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Deal Me In: A decent game, for those running the casino

13 February 2015

Dear Mark: I happened to come across a game called 3-5-7 Poker. Could you please share some information regarding this game, and if it is a reasonable game for the player who follows your rule of “only make casino bets that have less than a 2 percent house edge.” Jeff J.

The game 3-5-7 Poker is a simple poker-based hybrid found both in table and video poker form in many casinos today. It is centered on a three-game structure where the player bets on both the 3-card and 5-card hands, plus is given the opportunity to make an optional wager on the 7-card poker hand. Essentially, Jeff, you are not playing 3-5-7 Poker in opposition to any individual opponent, but against a standard pay table with the typical payoffs listed below.

Play begins with each player making at least two wagers, the 3-card and the 5-card hands, with the 7-card hand being optional. Players can bet varying amounts on each hand, which, of course, is subject to the casino’s table minimum and maximum limits.

Each player then receives three cards, with the dealer dealing him or herself four cards to be used as “community cards.” Next the player reviews his or her three cards and then considers the option of surrendering the seven-card poker hand or letting it stand.

The first portion of this game within a game is 3-Card Poker, and it revolves on your first three cards that you are dealt. At this juncture, you will need to have at least a pair or better to win.

3-Card Hand Pay Table
Hand: Pays:
Straight flush 40 to 1
Three of a kind 25 to 1
Straight 6 to 1
Flush 4 to 1
Pair 1 to 1

Next up, you play the mandatory five-card round, where the dealer will expose two of the four community cards, which makes for the five-card game. To win, you will need a pair of 6s or better.

5-Card Hand Pay Table

Hand: Pays:
Royal flush 500 to 1
Straight flush 100 to 1
4 of a kind 40 to 1
Full House 12 to 1
Flush 9 to 1
Straight 6 to 1
3 of a kind 4 to 1
2 pair 3 to 1
Pair (6s or better) 1 to 1

Finally, the dealer reveals the final two cards, and you are now playing seven-card poker with only the best five of seven cards being used. With this game, you will need at least two pair with at least 10s high or better, or you lose.

7-Card Hand Pay Table

Hand: Pays:
Royal flush 100 to 1
Straight flush 20 to 1
4 of a kind 7 to 1
Full House 5 to 1
Flush 4 to 1
Straight 3 to 1
3 of a kind 2 to 1
2 pair (10s or better) 1 to 1

As for a summary of the casino advantage, while playing 3-5-7 Poker, it is 3.49 percent of the three-card share, 4.12 percent on five cards and 3.28 percent on the seven-card hand. Obviously, Jeff, all three games have a threshold higher than my “only make casino bets that have less than a 2 percent house edge.

Although, Jeff, I do not recommend the game, for those who decide to disregard my advice, a simplified playing strategy for 3-5-7 Poker is to never surrender a seven-card hand since the house edge is lowest on the seven-card portion.

Additionally, because you are allowed to wager any amount on any hand, you should bet the most on the seven-card hand, with the least on your five-card hand because of the casino advantage of each.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “If I won, I felt as if a constellation in my image should appear in the morning sky.” – Jack Richardson, Memoir of a Gambler (1979)
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Best of Mark Pilarski
Mark Pilarski

As a recognized authority on casino gambling, Mark Pilarski survived 18 years in the casino trenches, working for seven different casinos. Mark now writes a nationally syndicated gambling column, is a university lecturer, author, reviewer and contributing editor for numerous gaming periodicals, and is the creator of the best-selling, award-winning audiocassette series on casino gambling, Hooked on Winning.
Mark Pilarski
As a recognized authority on casino gambling, Mark Pilarski survived 18 years in the casino trenches, working for seven different casinos. Mark now writes a nationally syndicated gambling column, is a university lecturer, author, reviewer and contributing editor for numerous gaming periodicals, and is the creator of the best-selling, award-winning audiocassette series on casino gambling, Hooked on Winning.