All About Three Card Brag

Gameplay – Running Out of Money

The game of Brag or Three Card Brag is rarely played using what all poker players refer to as the ‘table stakes,’ wherein everyone puts the money he/she is playing with on the table and isn’t allowed to introduce any more into the game without everyone agreeing to do so and not when a hand is already in play.

Three Card Brag players normally keep their money inside their pockets until it’s needed by them. It must be mentioned that every player wanting to play a Three Card Brag game must place at least a certain minimum pre-decided amount on the table, for instance £ 10, to participate in the game. Thereafter, he/she is free to introduce whatever amount he/she wishes to at any point of the game.

In some Three Card Brag games, if you see yourself running out of money, but still wish to stay in the game/hand, you can do so by going all in or putting all your remaining money into the pot, followed by putting your cards in facedown position on top of it. Doing so is referred to as ‘covering the pot.’ The remaining players in the hand/game continue betting as normal, but now put all new bets into a separate/new pot. The winning hand is revealed after settling this new pot and is then compared with the hand of the player who had run out of money. The amount in the old pot is won by the player who has the higher hand of the two. In case there’s a tie, it’s the winner of the new pot who wins the old pot as well.

This practice of covering the pot may also be used if there are no more than two players left in the game. In this case, the player who runs out of money can cover the pot by putting all his remaining money into the pot, and thus bringing an end to the ongoing betting. Now the other player doesn’t need to put any more amount into the pot and exposes his/her cards. He/she wins the amount in the pot unless the bankrupt player shows a better hand.

Many people feel that this pot covering practice works unfairly to the advantage of the bankrupt player, as he/she gets to see the opponent’s hand without paying anything extra. However, it does help in avoiding some unwanted situations.

But if we go by the real-life Three Card Brag situations and practices, it’s normal for Three Card Brag games to have a harsher rule wherein anyone who goes bankrupt must either fold his/her cards or borrow money from someone else to put the required bet amount into the pot. Towards this end, the bankrupt player may need to show his/her cards to the player whom s/he’s taking financial assistance from. Many Three Card Brag games are played with an agreement that in such situations the player having the maximum amount of money on the table will lend some to such player in need, enabling him/her to continue betting.

Many Three Card Brag players play this game with the following fixed bankruptcy rule:
– The player still having money can lend some to the other player, enabling him/her to continue betting or
– The player still having money can show his/her cards and win the pot unless the bankrupt player can show better cards.

It’s pretty evident that continuing betting using borrowed money may potentially result in some unwanted situations, wherein a player may borrow money which he/she is unable to repay later or may have to fold a good hand. This kind of problem is even more prevalent in Three Card Brag games where unlimited betting is allowed. In such games, the blind player can continue betting indefinitely against the open players, forcing them into bankruptcy.