One Card Poker is a very simple game, essentially a combination of the betting mechanics of Poker with the gameplay of War. This makes One-Card Poker an extremely simple game for Players to learn, but even a game this simple is still difficult to mathematically master.
The game is more complex than the simple game of War, or even the slightly more complex game of Casino War.
How to Play One Card Poker?
One-Card Poker is usually played using a full 52-card Anglo-American deck pattern. However, some variations of the game utilize only a single suit of cards from a deck, such that there are no duplicates and a tie is not possible.
Most casinos, to keep the game high-paced, will use a number of decks to form a Shoe, or a deck made of multiple decks. This guide will play with the assumption that a full deck is being used, and ties are possible.
Although this guide will be used under the assumption that it will be a single player facing off against the Dealer, some versions of the game have a “Designated Player” position, which moves around the table clockwise, much like the Dealer in traditional Poker.
The multiple Players at the table would then wager and compare their cards against this Designated Player, though their payouts would come from the house rather than that individual Player.
In One-Card Poker, Players must make an Ante, an initial wager with a predetermined minimum and maximum, set by the casino. In addition, and separate to the Ante, a player may also make a wager on a “Tie Bet.”
A Tie Bet is a wager that the Player and the Dealer or Designated Player will have cards of the same rank. This bet is unrelated to the Ante, and as such even if a Player loses in the subsequent turns after a tie and thereby losing their Ante wager, they will win the money for their Tie Bet.
Tie Bets follow a particular procedure, with a payout table provided below.
Dealing and comparing
Ignoring ties for now, once an Ante has been paid, Players will be dealt one card, to compare against the Dealer/Designated Player’s one card.
The game here is simple: The higher-ranking card wins. Aces are always high in One-Card Poker.
- Player 1 reveals a 10.
- Player 2 reveals a King.
- Player 2 wins.
The Payout for the Ante is a simple 1-to-1. Players will win what they wagered back as profit, or double their money. Player 1 bets $5, Player 1 wins, Player 1 wins $10, or $5 profit.
Ties are where the game gets tricky. In the case of a tie, a Player has two options:
- Surrender, keeping half of their wager.
- Double their initial Ante and play another round of the game.
The Dealer will then mill the top three cards of the deck. Milling is essentially discarding the top card of the deck, without looking at it.
Once these three cards have been milled, sometimes called “burning”, The Dealer will then deal another card to the Player. The Dealer will mill three more cards, and deal one to themselves.
This continues until one Player wins, with a new betting round following each tie if more than one tie occurs.
Players each take their turn comparing their own cards against the Dealer, with a fresh set of cards dealt for each Player. The Dealer’s game with a previous Player is completely unrelated to the next Player.
1 Card Poker Rules
- Players must make an initial wager, called the Ante, in order to be considered eligible for the showdown with the Designated Player/Dealer.
- Players that tie are able to surrender if they wish, or they may continue into the game and be dealt a further card.
- Suits do not matter for the comparison of Rank, however, they do matter for the Tie bonus.
- Players’ own games are individual. The Dealer is dealt a new card when Playing with a new Player, unlike a game such as Blackjack, where they compare the same card against all other Players.
- Players cannot make an additional Tie bet, even if a tie has already occurred. Players may only make an additional wager equal to their initial Ante if they wish to continue playing.
Regular play is only paid on a 1-to-1 basis. Regardless of the number of wagers made during the course of a game, if there is no Tie bet made, a Player will always lose their money, or double the total amount they wagered through the course of the game.
However, when making a tie bet, a Player stands to win much more money if they are able to successfully hit on one of the paying tie bets. A table is given below, to explain the payouts for each of these scenarios:
|Tie Scenario||Payout Received|
|Rank Tie, but Suits unmatched||4x|
|Rank Tie, with Matching Black Suits (♣♠)||10x|
|Rank Tie, Aces||25x|
|Double Tie (Tie, then Tie again)||50x|
|Triple Tie (Three Ties in a row)||150x|
|Quadruple Tie (Four Ties in a row)||200x|
Imagine the following is your initial wager, and your tie bet: $5, and $20.
- The Dealer’s Card: 8♦
- Your Card: 8♠
You decide to play, and wager $5 more.
- Dealer’s Card: 10♠
- Your card: 5♠
You lose $10, but win the Tie and receive $80, for a profit of $50.
Strategy & Tips
- The actual “Game” itself is almost irrelevant if you are able to bet properly and get a little lucky. Even though the odds of a tie are somewhat slim, the payouts for a tie are so high that on the aggregate, your odds of winning more money than losing increase when you bet on the Tie every game. Even if you only wager a small amount of money, the payouts for a tie are significantly higher than winning a normal game.
- If you have already won the tie in the first showdown, the best thing to do mathematically is to surrender your wager. Consider this the house commission for your winning tie. Even though you do stand to gain more money, the real money maker in this game is the Tie. If you have already hit on the tie on the first showdown, surrendering merely allows you to keep more of your money at no risk to yourself. If you play subsequent games, there is a chance you lose your full Ante. Since the real aim of the game is to hit the ties, why bother risking a reduction to your winnings when it is not necessary?