3 Card Brag
"Listen ladies, this is cards (brag). Men play cards, you want to talk soft you should be at the ****ing hairdressers, so shut up and play... I fold." - PJ Moriarty playing Hatchet Harry in Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
Three card Brag was one of the five games immortalised by Edmund Hoyle in the 18th Century. During this period brag became known as the "Queen of Gambling Games". This popularity has survived to the current day and three card brag is widely played in public houses and gaming dens across the UK. The game is also extremely popular in India and Nepal where it is known both as "Flush" and "Teen Patti".
Legends of Three Card Brag
Cardano is credited with the earliest reference to primero (the forerunner of three card brag). In 1563 Gerolamo completed Liber de Ludo Aleae (Games of Chance) establishing the rules of play. Cardano was an avid gambler and a friend of Leonardo De Vinci. Not surprisingly he was always short of money!
Frank Worthington and the England Soccer Team
In One Hump or Two, England player Worthington describes a titanic all night brag session in 1974. He was first to suggest brag is the game of choice for the England Football team. In 2006 brag was in the headlines again with a member of Sven's World Cup team accused of losing £37,000 on the turn of a card, an allegation never proven.
Dave Ulliott - "Devilfish"
Ulliott is just about the most famous brag player of modern times. Yet nowadays he is known far more for his Texas Holdem skills, with over £1 million in winnings. "I played three card brag for over 20 years in Hull until I couldn't find a game. They used to move the game if they knew I was coming." Ulliott's brag stories as a young man read like the script of Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. A group of losing players once tried to ambush Ulliott to take back their money. "I pulled a gun out of my jacket and fired it in the air. You heard all the dust bins going off as they ran down the alleyway. I got in the car, blew on the barrel of the gun and said, let's go baby."
Derek Webb - Three Card "Poker"
In 1994 Webb registered the patent for Three Card Poker and launched the game in Ireland the following year. Based in the UK and from Derby, Derek Webb has introduced the most successful evolution of the brag concepts. Webb earns over $1 million per annum in UK royalties and the game is played around the World.
Three Card Brag Tactics
In three-card-brag you cannot exchange your dealt cards. Therefore you must rely on bluff, bluster and body language. As a result, brag is a concentrated form of all the best bits of poker, and the skills that are hardest to learn.
Identify the Blind Bomber
Size up the boldest player as fast as you can. This player will be more willing to play blind the longest as they are chasing big wins. This gambler wants thrills. As a result, it stands to reason that there will also be spills and you should have more chance of taking pots from this player.
Your opponents are trying to undress you with their eyes! The only way they can win is to predict your actions. Therefore they are studying your every move. Your only defense is to confuse them with mis-information. Be conscious of your actions. Play both cautiously and aggressively. Never be predictable if you can help it.
The cards are not shuffled in brag. Therefore with some simple card counting and action you will increase your chances of predicting hands. Always remember the order of your cards when you pass them to the dealer. Make a note of the position of any discards by your opponents. It's not an exact science but paying attention should improve your chances of winning at brag (at least until a prail, three of a kind, is dealt and the pack reshuffled).
Know Your Own Strength
It's not poker! You only have three cards in your hand. Typically a pair will win against 75 percent of hands. The odds of getting three of a kind or a flush run are 460 to one. And the chance of hitting prial threes, the ultimate hand, is less than once in every five thousand hands. Don't underestimate the strength of your hand.
And don't forget, unlike poker, in brag a run is ranked higher than a flush!
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