Three card brag is an unusual British card game which is similar to poker but varies in betting style and hand rankings. Three card brag was played in the movie Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels directed by Guy Ritchie, where it was played without table stakes.
- Name: Three card brag
- Aliases: Brag, Three-card brag, 3-card brag
- Players: 3 to 8
Everyone antes, and players are each dealt 3 cards face down. There is a single round of betting, with action starting to the left of the dealer. Each player has the option of betting or folding. If there was a previous bet, the player must contribute at least that much more to the pot. (Unlike usual poker betting, your previous money contributed to the pot is ignored.) This betting continues until there are only two players left, at which point either player may double the previous bet to “see” his opponent. At this point, the two hands are revealed, and the player with the better hand takes the entire pot. If there is a tie, the player who is seeing loses.
The hand rankings, from best to worst, are: three of a kind (“prial”), straight flush (“running flush”), straight (“run”), flush, pair, high card. The best prial is 3-3-3, followed by the usual order of A-A-A, K-K-K, etc. The best running flush or run is 3-2-A, followed by the usual order of A-K-Q, K-Q-J, etc. The flushes, pairs, and high cards have normal ranking (aces high).
A pair will beat 3/4 of hands. But watch out for unexpected runs and flushes! Prials are extremely rare (although a running flush is rarer even though it is ranked lower).
Players also have the option of playing blind (betting without looking at their cards). A blind player’s costs are all half as much as an open (non-blind) player’s. However, an open player may not see a blind player. If all other players fold to a blind player, the pot remains, everyone re-antes, and the blind player gets to keep his hand for the next round (in addition to the new one he is dealt). At any time, a player with two blind hands may look at one of them and decide whether to keep it or throw it away. If he keeps it, he throws away the other hand and is considered open. If he throws it away, he keeps the other hand and is still blind. If everyone folds to a blind player with two hands, he must throw away one without looking.
Another unusual custom of Brag is that the deck is rarely shuffled. Unless a hand is seen and won by a prial, the cards from the hand are just placed on the bottom of the deck, and the next hand is dealt without shuffling.
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