Triple Pocket Hold ‘Em is a casino poker game, meaning that it’s derived from classic player vs player poker, but instead the player plays against the house. Specifically Triple Pocket Hold ‘Em is a variation of the classic Texas Hold ‘Em Poker games. Triple Pocket Hold ‘Em played with a standard 52 card deck and as far as we are aware is only available at casinos using Microgaming software.
The player places an Ante bet and is then dealt 2 cards. The player then has the choice to either ‘Deal Again’ or Hold. If the player chooses to Hold, two sets of 2 cards are dealt out to the dealer and a further 5 community cards are dealt in the middle of the table. If the player chooses to Deal Again, the first two cards they were dealt are moved to one of the two dealer hand positions and they receive a further two cards. The player is again presented with the option to either Deal Again or Hold. If the player chooses to Hold 2 cards are dealt to the remaining dealer position and the 5 community cards are dealt out. If the player chooses to Deal Again, the current player hand is moved to the final dealer position and the player received a final 2 cards. The 5 community cards are then dealt out. Once the community cards have been dealt out the player then make the best 5 card they can using their 2 cards and the 5 community cards. The dealer also makes the best 5 card hand they can but they can use whichever of the two sets of cards will give them the strongest hand. The unused set is ignored. Whoever has the strongest hand wins.
Triple Pocket Hold ‘Em ranks hands according to a hierarchy common to poker games which is explained below (strongest to weakest);
* Royal Flush – The Ace, King, Queen, Jack and Ten cards all of the same suit.
* Straight Flush – five numerically adjacent cards of the same suit (Example – 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 of Diamonds). Where both the player and dealer hold a Straight Flush the hand with the highest card is considered the winner.
* 4 of a Kind – four cards of matching rank (Example - 7 of Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds and Spades). Where both the player and the dealer hold 4 of a Kind the hand with the higher rank is considered the winner.
* Full House – three cards of the same rank and two cards of a different but matching rank (Example – 8 of Hearts, Clubs and Diamonds and Jack of Spades and Hearts). Where both the player and dealer hold a Full House, the hand with the higher rank 3 of a Kind is considered the winner.
* Flush – five cards of the same suit (Example – Ace, 8, 5, 2 and Queen of Spades). Where both the player and dealer hold a Flush the hand with the highest card is considered the winner. Where the highest card is matched the second highest is consider and so on.
* Straight – five numerically adjacent cards ignoring suit (Example – 7 of Spades, 8 of Spades, 9 of Clubs, 10 of Diamonds and Jack of Diamonds). Where both the player and dealer hold a Straight the hand with the highest card is considered the winner.
* 3 of a Kind – three cards of the same rank with 2 unmatched cards (Example – 9 of Spades, Clubs and Hearts with any two other cards that are not the 9 of Diamonds or a matching pair). Where both the player and dealer hold a 3 of a Kind, the hand with the higher ranked 3 of a Kind is considered the winner.
* Two Pairs – two sets of two cards of matching rank with one unmatched card (Example – 4 of Clubs and Hearts, 8 Clubs and Spades and a fifth unmatched card). Where the player and dealer both have two pairs, the hand with the highest pair is considered the winner. If both hands have matching top pair, the higher of the two lower pairs is considered the winner. Where both pairs are matched, the hand with the higher ‘Kicker’ (final unmatched card) is considered the winner.
* Pair - two cards of matching rank with three unmatched card (Example – 6 of Clubs and Hearts and any three other cards that are not the six of Spades or Diamonds and are not of matching rank). Where the player and the dealer hold a matching pair, the hand with the highest Kicker card wins. If the Kicker also matches, the hand is decided by the second Kicker then the third if the second Kickers also match.
* High Card – any five unmatched cards ranked as the highest card (Example – 5 of Spades, 9 of Clubs, 7 of Clubs, 2 of Hearts and Ace of Diamonds would be considered ‘Ace High’).
In the instance where both the dealer and player have hands of matching value by the above table the hand is considered a push and the player’s bets are returned.
Unlike other poker games there is no qualification hand for the dealer. If the player loses, they lose their Ante bet. If the player wins they are paid out according to the following table;
||50 to 1
||20 to 1
|4 of a Kind
||10 to 1
||4 to 1
||2 to 1
|All other hands
||1 to 1
The house edge of Triple Pocket Hold ‘Em using the standard paytable and assuming that the player plays using the optimal strategy listed below is 2.27%. If the player does not play optimally this figure will rise.
The optimal strategy for the first decision Deal Again/Hold decision is relatively straight forward. Hold the hand if any of the below conditions are true otherwise Deal Again;
You hold a pair of 3s or better
You hold a suited hand of A2, K4, Q8, J8 or T8 or better
You hold and unsuited hand of A5, K9, QT, JT or better
The second Deal Again/Hold decision is not so straightforward and as such can’t be simplified in the way the first decision has been. As such we’ve compiled a calculator to allow you to enter the additional information and produce the correct strategy;
Below you can find a calculator to allow you to check the fairness of your wins/losses when playing Triple Pocket Hold ‘Em.
*This fairness calculator will assume that you’ve been playing with the optimal strategy detailed above. If you have not then the calculator will NOT return accurate results.
As far as we’re aware Triple Pocket Hold ‘Em is only available online at Microgaming casinos.
There are several methods of legitimately gaining an advantage over the online Triple Pocket Hold ‘Em games, though given that there are other lower House Edge table poker variants at Microgaming casinos Triple Pocket Hold ‘Em is unlikely to be the best available choice. By and large these involve the use of promotions, bonuses and comp point systems as the games by themselves – assuming the game is functioning in a correct fashion – will not provide any additional information about the cards and shuffle after every hand.
It should be noted that online advantage play is not specific to Triple Pocket Hold ‘Em and in recent years the wagering requirements for player’s choosing to play any table game has inflated to the point that Triple Pocket Hold ‘Em is now often a sub-optimal choice for the player. For more information on beating online casinos see BeatingBonuses.com.
* All ‘House Edge’ figures in this article are based on the ‘loss per unit wagered’ rather than ‘loss per initial bet’.