Mini Tex 3 Card Hold’em

Mini Tex 3 Card Holdem logoMini Tex 3 Card Hold’em is a new poker game that uses the rules and game-play from the popular Texas Hold’em, and Three Card Poker. Read through our guide to Mini Tex and learn the rules, as well as the steps to playing a round of this card game. We show you the best casinos that you can play Mini Tex at, whether you are going to a brick-and-mortar or trying your luck online. Take your game to the next level, as our strategy section will tell you the optimum decisions as you play.

Rather than playing against other players, Mini Tex has you play against the dealer. Create the best three card hand to win, by using 3 community cards and 2 pocket cards.This is the perfect game for Hold’em players, as it gives them a different way of playing the same game they already enjoy. Mini Tex has not become popular, but players can still find them in several casinos in the United States. The next step to becoming popular would be to take it to the online casinos, as there are dozens of three card poker variations available.

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Mini Tex Rules

Game Overview

Mini Tex table layoutMini Tex 3 Card Hold’em is played using the standard table game format, with up to six players ringing one side of a semi-circular table, while the dealer runs things from the opposite side.

The standard 52 card deck of playing cards is used, and all cards hold their traditional poker hand values (2s are lowest and As are highest).

As a poker based variant, the objective of the game is to form the best possible poker hand, but as the title suggests, Mini Tex 3 Card Hold’em is based on three card poker hands instead of the usual five card combinations.

Modified Poker Hand Rankings

Accordingly, a modified system of the traditional poker hand hierarchy is used to compare hands:

Poker Hand & Description

  • Straight Flush: Any three consecutive cards, all in the same suit: Qh Jh 10h.
  • Three of a Kind: Any three cards of the same rank: Qh Qd Qs.
  • Straight: Any three consecutive unsuited cards: 9d 8s 7h.
  • Flush: Any three cards of the same suit: 9d 6d 2d.
  • One Pair: Any two cards of the same rank: Jh Jd X.
  • High Card: No pair and a single high card: Ad 4h 2s.

The strongest hand is the straight flush, formed by any string of three consecutive suited cards. Next up is three of kind, or three of the same card value, which beats a straight – three consecutive cards of any suit. Any three cards of the same suit is known as a flush, which falls to a straight but trumps any single pair. The weakest hand you can make is an unpaired combination, in which case your high card plays.

In regular poker games, flushes outrank straights, but with only three cards to work with, making a straight is actually more difficult that finding three in the same suit.

Guide to Playing Mini Tex Hold’em

You’ll begin with two hole cards, before seeing three community cards, and any combination of hole cards and community cards can be used to form your best possible three-card poker hand. Remember, though, you can’t “play the board” in this game, meaning you can’t use all three of the community cards as your three card poker hand. In other words, at least one of your hole card must be used to form your final three card holding.

Step #1: Placing Your Ante Bet

The game begins when players put up a mandatory Ante bet, which must equal or exceed the posted table minimum. At this time, players can also choose to place an optional wager known as the Pocket Poker side bet.

Going forward, we’ll rely on a running example hand to help make critical concepts more clear, as seen from the player’s perspective. So imagine that we’ve just placed a $5 chip on the Ante bet, along with a $5 chip on the Pocket Poker side bet for good measure.

Step #2: Two Pocket Cards are Dealt

Once players have entered the game with an Ante bet, and a Pocket Poker side bet if they feel lucky, the dealer will proceed to deliver two cards face down to each player, along with two cards face down to themselves.

At this point, you may take a peek at your own hole cards and examine their relative strength, but be careful not to share any information about your hand with fellow players.

In the running example hand, we’ve just been dealt the Ad and the Kc – a tremendous starting hand in traditional Texas Hold’em, and a decent start in Mini Tex 3 Card Hold’em as well.

Step #3: Fold or Flop Bet

With two hole cards to work with, the game’s first player decision point takes place: Fold or make the Flop bet.

  • FOLD: you just give it up right then and there, forfeiting any pending bets and sliding your cards toward the dealer and into the muck.
  • FLOP BET: you elect to continue on and see the first two of three community cards which will help complete your final three card poker hand. In order to see the flop, you’ll have to put up an additional Flop bet equal to exactly the amount of your original Ante bet.

Back to the running example hand, with Ad Kc in the hole, we’ll take our chances on pairing up or otherwise improving on the flop, so we’ll place an additional $5 chip on the “FLOP BET” space lined out on the felt.

Step #4: The Flop is Dealt

When all players have either folded out or paid to see the flop, the dealer will produce two cards face up in the middle of the table. These two cards represent the flop or the first two components of a three card community board.

In the running example hand, the dealer flops out the 6d and the Kh. We paired up with one pair of kings (Ad Kc Kh), and we also hold two cards to a flush (Ad 6d Kc), needing one more diamond to complete an ace high flush. All in all, a very good flop for our hand.

Step #5: Fold or River Bet

After the flop is dealt, the second player decision point has arrived: Fold or make the River bet.

This process follows the same protocol as the prior decision, so you can either surrender your pending bets to the house (usually when holding only the very worst hands), or you can continue on to see the final community card (known as the “river”). Once again, seeing the river card will cost you an additional River bet equal to the amount of your Ante bet.

After improving mightily on the flop, we’re feeling confident and decide to see the river, risking another $5 chip in the process. At this point, we have three $5 chips wagered in the main game (Ante bet, Flop bet, River bet), plus the $5 chip on the Pocket Poker side bet.

Step #6: River Card is Dealt

Once everyone has run through this decision, the dealer will reveal the third and final community card, or the river.

Returning to the running example hand, the dealer drops down the Jd on the river, completing our flush (Ad Jd 6d). The final community card alignment is 6d Kh Jd, so players with experience in poker will know that we hold “the nuts,” or the best possible hand. That is to say, the dealer has no combination of hole cards they can turn over which will beat our ace high flush.

Step #7: Fold or Play

With the river card now on board, players have a final decision to make: Fold or make the Play bet.

On occasions when you miss your hand entirely and hold nothing but a middling high card, you’ll fold out and give up on your pending bets. But for the most part, you’ll be heading to the showdown by paying an additional Play bet equal to double the amount of your Ante bet.

We’re not going anywhere in the running example hand, holding an unbeatable combination. Thus, we’ll put up the additional Play bet for $10 more, creating a total wager of $25 in the base game ($5 Ante + $5 Flop + $5 River + $10 Play = $25).

Step #8: Comparing Poker Hands

When players have completed the final decision round, the dealer will then turn over their own two hole cards to create their best possible three-card poker hand. This will then be compared to each live player hand to determine a winner.

For the running example hand, our dealer came close by turning over the Qd 10s. They landed a diamond flush as well, but it’s only queen high, so our ace high flush is victorious.

Step #9: Dealer Qualifying Hands & Payouts

In this game, the dealer’s hand must be valued at one pair or better in order to “qualify.” The issue of dealer qualification is important because this determines whether or not all of your bets will be paid in full at showdown, or if the Play bet will be returned as a push.

The dealer qualification system shakes out as follows:

  • When the dealer doesn’t qualify, your Ante, Flop, and River bets will each be paid out at even money, while your Play bet will be returned as a pushregardless of whether or not your hand has beaten the dealer’s hand.
  • When the dealer does qualify, and your hand beats theirs, you’ll be paid out even money on the Ante, Flop, River, and Play bets.
  • When the dealer does qualify, and your hand loses to theirs, you’ll lose your Ante, Flop, River, and Play bets to the house.
  • When the dealer does qualify, and your hand ties theirs exactly, your Ante, Flop, River, and Play bets will each be returned as a push.

To see how these payouts work in real time, we can revisit the running example hand to find that we’ve beaten a qualified dealer hand. In this case, we’d be paid out at even money on all of our base game bets, so we’d receive $5 on the Ante bet, $5 on the Flop bet, $5 on the River bet, and $10 on the Play bet for a total profit of $25 on $25 in wagers.

Step #10: Side Bets & Starting Over

That’s it for the base game, but what about that Pocket Poker side bet we put up back at the beginning? For this optional wager, you’ll be paid out based on the strength of your two hole cards alone, using the pay table.

When all base game wagers and side bets have been settled, the dealer will reshuffle the deck and begin a new hand.

Pocket Poker Side Bet Payouts

HAND PAYS
Royal Straight Flush (A-K Suited) 30 to 1
Pair of Aces 20 to 1
Straight Flush (A-2 / Q-K Suited) 5 to 1
One Pair 3 to 1
Straight (A-2 / K-A Off Suit) 2 to 1
Flush or Lower Loss

This escalating pay table offers players the chance to chase big returns on relatively small investments – but remember one thing: You’ll have 1,326 possible combinations of two-card starting hands. Only four of those will trigger the 30 to 1 payout, while only six are good for the 20 to 1 variety. Conversely, 1,040 of the 1,326 two card hands you can be dealt will result in a loss.

In the running example hand, we began with Ad Kc, so we’d actually score a nice 2 to 1 payout for making a straight. That means we’d collect $10 on our $5 wager.

Test the Game Online

Now that you’ve read through the rules, head over to Squarejack Gaming’s instructional page, where you can play a virtual version of Mini Tex 3 Card Hold’em betting play money chips and running through real hands.

Best Places to Play Mini Tex

For those players that live in the US and want to play Mini Tex, there is only a limited number of brick and mortar casinos that offer it. Currently, Mini Tex 3 Card Hold’em is only licensed for play in four states:

  • California
  • Nevada (Red Rock Casino)
  • New Jersey
  • Washington

Outside of these jurisdictions, you won’t be able to find Mini Tex. If you live in a gambling mecca or along the West Coast, it still may be nearly impossible to locate the game.

Thorough searches of the casinos operating in each of the four states listed above reveal no mention whatsoever of Mini Tex 3 Card Hold’em. With many player generated reviews and forum posts describing it dismissively as a “carnival game.” It’s likely that not enough players sat down at the tables to warrant more placements.

Online US Casinos

Currently, the only place to play Mini Tex 3 Card Hold’em online is directly on the Squarejack Gaming site. The website includes a fully functional free version. No other online casinos have licensed the game, waiting for its popularity to rise.

Mini Tex 3 Card Hold’em Strategy

Betting Strategy iconAs the game isn’t widely played today, if it’s even played at all, there hasn’t been much in the way of detailed analysis of Mini Tex 3 Card Hold’em strategy.

Even the best in the business, casino game theorist and mathematician Michael Shackleford of Wizard of Odds fame, didn’t attempt to wade through the game’s three streets of betting, multiple player decision points, and unique three card poker hand ranking probabilities.

Simple Mini Tex Flop Bet Strategy

Instead, Shackleford advises a simple system when deciding between folding or making the Flop bet:

  • Fold when holding 2 2 or 2 5 offsuit
  • Flop Bet when holding any other two card combination

It does seem odd that folding a made pair of 2s would be considered optimal, but we’ll defer to the mathematical master on this one and lay the ducks down as advised.

Making the Right Decisions

Other than that, Shackleford has only come up with rough guidelines on how often players should make each bet to fit within correct parameters:

  • Playing correctly, you’ll be making the River bet when the choice is upon you 93.5 percent of the time.
  • Playing correctly, you’ll be making the Play bet when the choice is upon you 86.8 percent of the time.
  • Playing correctly, you’ll reach the showdown 80.0 percent of the time.

By sticking to this basic pattern – betting through to the Play bet almost nine out of every 10 hands, before folding one-fifth of hands rather than showing down – you’ll stay clear of playing either too tightly or too aggressively.

House Edge Impact

House Edge iconThe house edge against players during the base game stands at 3.22 percent. When compared to the very similar 3 Card Hold’em, and its 3.05 percent house edge, strategically minded players are better served by searching for the non-Mini Tex version of this table game construct.

As for the Pocket Poker side bet, in particular, players face a house edge of 2.41 percent on this wager, which actually puts it among the most reasonable side bets found on poker based hybrid table games.

History Behind Mini Tex

The original trademark application for a hybrid table game known as Mini Tex 3 Card Hold’em was filed in 2009 by Raymond and Amanda Smith, a husband and wife team of casino game inventors based in Roselle Park, New Jersey.

The couple operates a small casino game design company called Squarejack Gaming, which markets and distributes other hybrid table games like Zero Blackjack, Trifecta Roulette, and High/Low War.

A U.S. Patent protecting the Smiths’ game concept was issued in May of 2010, and Mini Tex 3 Card Hold’em made its debut placement in a pair of casino properties: Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa in Las Vegas, Nevada; and Santa Ysabel Casino near San Diego, California – which is now closed.

Even so, the basic premise of “Three Card Hold’em” doesn’t seem to be strongly protected, as another casino gaming firm markets a very similar game known as 3 Card Hold’em. This page will describe Mini Tex 3 Card Hold’em only.

Texas Hold’em Variation

Responding to the rising popularity of Texas Hold’em, the Smiths decided to streamline that game by reducing the “board” from five community cards to just three, while integrating the basic table game system of pitting the player against a dealer’s hand. The result of their tinkering was Mini Tex 3 Card Hold’em, a game in which players combine their two hole cards with three community cards to form the best three card poker hand – and not the usual five card hand used in most poker games.