Vegas Three Card Rummy
Vegas Three Card Rummy is a game available at Realtime Gaming- and Cryptologic-powered online casinos as well as some other places, and it’s also popular in brick and mortar locations. This game offers rummy-like rules with a bit of strategy involved but isn’t so in-depth that it’s a drag to enjoy for recreational players.
Introduction to Vegas Three Card Rummy
A variety of different online casino card games have small variations on the same basic set of rules. This can make players feel like they are simply getting in on the action with different styles of what’s more or less the same game.
Vegas Three Card Rummy breaks out of this pattern and gives players a fairly unique style of play with fun rules and strategies that aren’t incredibly complicated.
The play style for this title is a bit different than what you’ll find otherwise, but it has a style of play that isn’t as robotic as many other card games, so it appeals to a wider range of players than card-based games that are overwhelmingly strategy based.
The History of Vegas Three Card Rummy
There are a few different games that have an influence on Vegas Three Card Rummy:
- Three Card Poker
Of these three, Panguingue is the more unknown of the three. It’s usually played from a set of eight decks of cards with the tens, nines and eights removed. Four-card hands are played with similar rules as Vegas Three Card Rummy and slightly different betting, and it’s still found in some land-based casinos in Las Vegas and California.
Three Card Poker is pretty well-known, and there are a ton of rummy variations, so it’s easy to see how these titles would have influenced the creation and popularity of the game we’re looking at here.
The Rules and Gameplay of Vegas Three Card Rummy
The rules of this game aren’t particularly complicated, but you’ll want to pay attention to the different types of bets because it’s easy to get them confused with each other because of the payouts.
Here are the basic rules, and down below, we’ll get more into the betting, gameplay and payouts:
- One deck of 52 cards is always used with this game, and it’s shuffled after every hand.
- You play one-on-one against the dealer with no other players involved when you play online.
- Cards are ranked from king to ace with aces always being a low (ie: worth “one”).
Scoring in this game is based on adding up the value of your three cards to score a certain number of points. You’re trying to score as few points as possible to win.
- Aces are worth one point.
- Kings, queens and jacks are all worth 10 points.
- All other cards 2-9 are worth their shown value in points.
- Two or three cards of matching rank (ie: like a pair or three of a kind in poker) will count as zero points.
- Two or three cards of the same suit and consecutive rank (ie: like a straight-flush in poker) will count as zero points.
With these basic rules out of the way, let’s take a look at how the gameplay unfolds.
Things start off in this game by the player making an ante bet, and there’s also a bonus bet that is optional. After these bets are made, the player and the dealer will receive their cards. The dealer’s cards are all face-down, and the player’s cards are all face-up.
The player views his or her cards and then has to make the decision to raise or fold. Folding involves giving up your cards and any chance to win the hand. Raising involves adding an additional wager called a raise that is worth the same size as your starting ante.
Remember that the dealer has to qualify by having fewer than 20 points. It’s easy to get confused on this if you’re used to games where you’re trying to get more points than the opponent (like in blackjack).
If the player raises, the dealer’s cards are turned over. The first thing that’s looked for is to see if the dealer qualifies. To qualify, the dealer needs 20 or fewer points. If the dealer doesn’t qualify, the ante pays 1:1, and the raise is simply returned to the player.
If the dealer does qualify, then the lower point total between the player and the dealer wins. Ties are a push for both the ante and raise bets. If the dealer’s total is lower, the player loses the ante and raise. However, if the player’s total is lower, the ante pays 1:1, and the raise pays according to the following:
- Scores of 6+ – 1:1
- Scores of 1-5 – 2:1
- Scores of 0 – 4:1
What you can see here is that there are some bonus payouts available, and getting a few of these types of hands in a row can give you quite a winning streak.
The Bonus Bet
The bonus bet in this game is basically a side bet that pays based on the player’s starting hand. Payouts for the bonus bet are all based on pretty good hands, so you don’t have to worry about situations where you would want to fold but would still get a bonus payout.
Here is the basic pay table for this wager:
- 13+ points – No win
- 11-12 points – 4:1
- 7-10 points – 1:1
- 1-6 points – 2:1
- 0 points – 25:1
- A-2-3 in the same suit – 100:1
There are some good payouts here, especially for having zero points for 25x or having the A23 “straight flush” for 100x. This side bet is good action for people who like something else to look forward to, but it has to be played along with the regular ante wager and the typical gameplay that comes along with that.
Vegas Three Card Rummy Strategy and House Advantage
The best mathematical strategy is not very complicated for this game, and that’s one of the reasons why it has the popularity that it has online.
The best strategy is to raise with totals of 20 and lower and to fold if you have 21 points or more.
This is one of the few online casino card games that has a straightforward strategy that doesn’t require hours and hours of study to get a decent payout rate.
The house edge for the ante bet is 3.2 percent, but that’s a bit misleading because of the chance of ties (just under 3 percent) and the chances of the dealer not qualifying and the player just receiving back a win worth the size of the ante (just over 22 percent). As a result, the game plays as if the house advantage is closer to around 2 percent, which makes it a pretty solid choice.
For the bonus bet, the house advantage is about 3.5 percent. This is in line with other bonus bets in similar games, and while it’s not the best wager out there, it’s also far from being the worst.
Vegas Three Card Rummy is a good game that appeals to a group of players who enjoy card-based casino games but who do not necessarily want to spend tons of time learning advanced mathematical strategies like what’s needed to get a solid payout rate in a game like blackjack.
Otherwise, it’s also a fun game with multiple ways to win and some solid bonus payouts that are larger than what you’ll find with most other titles in the casino card game genre.