Against-the-dealer poker games that provide plenty of fun and improve your game

One of the great things about the game of poker is the many varieties that are available. Games like five card draw and Texas Holdem are among the most popular choices if you are playing at a poker room or with a group of friends. But there are also several variations that are played against the dealer, a little like blackjack.

As well as being entertaining in their own right, these are ideal variations for players who are new to the game and might not feel they are quite ready to test their developing skills against other players.

3-card poker

This game really strips poker bare to its most basic form. The player lays down an ante bet to join the game and both player and dealer are dealt three cards face down. The player can then look at his cards and decide whether to fold or place a play wager by doubling the ante. Normal poker ranks apply, although these are limited as there are only three cards. The dealer’s hand must be queen high or better to play – if not, all play wagers are returned and the ante pays 1:1.

If the player’s hand wins, all bets pay 1:1, if the dealer’s hand wins, all bets are lost. There are also side bets for specific 3-card player hands or 5-card hands for the player and dealer’s cards combined.

Caribbean stud

We could spend half an hour talking about stud poker variations, but for now, Gamble Online provides a summary if the different variants at Most forms of stud poker in the US are played around the table, but Caribbean stud is against the dealer.

The basic format is similar to three-card poker in that there is an ante bet and the dealer’s hand must meet a minimum value to play. However, this time, five cards are dealt to each of player and dealer, and one of the dealer’s cards is dealt face up. To play, the dealer must have at least ace high with a king kicker.

Winning hands pay 2-1 for two pairs up to 100-1 for a royal flush. A pair or high card win pays even money. There is also a side bet that pays out for three of a kind or better – it’s tempting as there is nothing more frustrating than being dealt a great hand when the dealer doesn’t play.

Casino holdem

Originally devised as a training exercise for Texas Holdem, this game introduces the concept of community cards. After paying the ante, the player and dealer are each dealt two cards face down, plus three community cards are dealt face up. The Player then decides whether to fold or double the ante to play. If the decision is play, two more community cards are dealt.

The winning hand is decided by combining the player’s two “hole” cards and the community cards. Note that the dealer must have at least a pair of fours to play.

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