Isle’s (legal) 3-card poker: A field trip…

So my story about the Isle Casino’s foray into three-card poker broke today on the New Times web site. Those of you who follow state rules and casinos will likely find it interesting. Everyday gamblers? Maybe, maybe not.

I myself, had not played much three-card poker, but spent part of an hour at the Isle trying their version of the game. The Isle’s intrigue is that everybody can be a banker, so I took my turn. It’s not as scary as it sounds, because the rule is all you can lose is the money you have in front of you, and in my case, that was about 100 bucks.

After walking away, I discover that’s the rub. Two other players, each with a very large rack of chips, were waiting for me to join them. They, too, like being the banker, because the math favors the banker.

Well, kind of. The real sucker bet is the Pair Plus bet –where the players plunk down money in hopes of hitting a big payout, say for a royal flush. (I’m versed on the game enough to avoid the bet.) Because I didn’t have the big bankroll no player in his right mind would bet the Pair Plus with me as the banker. Why take big risk if the payout won’t be coming your way?

So my time at the table consisted of us each making minimum $5 bets and shuffling a few chips around — $5 for a fold, $10 either coming toward you or to the opponent if the hand played out. I wanted to explain that in my article, but it was plenty long as it was and there were a lot of elements to cover.

Would love to hear if anyone else plays and what they think. Email me at