How To Play 3 Card Poker

3 weeks ago
How To Play 3 Card Poker
31 Jan

You can have five cards or seven cards, two in your hand or four, community cards or streets full of them pinging your way, but there is one poker variant that is designed to pit just you against the casino – and that’s 3-card poker!

Unlike the other variants, where you are pitted against a motley assortment of other players, the ingenious 3-card version sees you and the dealer facing off, your goal being to beat the house.

If you’ve played any form of poker before then the three card variety won’t be too difficult to pick up, but of course the rules have a few specific details you have to know. Here’s a quick guide on how to play 3 card poker


Ante Bet

You have to bet before you have seen your cards, and the ante bet allows you to do just that.

Pair Plus Bet

If you want to bet that your three cards will contain a pair or better, the pair plus bet can be made alongside your ante. This one doesn’t depend on what the dealer has. They might have a bigger pair, but your pair still wins money.

Play Bet

Equal to your ante bet, this one allows you to compete against the dealer, who will be dealt three cards as well, whether you are playing live or online.

Six Card Bonus Bet

This bet is one for the real gamblers out there, basically a small chance of a huge win if your own three cards in combination with the dealer’s three cards makes one strong 5-card hand.

Most experts on 3-card poker say not to touch this bet with a bargepole if it’s on offer, but that’s entirely your choice – speculate to accumulate is one motto that springs to mind.

Ok, you now know how the betting works, but how does a 3-card poker hand play out?

  • First up, before the cards appear, you place your ante bet, or if you prefer, the ante and a pair plus bet.
  • Do this and you and the dealer will both be dealt three cards. Your three will be face up, the dealer’s face down.
  • If you fancy the look of your cards, you will raise – placing a bet equal to your ante. If you don’t think your hand is any good, then you can fold, losing your initial stake.
  • Of course, you’ll need to know how the hand rankings work, and there’s only one small difference from standard poker, and we’ll describe this below.
  • The dealer will then reveal their cards and you’ll find out whether you’ve won or not.

How do I know if I have won?

It’s as simple as beating the dealer’s hand, and the dealer HAS to have at least a queen-high hand to play against you. If they don’t, then you’ve already won regardless of your own holding.

You get paid out an amount equal to your ante, and your play bet is also returned.

If the dealer’s hand qualifies to play, and you beat their hand, you get paid out a sum equal to the ante plus the Play bet. Naturally, if you lose then the dealer wins both of your ante and Play bets.

A tied hand between you and the dealer, as you can imagine, sees both of your bets returned. Suits don’t count as tiebreakers.

How much can I win?

Here’s where the bonuses can come into serious play, and the standard payout bonuses are split into two…

Ante Bet Bonus

Straight flush
3 of a kind
no payout
One pair
no payout

Pair Plus Bet bonus

Straight flush
3 of a kind
One pair

As you can see, a straight beats a flush in 3-card poker. Also, it’s clear that the Pair Plus bet is where the biggest payouts happen, and don’t require you to beat the dealer to win.

The popular casino game can be played live, while 3 card poker online is one of the most popular virtual games at most online casinos.

One strategy tip you might like to know before trying your hand at the fast-paced, action-filled and potentially very lucrative casino game. The rule of Q64.

You can play and bet every hand you are dealt if you want to, but having a starting hand of at least queen – six – four or better is a golden rule for beginners. 

That’s you got the basics of 3-card poker, so good luck at the tables!

Articles 2002

Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more


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