3-Card 2nd Chance Poker

About 3-Card 2nd Chance Poker

3-Card 2nd Chance Poker is a new 3-Card Poker variation offered by Wagerworks casinos only. It has lower house edge than normal Three Card Poker but somewhat higher variance because of some large payouts.

3-Card 2nd Chance Poker Rules

The game is similar to normal 3-Card Poker and uses the same hand rankings. See 3-Card Poker introduction first if you are not familiar with the game. After placing Ante bet, the player is dealt a three card poker hand. The player may either keep the hand or discard it and trade it for a second hand and double his bet. If the player keeps his first hand, he cannot raise the bet.

After player has made his choice, the dealer will draw a three card poker hand and if it is less than King high the dealer will discard the hand and draw another hand. The hands are compared in the end and the player wins if his hand beats dealer’s hand. All winning bets pay 1:1 except when player’s hand is at least straight he will get a higher payout according to the return table.

Best Hand Bonus Side Bet

As with traditional three card poker, there is a sidebet called “Best Hand Bonus”. The sidebet is optional but it cannot be made without making the regular bet. The sidebet pays according to the highest hand of all the player’s and dealer’s hands. So if both player and dealer take second hand, the highest hand out of these four hands counts for the side bet.

Optimal Strategy and House Edge

The interesting thing is that the side bet actually has 3.6% player edge. However player cannot make only the sidebet and the maximum sidebet is 2 x regular bet. The lowest house edge over bonus wagering is to make the maximum side bet and adjust strategy to take the sidebet into account. In this situation the player should replace all hands that are AQJ unsuited or worse and keep all hands that are AK2 unsuited or better (first compare the highest card, then second highest etc.). This makes the combined house edge per wagering only 1.01% which is much lower than with standard 3-card poker.

If player doesn’t make the sidebet, then the strategy changes and the player should switch all hands that are K87 unsuited or worse and keep all hands that are K92 unsuited or better. Playing without sidebet lowers the variance but the house edge per wagering is 2.52%, higher than regular Three Card Poker.


The unit standard deviation of the combined bet with Ante & Raise plus 2 x maximum side bet over bonus wagering is 1.61. Notice that this value is higher than with standard 3-card poker (SD = 1.27).

Without the sidebet the standard deviation of the regular bet over bonus wagering is 1.42.