This game is usually played for money as, unlike other card games, for example, euchre or cribbage, there is no scoring involved. The game is played using one deck of cards from which the dealer deals 3 Patti to each player. Prior to the deal, each player must place a sum of money, the ‘ante’, into what is commonly referred to as ‘ the pot’. Each player in turn bets by placing further money into the pot until there are only two players left in the game. The player with the highest-ranking hand wins the contents of the pot.
Let’s break this down a little further and examine the various stages of the game and for the purpose of this piece, we’ll assume the game is not being played in a casino. 3 Patti is a gambling game so it’s best to establish some 3 Patti rules that each player be aware of and comfortable with prior to entering the game.
It is necessary to establish and agree to the amount that each player pays before being allowed to participate in each hand that is called the ante. The ante is required to be paid in full by each player before each new hand is dealt. A minimum and maximum initial bet amount must be agreed upon. These are the minimum and maximum amounts that the first player can bet in order to stay in the hand. The ‘raise’ limit must be established. The raised limit is a predetermined table maximum bet that no player can exceed. Some card schools will allow wild cards, sometimes referred to as ‘floaters’, and these must be made known prior to the commencement of play.
The game itself is played using one 52 card deck with no Jokers. To determine who will deal first the cards are cut then dealt clockwise until a pre-chosen card appears whereupon the player receiving the card will deal first in the game proper. The cards are shuffled well prior to the first deal and do not get shuffled again until a player receives three of a kind or ‘prial’, eg three Kings or three Sevens, etc.
To begin to play each player puts his ante money in the pot then the dealer deals a card to each player in turn beginning with the player to his immediate left and proceeds around the table three times until everyone has 3 Patti in front of them including the dealer. Players must play or fold in turn beginning with the player to the left of the dealer. If a player folds his or her cards are placed face down at the bottom of the pack (the rest of the deck containing the unused cards). At the conclusion of the hand the deal will be passed to the player on the outgoing dealer’s left, so both play and deal are clockwise.
Hand ranking falls into one of six categories in 3 Patti pokers. The top category is a prial, and that is 3 Patti of equal rank or value with the absolute top ranking hand being three Threes. The second best hand would be three Aces then Kings and so on.
The second-highest category would be a running flush in which Ace Two Three of the same suit is top of the pile, followed by Ace King Queen, King Queen Jack, and so on down to Four Three Two.
The third category hand rankings follow those of the second category with the exception that these are runs made up of mixed suits. Be aware that a Two Three Four in the second category (running flush) beats an Ace Two Three of the third category (run)
The fourth category is comprised of flushes whereby all 3 Patti are of the same suit, the highest flush being Ace-King Jack and the lowest being Five Three Two.
The fifth category is where we find the pairs, the best being a pair of Aces then Kings, and so on down to Twos. When two hands are left in the game with both sportings a pair naturally the higher pair wins but if both pairs are the same then the winner is deemed to be the player with the highest third card (unless both hands are of identical value as discussed earlier where the player who ‘sees’ the other player loses).
Finally, the sixth and lowest ranking category is where we find the high Casino Games. This is basically where you have a hand that does not form any of the combinations found in categories one to five so the hand rank is determined by its highest value card, the Ace being highest, of course, then King Etc. Where players have identical highest value cards the second-highest value cards are used to find the winner and if those cards are identical then it falls down to the third-highest cards to be compared. If neither hand betters the other then the player who paid to see the other player’s hand loses.
There is a final rule whereby if a player runs out of money he can ‘cover the pot’ whereby when it is his turn he may put all of his remaining money into the pot then place his cards face down over that pot and the remaining players carry on betting without him placing their money in a new pot. Covering the pot is only permitted when a player has very little or no money left following his cover bet. When the winner of the new pot is decided the player who covered the old pot has his cards revealed and the highest hand wins the old pot. In the event of a tie the player who covered the pot loses.