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Dr. B's Three Card Poker (origin: India)

By Greg Mallon (as explained to me by "Dr. B")
I had never heard of this form of poker until a doctor friend of mine (who hails from India) explained a game that he and his colleagues and friends play. It is called "Three Card Poker" and is apparently commonly played in India. Now while I had heard of a couple forms of three card poker, I had never heard of this. I am trying to find a good name for it (to differentiate it from other forms of Three Card Poker) so I will call it "Three Card India Poker".

Dr. B... Please send CLARIFICATIONS/CORRECTIONS to editor@pokerdecision.com --- THANKS! - Greg

General Introduction

One of the more interesting aspects of this game is the concept of betting "blind" (that is "betting" when you have not looked at your cards). The cool thing is that you are only required to bet HALF the current bet when you are BLIND. There is an additional concept, permitted only when you are "heads-up" called "a show" where you essentially CALL the current bet and ask for a "show of the cards". At any rate, while I have never played the game, it sounded interesting. I thought I would try and convey the rules to our audience and see what they thought. I think this would make for an excellent friendly home game (although I understand the stakes can get escalated very quickly if there are no limits placed on the game). What follows is my understanding of the game rules, hand rankings and strategy. If you get a chance to play this game, please let me know how it went and what you think about it. Thanks! - Greg Mallon (=GM=), Editor

Basic Rules of Three Card Poker (origin: India)

  • DEALING: Like most forms of poker, a "dealer button" may be used, or you may simply take turns dealing the cards. Each player is dealt three cards.
  • ANTES: There are no antes.
  • BETTING: Betting begins to the left of the current Dealer.
  • A player must either FOLD, BET, CALL or RAISE. (There is NO CHECKING in this version of Three Card Poker)
  • STRUCTURE: The betting structure is defined before the start of the game. There is a "Starting Bet", like say, $1. All RAISES must be DOUBLE the last bet. Therefore, if the first bet was $1, the next player may either FOLD, CALL $1, or raise to $2. Subsequently a future player may RAISE to $4, and so on. Typically, to keep things under control, a CAP may be set at say $20 (for a $1 "starting bet". Or, if the starting bet was 50 cents, the CAP might be $5).
  • The "BLIND" Concept: Don't get THIS term "blind" confused with the "small blind" and "big blind" FORCED BETS in Texas Holdem. To be BLIND in Three Card Poker means you have CHOSEN NOT TO LOOK AT YOUR CARDS. Anyone who "plays BLIND" must only pay HALF the current BET to stay in the pot (an interesting and fun twist to this poker game).
  • The "SHOW" Concept: When two players get "heads-up" (meaning only two players remain), a player may "call a show" by simply announcing the "show" and calling the current bet. This act stops all future betting. Therefore, if a raising war had taken place, one player may put an end to it by "calling for a show".
  • Hand Rankings

    Lets take a look examples of each:

    High Card
    Straight ("run")
    Straight Flush
    The "Trio"


    Many of the same general poker concepts apply with this version of Three Card Poker that apply to most forms of poker. I think one of the more notable differences is that players MAY NOT CHECK, which implies (I think) that position is very important. There are no opportunities to CHECK-RAISE. You would do well to study your opponents behavior in past hands (especially if cards were shown). I will defer my strategy recommendations until I get a chance to actually PLAY this game :-). In the meantime, it looks like a great "Home Game" for fun when friends are over - easy to learn - and, if you keep the betting structure low, with a low CAP, everyone can have fun with out anyone losing a bundle. Have FUN! PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU TRY IT AND HOW IT TURNED OUT. - Greg


    Dealing ONLY 2 cards: In this variation, each player is instead dealt TWO CARDS (instead of THREE). Each player may come up with ANY imaginary card they wish as their THIRD CARD. In effect, each player has an "IMAGINARY JOKER".

    Dealing 4 cards: In this variation, each player is instead dealt FOUR CARDS (instead of THREE). Each player must look at their cards and DISCARD ONE prior to the beginning of the hand. [ Editor's Note: Honestly, I forgot to ask "Dr. B" if it is possible for a player to "PLAY BLIND" in this variation of the game. So if you are reading this (Dr. B), please email me with the answer to that question - and anything else I might have got INCORRECT.]      Otherwise, our readers will have to wait UNTIL I GET SICK again to get clarification on this issue. ;-)

    *** MESSAGE TO DR. B: I am ready to help CONFIGURE your WIRELESS NETWORK (whenever you are ready)!!! ***

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