While the name Vegas Three Card Rummy might make you think of traditional card games, this casino title is actually a form of casino poker more than anything else. It plays in a way that will be familiar to fans of Three Card Poker, but the hands are ranked according to a different scoring system instead of poker hand rankings. Compared to other games in the casino poker genre, the strategies needed for Vegas Three Card Rummy are actually really simple, but the scoring system creates a situation where it's easy to make a lot of simple mistakes if you aren't focused.
Gameplay and RulesThis game is played using a normal deck of 52 cards with a shuffle after each hand. Card rankings are the same as in poker except that the ace is always low. This means that A-2-3 is a run, but A-K-Q is not. Your goal in this game is to have fewer points in your hand than in the dealer hand.
- Make an ante bet
o (There's a bonus side bet you can take if you really want, but it has a slightly worse payout rate than the ante wager. We'll cover the bonus bet below.)
- You and the dealer both get three cards
o (You won't be able to see any of the cards in the dealer's hand)
- Once you see your hand, you can raise or fold.
o (Folding gives up your hand and ante bet, and raising adds another bet worth the same size of your ante)
- If you decide to fold, the hand is over.
- If you decide to raise, then your hand will be compared to the dealer's
o (The lowest point total will win based on the scoring system below. Winning will give you the appropriate payouts as also detailed below)
The Scoring System
The scoring system in Vegas Three Card Rummy starts off by all three of your cards being worth their face value (where face cards are all worth 10 points and aces are always worth one point.)
If you have a pair or three of a kind, those cards count as zero points instead. Also, if you have a run of two or more suited cards, then those also count as zero points.
If you win in this game, your ante bet will pay out at a rate of 1:1. However, the raise bet can pay 4:1 if you have zero points and 2:1 if you have between one and five points. For winning totals where you have six or more points, the raise bet just pays out at 1:1.
In this game, the dealer also has to qualify for the normal payouts to happen. The dealer qualifies by having a hand worth 20 points or fewer. However, if the dealer does not qualify, then you'll just get 1:1 on your ante bet, and the raise bet is given back to you with no payout. This 1:1 win is given regardless of your own total, so in theory you could have a higher total than the dealer and still get a profit on the hand if the dealer's total didn't qualify. With correct strategy, however, that will never happen.
Strategy for Vegas Three Card Rummy is extremely simple, and it's easy to remember because you'll be playing based on the dealer's qualifying point.
o If you have 20 points or fewer - then you should raise.
o If you have 21 points or more - then you should fold.
That's all there is to playing completely perfectly on every single hand in this game.
However, what's important to note is that this scoring system is easy to make mistakes with. If you lose focus for a moment, it's very easy to miscount your hand. For example, you could have Ten of Spades, Two of Hearts and a Nine of Spades and accidentally read this as a total of 21 because it doesn't "register" that the ten and nine make a suited, two-card run. Focus is the name of the game here.
The Bonus Bet
Players can make a bonus bet in this game that has a 3.5% house advantage. This is slightly higher than the ante bet with correct play, which gives 3.2%. Getting a suited A-2-3 combination pays a 100:1 win, and getting zero points pays 25:1. You'll get other payouts for scoring 12 or fewer points, and you don't have to make any strategic decisions about the bet whatsoever. This is probably a good way to play for those who don't want to have to think about what they're doing whatsoever.
The thing about Vegas Three Card Rummy is that it's a fun game that's a little more in-depth than many other table games. At the same time, the strategies involved aren't so difficult that you'll have to spend hours and hours studying to learn them. In this way, it's a happy medium between the table games like roulette that have no real, meaningful strategy and the games like blackjack that have an overwhelming amount of strategy to learn.