3 Card Mulligan Poker

Have you ever played a casino game and wished you could trade in your cards and start again? You can, at Three Card Mulligan poker! In fact, that’s the whole premise of the game, which is really Three-Card-Poker with an option for the player (and yes, unfortunately, the dealer) to start over with a new hand. For those of you who are return visitors to this site, you may already have read my article on mulligan poker, a 5 card version of this game.

Three Card Mulligan poker is a high-hand wins poker game played with a standard deck of 52 cards. No jokers or wild cards are used. The game is offered by Shuffle Entertainment in live casinos, and is available at some online casinos. If you were wondering what a mulligan was, the term comes from the game of golf, where a player is offered the chance to replay a bad shot, typically the very first swing of the day. Today, the PGA does not offer a mulligan to players, but many weekend warriors offer the do-over to their friends.

How to Play Three Card Mulligan

Players make an Ante wager to begin play and the dealer delivers three cards to each bettor as well as three cards to themselves. Players may then view their own cards before folding and losing their wager, or taking a Mulligan by making an additional wager and exchanging their original three cards for three new ones.

Like Three-Card-Poker, players are also allowed to place a Pair Plus wager, betting that their three card hand will contain at least a pair. When a player takes a Mulligan, they lose the original Pair Plus wager, but may place a new Pair Plus wager on the Mulligan hand. After all players have acted, the dealer will expose the goods (their cards).

If the dealer’s hand is king-high or better, they will stand, and pay or take the player’s wagers. If the dealer’s hand is not at least king-high, they will take a Mulligan and receive a new hand of three cards. At this point the hands will be compared. If the dealer holds a higher hand, the player loses their Ante wager and the Mulligan wager. If the player has the higher hand, they are paid on their bets according to this pay table:

Ante and Mulligan Payoffs

Hand Payoff
Straight Flush 6 to 1
Three of a Kind 4 to 1
Straight 3 to 2
Lower Winners 1 to 1

The standard Ante wager at Three Card Mulligan has a house edge of approximately 3.57% and the Pair Plus bonus wager is close to 7.28%. However, the Pair Plus bonus wager has a slightly higher house edge on the Mulligan hand. In addition, keep in mind that the player will take the Mulligan option and make an additional wager over 50% of the time, so you will be placing more money in action than just the original wagers. The Pair Plus payoffs can make for an exciting time at the table, and players can expect to be paid on the wager about a quarter of the time.

Pair Plus Payoffs

Hand Payoff
Straight Flush 40 to 1
Three of a Kind 30 to 1
Straight 6 to 1
Flush 3 to 1
Any Pair 1 to 1

Best Strategy

Obviously when the player has a Pair Plus winner on their original hand they don’t need the Mulligan option. However, the Mulligan should be taken whenever the player has a hand of less than King-10.