Despite writing for a poker site for nearly a decade and a half, I am not much of a gambler. I can’t say I have ever played three card poker in a casino and I know if I did, I would only place the most basic bets. It’s a good thing Harold M. of Lakewood, New Jersey doesn’t play like me, or else he would not have won a million dollars over the weekend at the Borgata.
What Is Three Card Poker?
For those unfamiliar with three card poker, let me give you the rundown. It’s not a standard poker game, but rather a casino table game in which the players square off against the dealer. The player and dealer are both dealt three cards; the goal for the player is to be dealt a better three-card poker hand than the dealer.
Before the hand, the player places a bet, called the Ante. The player can also place an optional Pair Plus bet, which has nothing to do with the dealer, instead based on the strength of the player’s hand. When the player looks at his cards, he can then decide to make a continuation bet called a Play bet, or simply fold his hand and give up whatever bets he placed before the hand started.
If the dealer does not have Queen-high or better, the player automatically wins his Ante bet and is given his Play bet back. If the dealer does have a Queen-high or better, the hands are compared. If the dealer’s hand is better, the player loses his Ante and Play bets. If the player’s hand is better, he doubles his Ante and Play bets. The player wins!
The Pair Plus bet is paid based on a payout table according to hand strength and is not compared to the dealer’s hand.
How Did Harold Win $1 Million?
Depending on the casino, other side bets (or prop bets) can be made. Now, as I implied at the outset, I am the kind of person who would just make the Ante and Play bets if I played three card poker and be done with it, but this past weekend, Harold put five dollars on a special 6 Card Bonus bet. This bet is similar to the Pair Plus bet, except that it combines the player’s three cards with the dealer’s three cards. The player is then paid out based on the best five-card hand from those six cards.
There are two payouts, though, that are different. One is for a Six Card Royal Flush, which is a Royal Flush that includes the Nine. The other, the biggest longshot, is a Six Card Royal of Diamonds.
Harold had the Ace, Queen, and Ten of diamonds, while the dealer had the King, Jack, and Nine of diamonds. Combine those hands and you can see what happened: Harold had just made a Six Card Diamond Royal.
A Six Card Diamond Royal in three card poker has a 1 in 20,358,520 shot of occurring. It is the first time, the Borgata said on Facebook, that it had ever been hit at the Atlantic City casino. It pays out at 200,000 times the bet. Thus, Harold won one million dollars for his five dollar bet.
I would love to see the presents under Harold’s Christmas tree.