- We examine the competition among one- and two-photon processes in an ultracold, three-level atom undergoing cascade transitions as a result of its interaction with a bimodal cavity. We show parameter domains where two-photon transitions are dominant, and we also study the effect of two-photon emission on the mazer action in the cavity. The two-photon emission leads to the loss of detailed balance and therefore we obtain the photon statistics of the cavity field by the numerical integration of the master equation. The photon distribution in each cavity mode exhibits sub- and super-Poissonian behaviors depending on the strength of atom-field coupling. The photon distribution becomes identical to a Poisson distribution when the atom-field coupling strengths of the modes are equal. 5555 2002 The American Physical Society.