How to Play 3-Card Poker Online

You compete against the dealer to ascertain who has the most straightforward 3-card hand. Beat the dealer, and win the bet. Hit a premium hand like a Flush and a Straight, and win big. Consequently, you lose to the dealer, and your bets are lost.

How to Play 3-Card Poker 

3 Card Poker has the name “poker” because it uses the quality hand ranking order, but it’s more of a casino game than Poker in and of itself. You’ll alter your bets slightly to chase different premium or bonus hands, but there is no poker strategy – e.g., deciding which cards to stay or draw, making bets against other players – involved.

You choose between a few bets before the deal, see what three cards you receive, and hope for the simplest. There is a significant exception to the quality hand rankings to notice, though: Because it’s harder to create straights in 3 card poker than a regular flush. The most significant difference from traditional Poker is the ranking order. Flushes and Straights are reversed. What does that mean?:

  • A straight hand is MORE valuable than a flush in 3 Card Poker

Otherwise, there aren’t any changes to the hand rankings apart from eliminating any hands that need over three cards. This makes things simple as there are only six possible 3-card poker hands you’ll make. Here they’re ranked from highest to lowest:

  • Straight Flush
  • Three of a kind
  • Straight
  • Flush
  • Pair
  • High card

How to Make Bets in 3-Card Poker

When you begin playing, you usually choose between a couple of types of bets depending on the type of table and gameplay variation you choose. At the most common 3 Card Poker tables, you can play:

  • Ante bet
  • Play bet
  • PairPlus
  • Both Ante and PairPlus bet

The Ante, PairPlus, and Other PlayBets

Before you get any cards, you have to choose your bets.

  • A) Ante Bet
  • B) Ante combined with a PairPlus

The Ante bet is a must to receive any cards. The PairPlus is optional. You’re simply betting in anticipation of being dealt a pair or higher in your playing poker hand. Once all the players at the 3-Card Poker table have made that decision and made their chosen bets, the dealer deals three cards face down to everyone in hand. You can then look at your cards.

Once you’ve looked at your cards, you now make one more decision. Do you want to go on and challenge the dealer and see who has a higher hand? If you do, you now make a Play-Bet, which is the same as an ante-bet. Take a quick look at the basic order of gameplay.

  1. Place your Ante-Bet
  2. Get your Cards Dealt
  3. Choose to fold, which will lose your money, or complete the Play-Bet 

If you fold, you will lose both your bets. If you choose to play, then you challenge the dealer and compare hands.

Ways to Win a 3-Card Poker Hand Online

So to win your ante bet, your three-card hand has to be greater compared to the dealer. The dealer must hold a queen high or greater to qualify and play.

  • If the dealer does not qualify with the current hand, the player receives a 1:1 on his ante-bet and is returned the Play-Bet.
  • If the dealer gets qualified and the player wins, the player gets 1:1 on both the Ante and Play chance.
  • If the dealer qualifies and the player manages to lose one of the two or both of the bet(s).
  • If the dealer qualifies or results with a tie, the player pushes: Both bets are returned.

In player versus dealer payout, players playing Ante and Play receive bonus payouts (regardless of the dealer’s hand) for solid 3 Card Poker-Hands:

  • Straight Flush – Payout 5:1
  • Three of a Kind – Payout 4:1
  • Straight – Payout 1:1

What is a Pair-Plus Bet(s)?

Possibly the easiest bets of any online casino table game you can play, the PairPlus bet requires no decision-making on the player’s end.

  1. Provide your Pair-Plus bet before the deal (the bet must be between the table minimum and maximum bet amounts)
  2. Receive your cards
  3. Get paid (Higher Hand)

If you do hit a three-card hand that is a pair or a higher hand, the payout is:

  • Straight Flush: 40 : 1
  • Three of a Kind: 30 : 1
  • Straight: 6 : 1
  • Flush: 4 : 1
  • Pair: 1 : 1

Just a high card and no pair? You lose your Pair-Plus bet, but you can still win your other Ante bet if your high card is higher than the dealer. However, you can still lose to the dealer and lose your Ante and Play-Bets but hit your Pair-Plus bet and get paid handsomely. You don’t have to win your ante-bets or play chance to qualify for the Pair-Plus payout.

3 Card Poker Strategy: The 3-Card Poker Rules

Because the game of 3-Card Poker is simple and easy to play, most players like to play Blind hands, or play every hand despite of the hand they’re dealt. That’s a whole lot of action all the time, but it does have a consequence – it improves the house/rake advantage by sever percent from the online casino standard of three percent. Due to the big difference in the house edge, if you play every hand, most veteran 3-Card Poker Players abide by a consistent strategy and a rule of – Q64

What does a Q64 strategy mean?

  • Only play when you have hands that consist of a Queen, six, four or even higher

If you choose to abide by that strategy or requirement, you keep the dealer/house edge to the bare minimum, which is between 2-3% depending on the online casino you’re playing at.

Playing the Ante, Play, and PairPlus Bets or Just One

It depends on the 3-Card Poker Player and the amount of action and money the player is willing to bet on. Generaly, playing both the ante and the PairPlus bets equally each time gives you the best chance of gaining a maximum return over a longer period. Of course, that will include a few losing streaks. Especially if you’re counting on challenging the Pair-Plus bets. Here are your odds of hitting a Pair-Plus:

  • Pair: 16.94%
  • Flush: 4.9%
  • Straight: 3.26%
  • Three of a kind: 0.24%
  • Straight Flush: 0.22%

To keep it simple, you have an estimated 25% chance to hit a pair or better. The flipside of that is you might lose that bet about 75% of the time you play.

To make sure you have the best betting odds against the house, you really should never play the Pair-Plus bets.

The best way to make sure you lose the least amount of money is to only play Ante-bets and the Play bet if you have Q64 or higher.

3-Card Poker: Stay Away From the “6 Card Bonus.”

Stay away from the 6 Card Bonus.

Bonus bets always looks so enticing, just sitting there offering up enormous odds and huge payouts. Winning one is rare. The odds of earning most bonus bets are simply too low to make them profitable over time. That’s the reality of a 6 Card Bonus bet while playing 3 Card Poker Online.

To keep it simple, the 6-Card Bonus is a payout based on the combination of your 3 Card Poker hand and the online dealer’s 3 Card hand. Putting the two together to make the best 5-card poker hand you can and you’ll be paid out accordingly:

  • Royal Flush: 1,000 : 1
  • Straight Flush: 200 : 1
  • Four of a Kind: 100 : 1
  • Whole House: 20 : 1
  • Flush: 15 : 1
  • Straight: 9 : 1
  • Three of a Kind: 8 : 1

Looks enticing? While you might get a great payout from earning a bonus a few times, the online casino edge is well over 7% for which means you can’t make any money on it in the long haul.

If you do win on one of the bonus hands, your bet is paid out whether you win either of your ante or play bets.