Critical Play: Games of Chance

The game I played is 3 Card Poker, which is a casino poker game where each round consists of placing a bet, each player and the dealer receiving three cards, and players choosing to play (by placing an additional “Play” bet) or “Fold” the cards (i.e. forfeit the round). If the player’s hand is higher in ranking than the dealer’s, the player wins all their bets. More specifically, players can choose to place bets on both the Ante and Pair Plus options or just one of them. I was in a room with 4 other players, and although there was a chat feature, the players were silent throughout the game.

The game presents a risk for addiction due to the following factors:

  • The game’s fast pace and immediate feedback of wins and losses can create constant anticipation. I also felt rushed in my decision even knowing that any outcome is just chance.
  • While not a skill-based game, the game operates on intermittent reinforcement, giving players random rewards (through random wins) so that they become addicted.
  • Can be unending – there are no limits on the number of rounds and players in my room left and came whenever.

Differences from other chance games:

  • The round table format lets other players know how much you win or lose, so there is a pressure to win after losing consecutively.
  • There’s less control over the outcome and more luck is involved. Players can only decide whether to Fold or Play their hand, which leads to them forfeiting low-ranking hands naturally, but still lose money.
  • You can win or lose a lot after one round, depending on the amount you bet.

Also, the probability of getting a pair or better in a hand is relatively high – about 25%, so players in my room always had a Pair Plus bet. However, the likelihood of getting a straight flush, the highest ranking, is extremely low, with odds of around 0.22%. Usually, if the hand is below a face card, players would fold. In this sense, players do have some control, but most of it is still guessing.

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