12. Since your hand beats the dealers you earn a 1 to 1 return on your ante bet and since your hand totals more than 5 you also earn 1 to 1 on your raise bet. You also earn a 4 to 1 return on your bonus bet because your hand totals between 7 and 10. Therefore for this hand you bet 3 units and received 9 in return for the win.

Basic Strategy

The only decision the player has to make through the play is whether to fold or raise. The optimal strategy would be mimicking the dealer and raising with 20 or fewer points and folding with more than 20 points. If you follow this rule then the house edge is only 1.96%. It is also good to note that the ante bet has a lower house edge than the bonus bet. As mentioned earlier the ante bet results in a house edge of 1.96% whereas the bonus bet results in a house edge of 3.54%.

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