The blackjack rules for the casino table game of Thee Card Blackjack vary in that the player is dealt three cards instead of two.
How Three Card Blackjack is Played
Three Card Blackjack is played with a standard 52-card deck. The objective of the game is for players to make the best blackjack hand to beat the dealer using two or three of their cards. Players or dealers cannot bust. Standing, Hitting, doubling, and pair splitting are not permitted, and a player blackjack always beats a dealer blackjack, however a blackjack pays even money instead of the traditional 3/2.
There are three betting positions, Ante, Ace Plus (optional side bet), and the Play Bet. Players must first make an ante wager. Also, the ace plus option if he or she chooses. The dealer pitches three cards face down to each player and three cards to his or herself. The two dealer cards are face down; one is face up.
Based on the value of the dealer’s up card, players must make one of two decisions after looking at their cards:
Fold – the ante wager is forfeited, but the ace plus wager if made will remain.
Raise – the player makes a play wager equal to the ante.
Here are some hand examples:
Player #1 – Has an A, 5, 4.
Player #2 – Has a 6, 7, and 9 (player cannot bust, so the 6 is not counted)
Player #3 – Has an A, 3, A
Dealer – Shows an 8-up card and a 10, 6, are face down.
Note that player #1 has a total of 20 (11 for the Ace, + 5 + 4 = 20) this player chooses to raise against the dealer 8. Player #2 has a total of 16 (9 + 7, = 16. The player chooses to fold. Player #3 has a total of 15 (11 + 1 for the two aces, plus 3 = 15.) He or she also folds, but the ace plus bet remains.
The dealer has a total of 18, so player #1 wins even money for the ante, raise, and ace plus bet. Player #2 loses the ante wager and ace plus bet if made, because no ace was dealt in that hand. Player #3 loses the ante wager but is paid 10/1 for two aces.
The dealer must have at least a 17 to open. If the dealer cannot open, the ante and raise bets will push, unless a player has a blackjack, for which even money will be paid. If the dealer can open, the higher hand wins.
Optional Ace Plus Wager
Here is the pay table for the optional ace plus wager, which pays even if the player loses the hand. Pay tables may vary between jurisdictions:
Ace, any, any – 1 to 1
Ace, ten, any – 3 to 1
Ace, ten, ten – 6 to 1
Ace, ace, any – 15 to 1
Ace, ace, ten – 25 – 1
Ace, ace, ace – 100 – 1
Strategy and House Edge
The strategy for a player’s total to raise against the dealer’s up card is as follows:
16 or less – Never raise
17 – Dealer 2
18 – Dealer 2 – 8
19 – Dealer 2 – 9
20, 21,- Always raise
The house edge for Three Card Blackjack is about 2% for the ante and play bets but increases to between 2.5 & 7% for the ace plus bet depending on the jurisdictions’ pay table.