Three Card Poker – How to Play

With hundreds of poker variants out there, not every casino player has come across Three Card Poker. A relatively new addition to the list of poker games at online and brick-and-mortar casinos is Three Card Poker, which is a fun and fast-paced variation of the poker game that has some similarities to Caribbean Stud Poker in that you play against the dealer.

Three Card Poker is played with a standard 52-card deck with up to seven players plus a dealer. All players at the table are dealt three cards face down including the dealer. The aim of the game is simply to beat the dealers hand simply by having a higher-ranked poker hand.

Three Card Poker Hand Rankings

Keep in mind, however, the poker hand rankings differ slightly to the traditional hand ranking order you would be used to playing Texas Hold’em. In Three Card Poker, the ranking of the hands are three cards with either; a straight flush, three of a kind, a straight, a flush or a pair. A straight is better than a flush because with only three cards it’s tougher to make a straight.

How to Play Three Card Poker

Before the cards are dealt you bet in the Ante spot against the dealer’s hand on the assumption that your hand will be better. If you want to bet on getting at least a pair or better then an additional wager can be placed on Pair Plus, but this is not a mandatory bet (more on this below). In order to stay in the game after looking at your cards you have to make another wager in the designated Play betting area.

When all the betting is done the dealer reveals his/her three cards. If the dealer has a Queen or better their hand qualifies and the dealer compares his/her hand with the players to see whether the player/dealer has the winning hand.

If you beat the dealer’s qualifying hand of a Queen or better, you win even money for the Ante and Play bets. Anything less, though, and the dealer takes it all. However, if the dealer hasn’t got at least a Queen in their hand, then all the players still in the game will get even money on the Ante and the Play wager becomes a push.

Three Card Poker Strategy

When it comes to betting in Three Card Poker – as long as you can remember the cutoff hand, you will know the perfect strategy for the game. Just know that if you have a Q-6-4 or better then play otherwise fold.

There is a bonus payout for the Ante wager if you get certain hands. The Ante bonus payouts vary from casino to casino but are usually as follows: Straight: 1 to 1, Three of a kind: 4 to 1 and for a Straight Flush: 5 to 1. Pair plus betting is very simple, you stand to get a bonus if you get a pair or better in your hand, although it uses a separate payout table.


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