Three Card Brag

Three Card Brag, also known as Tri Card Brag, has its roots in 16th Century Great Britain and is a direct decedent of Elizabethan bluffing games. Some people just call it “Brag”, and one of its claims to fame is that it is an ancestor of poker. Various software developers have created tweaked versions of this game, but for the sake of this review, we are looking at a version found at popular British online casinos. It is powered by the OpenBet software platform.

Variations of this game include Four, Seven, Nine, Thirteen, and Fifteen Card Brag, as well as Bastard Brag (forgive the language, but that is the game’s name). Even prior to the advent of the internet, Brag has been commonly played all over the world. It was and still is popular in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Trinidad, but has also been more traditionally found on offer by showmen at British fairgrounds.

How to Play Three Card Brag

This version of 3 Card Brag is played with one deck of 52 cards, which is shuffled when each new game commences. It is two games in one. The main game sees one hand of three cards dealt, and with that hand, you’ll need to beat the dealer’s hand to win. The additional game is a “Pair Bonus” which does not depend on the dealer’s hand and only depends on the value of the cards in the player’s hand. This is a separate side-bet which has nothing to do with the main game and is optional.

After clicking on “deal” button, three cards are doled out to players as well as the dealer – face down in the case of the dealer. The option to play or fold comes next, so, for players staying in the game, the next thing is to place a bet. This is the Ante Bet, which will automatically be deducted from the chip balance, and be placed in the Play Bet space, and an additional Play Bet is then taken.  If the player has a pair or better, and a Pair Bonus side-bet has been selected, then they win that wager, and the game continues. Players who have chosen to fold would forfeit the Pairs Bonus bet, even if they were dealt a pair.

After opting to stay in the game, the dealer’s cards are turned face-up.  They require a hand that includes at least on Q or higher to stay in the game. If the dealer has qualified, all hands are compared to the dealer’s hand (somewhat like blackjack), and the best hand wins according to the paytable. All bets are lost with a losing hand. However, if the dealer does not qualify, the Ante Bet is paid out, and the Play Bet becomes a push, so that wager is returned to the player.

When the dealer has a qualifying hand, and the player’s hand is better, the player wins both the wagers. When the hands are tied (as in a draw), the game again becomes a push, so, both wagers are returned to the player. If the dealer qualifies and wins, the player loses both the Ante and the Play Bet. Of course, if they have a pair, and have placed a Pairs Bonus wager, the player wins that wager irrespective of the fact that they lost the game. In terms of the Pair Bonus, the dealer does not need to qualify for the player to win this wager.

An Ante Bonus is paid in the case of a hand that qualifies with a Running Flush, Three of a Kind (Prail), or a Run. Again, this wager is only based on the player’s hand. It is important to remember to press play after the deal to win this bonus. It is not paid out if a player folds, even if the dealer’s hand does not qualify, or loses against the opposing hand.

We have listed hand rankings here from best to worst, starting with Three of a Kind – also known as a Prial. Next comes the Straight Flush or Running Flush, then a Straight or Run, Flush, Pair, and lastly, the High Card. Being Three Card Brag, the best Three of a Kind is 3-3-3, then in descending order followed by the usual order of A-A-A, K-K-K, and so on. The most high-ranking Running Flushes are A-2-3, and A-K-Q, obviously followed on by K-Q-J, Q-J-10 and so on. Flushes, Pairs, and High Cards are like poker, with Aces high. Pairs can beat many hands and are common, while Three of a Kind and Running Flushes are rare.

Wagering and Winnings

Chips range from 1.00 to 100.00, with 5.00, 10.00 and 25.00 between, a double bet button also features to double the wager. A repeat and deal button will appear to repeat the previous wagers in the next game if you wish. Undo and clear all bets buttons will remove chips if the player changes their mind. Your total stake is on display in a box in the bottom right corner of the screen. As many or as few chips as the player wishes may be placed in the wagering areas, if these conform to the required minimum or maximum wager limits. The minimum wager is 1.00, and the maximum bet is 500.00 in this particular casino game. Speak to the casino customer service for access to special high roller limits. Even online casinos can bend the rules for special customers.

Ante Bets bonuses are paid out at 5:1 for a Three of a Kind (Prial), 4:1 for a Running Flush, and 1:1 for a Run. Bonus Pair payouts are worth 40:1 for a Prial (Three of a Kind), 30:1 for a Running Flush, 6:1 for a Run, 4:1 for a Flush and 1:1 for a Pair.

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