Three Card Poker: Exciting Poker Variation

Three card poker is one of the most popular poker variations out there. This immersive and exciting game is loved by both online gamblers and those who prefer to gamble at land-based casinos. Three card poker has all chances to become your favorite card game. It’s fun, easy to master, and financially rewarding! In this guide, we’ll look at three card poker rules, strategies, and winning tips. Buckle up and let’s go!

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About 3 card poker

Three card poker is a variation of Stud Poker. If you've never heard about this game before, it’s high time you explored it because it’s amazing! Why does 3 card poker have this peculiar name? It’s actually very simple and has to do with the objective of the game. When playing 3 card poker, your goal is to form the best hand with only 3 cards that have been dealt to you.

How to play three card poker online

If you fear that three card poker is a sophisticated casino game for you to master, your worries are absolutely ungrounded. The reason why so many gamblers love to play 3 card poker online is that it’s amazingly easy to play, even for rookies. On the Internet, there’s a myriad of tutorials explaining how to play the 3 card poker game online. Let’s break down the rules of 3 card poker online in a simple way.

three card poker

Three card poker is played with a standard 52-card deck. A major difference between regular poker and 3 card poker is that when playing the latter, you’re competing against the dealer, and not against other players at the table.

  1. Before the cards are dealt, the player places the Ante bet. It’s a bet against the dealer. Also, the player can choose to make the Pair Plus bet. It’s an optional wager. Payouts on the Pair Plus bet depend on how good your final hand is.
  2. The game begins, and the dealer deals 3 cards face down to themselves and to the player.
  3. The player takes a look at their hand and evaluates it. (Note that the dealer doesn’t look at their hand.) Based on their cards, the player has to decide if they want to place the Play bet or not. If the player likes their hand and believes that it can beat the dealer’s hand, they place the Play bet. The Play bet equals the Ante bet. If the player’s hand is unlikely to beat the dealer’s hand, the player folds and the round for them is over. The dealer takes away the player’s Ante bet (in poker terms, “the Ante bet is forfeited”), as well as the Pair Plus bet (if this type of bet has been made).
  4. After placing the Play bet, the player reveals their cards. The dealer also opens up their hand.
  5. The dealer’s and the player’s hands are compared.
  6. In order to qualify, the dealer must have a Queen-High or better. If the dealer qualifies and their hand beats the player's hand, the player loses their Ante and Play wagers. If the dealer qualifies but the player has a better hand, the player gets a 1:1 payout on both Ante and Play bets.
  7. If the dealer qualifies and there is a tie (the dealer’s hand total equals to the player’s hand total), the player gets back their wagers. In poker terms, this situation is called a “Push”.
  8. If the dealer fails to qualify, the player gets a 1:1 payout on their Ante bet.

3 card poker payouts

Now it’s time for the cherry on the pie! Let’s find out how much you can make playing 3 card poker. To get paid on your Ante wager, you must end up with a better hand than the dealer. This is how the Ante bet is paid:

  • Straight Flush: 5 to 1
  • Three of a Kind: 4 to 1
  • Straight:1 to 1

Now let’s see the payouts for the Pair Plus wager. Have you ever thought why this type of wager is called like this? It’s because in order to get paid on this bet, you need to have a pair or a better combination. The rarer the combination that you have up your sleeve, the more money you’ll get! The good thing is that your Pair Plus bet can generate a nice payout even if you failed to beat the dealer’s hand! That’s the beauty of the Pair Plus wager.

  • Straight Flush: 40 to 1
  • Three of a Kind: 30 to 1
  • Straight: 6 to 1
  • Flush: 3 to 1
  • Pair: 1 to 1

Three card poker has another optional bet that is called the 6 Card Bonus. If the player’s three cards and the dealer’s three cards put together form a Three of a Kind or better, the 6 Card Bonus wager generates a payout for the player. The stronger the resulting hand, the more money you can count on!

3 card poker hands

Just like classic poker, 3 card poker online uses standard hand combinations, such as Pair, Straight Flush, etc. These combinations have the same rankings as in regular poker but with one exception. In 3 card poker, a Straight pays better than a Flush. Let’s recapitulate the basic poker hands that every gamer needs to know.

  • Straight Flush is a combination of 3 sequential cards of the same suit.
  • Three of a Kind is a combination of 3 cards that have the same value and the same suit.
  • Straight is a hand of 3 sequential cards.
  • Flush is a hand of 3 same-suit cards.
  • Pair is a hand where 2 out 3 cards have the same value.
  • High Card is a card that has the highest value (for hands that don’t match the categories above).

3 card poker strategy

If you’re adamant about winning at 3 card poker, you can’t do without winning tips.

  • To Play or to Fold is the most challenging decision that the player has to make after evaluating their hand. The rule of thumb is this: if you have a Queen-6-4 or a better hand, you should definitely place the Play wager.
  • Also, you should continue playing if your High Card is an Ace or King.
  • If you have a Queen and a 7 (or a better combination), you should place the Play bet. In this case, it doesn’t even matter what your third card is.
  • If your High card is Jack or any non-face card, you better fold your hand to minimize your losses.
  • In some 3 card poker games, the player is allowed to see one of the dealer’s cards. This additional rule gives you a significant advantage when making your decision. If the dealer’s card is a Jack or lower, don’t hesitate to place the Play wager. If the dealer revealed a Queen, you should only place the Play bet if you have at least a Queen-9-2. If the dealer’s card is a King, go for the Play wager only if you have a King-9-2 or a stronger combination.

Final word

We hope that after reading this guide, you’ll feel the urge to try three card poker! This game is a gem among card table games. The biggest advantage of 3 card poker is that it has a simple and straightforward gameplay. Even beginners can master this game in under 10 minutes! One of the challenges that novice gamblers face is a variety of betting options. On a brighter note, we’re sure that with due diligence you’ll be able to memorize all types of bets and 3 card poker rules in no time!

In part, 3 card poker relies on luck because you never know what cards you’re going to get. But at the same time, the outcomes of the game (and your winnings) also depend on your skills and decision-making. In other words, 3 card poker is an ideal fusion between a luck-based and a skill-based casino card game!