It’s important for us to talk about Brag, the popular British gambling game, before delving into Three Card Brag. Brag is considered same as poker in many ways, but is in fact much older compared to the latter and features a different betting method too. The basic Three Card Brag game was one of the few games that were described by Hoyle, and hence can be traced back to around late 18th century or even earlier. It has plenty of similarities with the popular Indian gambling game of ‘Teen Patti’ or ‘Three Cards.’ It’s played commonly in almost every reputed offline and online casino, for instance Bet365 casino and others.
Ante bets and the dealing of cards
About Three Card Brag
The players, cards and the preparation involved
The game of Three Card Brag is played using the regular 52 card deck without the involvement of any jokers. Every suit’s cards are ranked in the normal order starting from the highest A to the lowest 2: A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2. Although Three Card Brag is ideally played with 4 to 8 people, the players’ number may also vary from game to game.
At core, Three Card Brag is considered a gambling game and hence it’s important for the players to agree on a particular betting amount and gain good understanding of its rules. The players must agree on:
– The initial betting amount (ante bet), which must be put by all players in the community pot before the start of the game.
– The maximum and minimum amounts for the initial bets, which must be put by the first player, in order to let him/her stay in the hand.
– The higher betting limit (if applicable) that determines the maximum bet placed by any active player in the hand.
– Any particular variations of the basic rules, for instance how the wild cards can be used in the game etc.
Hand rankings in Three Card Brag
Following is a quick insight into the various Three Card Brag hand rankings or combinations, starting from the highest to the lowest, along with their corresponding explanations and examples:
1. Prial – This is the short form for “pair royal,” and is used to refer to a combination of three cards of the same value/rank. A set of three 3s is considered the best prial of all, with other prials following in terms of their general ranking order: A A A > K K K > Q Q Q > J J J > 10 10 10 > 9 9 9 and so on, down till 2 2 2, which is the lowest possible prial.
2. Running flush – You’re said to have a running flush if you get three consecutive cards belonging to the same suit. Although an Ace is considered the highest card, A 2 3 can be used as a valid running flush as long as all the three cards belong to the same suit. In fact, this running flush is the highest one with A K Q being the second highest, then K Q J > Q J 10 > J 10 9 > 10 9 8 >…….. > 4 3 2. Please note, 2 A K can’t be treated as a valid running flush.
3. Run – Any three mixed-suit consecutive cards are said to constitute a run. A 2 3 of mixed suits is the highest run, followed by A K Q > K Q J > Q J 10 > J 10 9 > 10 9 8 >…….. > 4 3 2. As in case of running flush, you can’t consider 2 A K of mixed suits as a running hand.
4. Flush – This hand combination consists of all three cards belonging to the same suit, regardless of their ranking and whether they are consecutive or not. If they are consecutive indeed, they’re considered a running flush! Please note, if two players get flushes, the one with the highest card would beat the other. You compare the highest cards first, then the middle card and then the lowest one. Hence, an Ah 9h 8h would beat Ks Qs 6s, which in turn would beat a Qc 10c 9c. Hope you get the drift!
5. Pair – A Three Card Brag hand consisting of two cards of same rank/value is considered a pair. The third card can be of any rank. In the event that the third card is also of the same rank, you’d have a prial! When comparing pairs of different players, they are ranked based on their corresponding pip value. In case two players get the same kind of pairs, it is the rank/value of the third card which determines the winner. Hence, a 10 10 7 would beat 9 9 K, which in turn would beat 9 9 Q.
6. High card – Any Three Card Brag hand which doesn’t have any of the above detailed combinations, and hence has all three different cards, is considered a high card hand. As is applicable in flushes, the rankings of such hands is determined based on the highest card; and if two players get the same highest card, it is the second highest cards and then the third highest cards which are compared. Hence, a Three Card Brag hand consisting of Q 10 7 would beat J 8 9, but would lose to Q J 7.
Please keep in mind that there is no particular order of suits in Three Card Brag. Hence, there is a good possibility that two hands can be exactly equal in terms of their rank. For instance, 10s 10h Qd is the same as 10d 10c Qs. In the event that two players get the exact same hand, it’s the player who calls (pays) to see the opponent’s hand who’d lose the game. Poker players must specifically keep in mind that ‘run’ and ‘flush’ are ranked in the opposite order (to the conventional poker) in brag.
As also mentioned earlier, all players must place their agreed initial bets or ante bets into the community pot, before dealing of the cards. The deal and play happens in clockwise direction around the table and the dealer’s position also rotates in the same direction.
The dealer shuffles the cards properly if it’s the first game of the session. For all other games, the cards need to be shuffled only if the previous hand was revealed to everyone and was won with a prial. Besides that, the playing cards aren’t normally shuffled between the games/hands. Any cards from the previous game are simply added to the bottom of the pack, followed by dealer dealing new cards from the top of the deck. This rule remains the same whether you’re playing this game in an offline casino or an online casino, for instance at Bet365 casino or someplace else.
The dealer deals one card at a time, in facedown position, to every player on the table until everyone has received three facedown cards. The players are free to see their own cards, or may avoid doing so, if they want to play ‘blind.’ As is applicable to majority of gambling card games, you must never show your cards to any other player on the table, unless in the final stages of the game when the betting needs to be concluded with a ‘show’ or ‘see.’ If that happens, the cards of only the players remaining in the game are revealed to everyone on the table.
Please keep in mind that the practice of non-shuffling the playing cards may make it possible for some players to gauge the cards in play, in certain circumstances, as it would be the same cards coming around again to everyone.
The betting action
Once the cards have been dealt to everyone, the betting action starts from the first player sitting to the dealer’s left. This person may choose to fold his/her cards (by throwing his/her cards in the middle of the table and taking no further part in the ongoing game/hand) or opt for betting a particular amount between the agreed minimum and maximum decided before the start of the session. If everyone but one player fold their cards, it’s that last remaining player who takes the money in the community pot, followed by dealing of the next hand.
In case any player places a bet, every subsequent player must at least match that bet amount or fold his/her cards. A player may also choose to bet an amount higher than the previous bet, but not over the agreed maximum. The betting action continues in clockwise direction around the table.
In the event that only two players are left in the hand, with everyone else having folded their cards, a third option comes into play. Either of the players may opt to ‘see’ the other player’s cards, which would cost him/her two times the last bet amount. Whenever you pay such amount to see the other player’s cards, that player exposes his/her three cards first. You may/may not expose your cards depending on whether your hand is better than him/her or not. Please note, your opponent would win the community pot if your cards are exactly the same as his/hers or worse. You may choose to not show your cards if you have a losing hand.
Players used to playing poker must keep in mind that there’s no concept of equalling the bets in Three Card Brag. You’re required to put in at least as much amount as placed by the previous betting player, to stay in the game. And this applicable in every offline and online casino, including the likes of Bet365 casino and others. On a side note, if you’re seeking info related to online casinos and bonuses offered by them, you cannot afford to miss [this website].
Let’s make the Three Card Brag gameplay clearer with help of a four player game example:
– Player A bets 3 chips, Player B also bets 3 chips, player C folds and Player D bets 3 chips. Now, Player A would need to bet another 3 chips to stay in the hand.
– Player A bets 3 more chips, Player B folds, Player C had folded earlier so he/she is no longer in the game/hand, Player D bets 6 chips.
– It’s only Player A and Player D left in the game/hand. Player A must equal 6 chips bet of Player D to stay in the hand/game. He/she may either bet 6 chips, fold his/her cards (making Player D the winner), or pay 12 chips to see Player D’s cards. If Player A bets 6 chips to stay in the game, Player D would have the same options as above - putting 12 chips in the pot to see Player A’s cards, folding his/her cards (to make Player A the winner) or put at least 6 chips in the pot to stay in the game.
This betting process would continue until:
– All the players except one have dropped out of the game by folding their cards, in which case the last remaining player would win the game (without showing his/her cards) or
– If two players are left in the hand/game, one player may pay double the last bet amount to see the other player’s cards.
All folded cards and closing cards of the game are added to the bottom of the pack. Following are some basic etiquettes of the game:
– Never fold your cards out of turn.
– Never say anything related to your hand
– Never show your cards to anyone
Not following any of these can get you disqualified you from the game.