How to Play 3 Card Poker & Three Card Poker Guide

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One of the most popular card games around, 3 card poker is a great stepping stone for learning to play Texas Hold’ Em or other poker games. The best thing about 3 Card Poker is that it can teach you a lot about how real Poker works. It will also allow you to practice your skills, which makes you a better player overall.

The most successful players at 3 Card Poker have critical things in common, such as focusing on proper strategy and a good grasp of odds. Do you know what makes online casino players the most successful? A good strategy and an understanding of odds.

How to Play 3 Card Poker

If you want to know everything you need, how to win at 3 Card Poker in a casino, and how to play 3 Card Poker, the following paragraphs will tell you everything.

3 Card Poker Requirements

3 Card Poker is played with 1 x 52-card playing deck and betting chips. In addition, there will usually be automatic shuffle machines used to shuffle another deck of cards during the current hand to speed up gameplay from hand to hand ultimately.

3 Card Poker Objective

It’s simple to conquer 3 Card Poker: build the best 3-card poker hand possible! There are no “hits” or swapping or drawing more cards like in Blackjack. Instead, it’s all about the cards you’re handed in at the start. Then, depending on how you bet, you’ll want to (1) try to make a pair or better; and (2) hope that your hand ranks higher than the dealer.

3 Card Poker Rankings

The hand rankings in three-card Poker are straightforward: To win, you must have the highest Poker ranked card(s) in your hand! However, it’s worth noting that the rankings in 3-card Poker differ slightly from those in conventional Poker.

They are ranked from best to worst in the following order:

  • Straight Flush: Three cards of the same suit with the same value (i.e. Kc-Qc-Jc)
  • Three of a Kind: 3 cards of identical value that match (i.e. 8-8-8)
  • 3 cards of the same value in a straight (i.e. 6-7-8)
  • Three cards of the same suit form a flush (i.e. Ad-9d-3d)
  • Two cards of equal value in a pair, plus one “kicker” (i.e., A-A-4)
  • Non-paired cards with no continuous sequence or suit matching between the cards are known as high cards (i.e. Qc-6s-4d)

Note that any A-X-X hand will beat a K-X-X hand for a high card hand; in other words, even if you have A-3-4, you will still win with a holding of K-Q-9, even if the K-9-average 8’s value is more significant. In addition, if the first high card in a high card hand is “tied,” the winner will be determined by the second card, and so on.

Also, even if two players have the same poker hand ranking (e.g., a pair), the player with the higher value of hand within that rank wins (e.g., A-A-2 beats 2-2-A, because one player has a pair of Aces and the other just has a pair of 2s).

How to Play Three Card Poker & 3 Card Poker Rules


In 3 Card Poker, you have two betting options:

  1. Ante: This is where you play your hand against the dealer’s, attempting to build the best poker hand possible.
  2. Pair Plus: In this game, you’ll try to make a pair or better with your hand. (The dealer’s hand has no bearing on this wager.)

NOTE: Each casino has its own set of wagering requirements. Some demand you to put up an ante if you want to play a hand, while the Pair Plus bet is optional. Other casinos let you choose between playing with the Ante or the Pair Plus.


Each round is played over the course of fifteen seconds. In that time, each player is dealt three cards face-down, and then must decide whether or not to bet on their hand. Each participant in the hand, as well as the dealer, is given three cards face-down. You’re simply aiming to defeat the dealer (i.e. if you utilized the “ante” betting option) in this game, just like in Blackjack. The cards of the other player have no bearing on the game you’re seeking to win.


It is then the player’s time to act after receiving their cards. They have the option of “playing” or “disposing of” their hand.

  • The dealer gets the player’s initial ante and any Pair Plus bets if they discard their hand.
  • If the player wishes to continue playing, they must place a “Play” wager. The amount of the play bet must be equal to the player’s original ante. These chips are often inserted after a player successively arranges his hand and then sets these cards face-down in the “play” area.

Wins & Payouts

The following phase in hand is for the player to show his cards, which the dealer quickly follows. After that, the hands are compared, and any relevant funds are collected or distributed:

  • The dealer’s hand does not become eligible to be “played” if it has a J-high High Card hand or worse. All remaining players in hand will win the amount corresponding to the “ante” bet. Still, they will push with their “play” bet, which means they will merely collect the chip(s) initially bet, but they will not win any additional money (but they will not lose it either). The player will still win the sum equivalent to their ante chip if the dealer’s hand is better than the player’s hand, but the dealer’s hand does not qualify. Simultaneously, they’ll “push” with their Play wager, allowing them to collect it after the hand (For example, if the dealer had If the dealer has J-4-3 and the player has T-9-7 and “played,” the player wins the sum equal to their ante.
  • The dealer’s hand “plays” and is ranked against the players if they have a Q-high High Card hand or better. If the player’s hand is better, they win the sum of both his or her “ante” and “play” bets. The player’s money from these betting regions of the table is collected if the dealer’s hand wins.
  • Because the “Pair Plus” wager is played independently if the player does not make a pair or better, the wager will either be collected or the matching profits will be given out. Regardless of the dealer’s hand and/or whether the player wins or would win against the dealer, this result occurs. The reward structures for these High Hands are listed below.

3 Card Poker Payouts

Though these can vary from casino to casino and location to location, the following are the regular 3 Card Poker Odds for “Pair Plus” wager payouts in America, as well as some payoff variations:

  • 1 to 1 pair
  • 3 to 1 flush (or 4 to 1)
  • 6 to 1 straight (or 5 to 1)
  • Three-of-a-
  • 30 to 1 ratio (or 25 to 1)
  • 40 to 1 Straight Flush

If you make one of the stronger hands, casinos usually provide Ante Bonus rewards in addition to the Pair Plus. There is no additional wager required for these payouts, unlike the Pair Plus bet.

3 Card Poker Stakes

It should be mentioned that at 3 Card Poker Tables, there are the minimum and maximum wager sizes. If the minimum bet is $5, however, “playing” a hand will cost you a total of $10: $5 for the ante wager and $5 for the play wager if you keep and play your hand against the dealer. When playing, the ante and play chips must always have the same numeric value. They can, however, be different from the amount utilized in the Pair Plus wager.

It’s worth noting that the Pair Plus wager must stay within the table’s minimum and maximum bet limits.

3 Card Poker Tips and Strategies

In 3 Card Poker, optimal strategy dictates that you should play all hands with a value of Q-6-4 or better and fold everything else.

Over the long run, this casino table game will always offer the house a modest edge of roughly 2%. However, depending on the payouts, the advantages for Pair Plus and Ante Bonuses will vary slightly from place to place. In general, casinos in the United States will offer the house a 7.28 percent edge in this game stage. In contrast, casinos in Europe will only give the house a 2.7 percent edge.

3 Card Poker Etiquette

There are three things to keep in mind when it comes to 3 Card Poker etiquette:

  • Playing your hand: To not only ante up but also play your hand, arrange your cards from low to high in the “play” box horizontally face-down, then set your “play” wager on top of your cards.
  • Folding your hand: You can fling your cards forwards towards the dealer if you have anted-up but don’t want to “play” your hand. Alternatively, slide your cards underneath your already-bet chips (in the “ante” and “Pair Plus” spots) and push the cards and chips together towards the dealer.
  • Tipping: When you win, it is traditional to tip the dealer. While the quantity and frequency of your tips are entirely up to you, a 10% tip is usually sufficient. (If you’re playing with $5 chips, keep in mind that you could do this with $1 chips.) After a hand, place your tip to the right of any of the betting circles: Pair Plus, Ante, or Play to tip your dealer.

Three Card Poker House Rules

It’s critical to clarify various differences in house regulations that may exist from one casino to the next:

  • The number of Simultaneous Hands for One Player: Some casinos only allow one player to play at a time, while others allow multiple players to play simultaneously (across the different sections for betting at the same table).
  • Sharing Hole Cards: Some poker rooms enforce a strict ONE-PER-HAND policy. Other locations allow players to share their hole cards and assist one another in making judgments on how to play their hand (s).
  • Which Bet Must Be Placed: Some casinos require you to place an ante chip before being handed a 3 Card Poker hand, leaving the Pair Plus wager category as an optional wager. You can choose to play the ante chip or the Pair Plus wager in other casinos (or both together).

Cheating at 3 Card Poker

In 3 Card Poker, it’s tough to cheat per se. However, unlike most Blackjack games, there is only one deck in play. Thus counting cards to gain an advantage isn’t entirely out of the question.

If the casino allows it, you may absolutely glance at the other players’ hands to see what additional cards are in play and whether the dealer’s hand is likely to qualify or not.

If the majority of the Aces, Kings, and Queens are in play among other players, it may be profitable to place a Play chip on the table. If the dealer’s hand is a Jack High or lower and doesn’t qualify, you can win an ante wager.

Playing 3 Card Poker Online

3 Card Poker is primarily played at a live table. To accommodate an online experience, some online casinos have built up virtual table games or live broadcasts of table games.

Check with your preferred online casino to see if 3 Card Poker is available.

3 Card Poker Summary

We hope that this article has helped you understand how to win at 3 Card Poker! It’s a very simple table game to learn and a lot of fun to play.

Keep in mind all of the many betting possibilities open to you, and do your homework to learn the House Rules for the 3 Card Poker game you’re playing.

Good luck playing 3 card Poker!