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How to Play 3 Card Poker – In-Depth

Is 3 Card Poker harder than regular poker? Let's find out!

Poker is one of the most recognizable casino games. In its simplest sense, poker is a card game wherein you will wager on the best hand according to the specific rules of the game. This will depend on the type of poker that you are playing. In this article, our focus will be on how to play 3 card poker.

3 card poker was created in 1994 and patented in 1997. The goal of the creator of this game is to come up with a poker variation that can be played at a speed similar to other table games you will find in casinos. The rules are easy to understand. The payout is high. The house edge is enough to attract both casinos and players.

Playing three card poker is simple. The dealer and the player will receive three cards each. The one with the higher hand wins. However, between understanding the hand rankings and learning about the types of bets, there are many things you need to learn.

How to Play 3 Card Poker

How to Play 3 Card Poker

Want to know more about how to play 3 card poker and win? We got you covered! Keep on reading and we’ll let you know how to play the game like a pro. Luckily, this is one of the simplest variations of poker, so it will be easy for almost anyone to understand how it works.

Rules of 3 Card Poker

As you understand how to play 3 card poker table game, you also need to know the rules. Below are some of the most important rules.

Hand Rankings in 3 Card Poker

Like in other kinds of poker, the winner will be decided based on the hand rankings. Below is the order of the winning hands in 3 Card Poker.

  • Straight Flush
  • Three-of-a-Kind
  • Straight
  • Flush
  • Pair
  • High Card

Types of Bet

Before you play 3 Card poker, you should also be familiar with the types of bets that you can place:

  • Ante: The ante spot is where the player will bet when the game starts. This is a bet against the dealer, and hence, to win, your hand should be better.
  • Play Wager: If you bet on the ante and you like the hand you have been dealt with, then you will place a bet on Play Wager.
  • Pair Plus: To win this bet, you must have a straight flush, three-of-a-kind, straight, flush, or pair in your hand.
  • Play Both: This means that you are betting both on the ante and pair plus.
  • Ante Bonus: You will qualify for a bonus payout if you play both the ante and play wager. You need straight flush, three-of-a-kind, or straight to win this bet.


How much will you win in 3 card poker? This depends on the hand that you have. Below is a quick look at the payout.

Pair Plus Payouts:

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

Ante Bonus Payouts:

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

So, How Do You Play 3 Card Poker?

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to play Vegas 3 Card poker.

  1. The game starts with the player placing a bet. The first bet is the ante bet. The second is the pair plus wager bet.
  2. Once the bets are placed, cards will be distributed. Each player will receive three cards face-down. Take note that you are playing against the dealer and not against the other players in the table.
  3. You will then look at your hand and determine if you will be placing a play wager, which is equal to the ante wager. Otherwise, you will fold. If you fold, the hand ends and the dealer will collect the bet on the table.
  4. If you have a play wager, then the game continues. The cards will be revealed, and the winning hand will be determined. The higher hand wins based on the ranking mentioned above. If the dealer wins, then you will lose all your bets. If the player wins, then the ante and the play wager will be paid 1:1.

So, How Do You Win at 3 Card Poker?

Now that we talked about the specifics of 3 card poker how to play, we’ll also let you know some tips and strategies to increase the chances of winning. Poker is a game of skill, not just chance. With the right strategies, you can increase the odds of winning and lower the house edge.

  1. Know when to raise. This is crucial in 3 card poker as this will increase the chances of winning. According to some experts, it is best to raise when your hand has a Queen, 6, and 4 or better. Otherwise, the best thing to do is to fold. When you do this strategy, there is a possibility of winning 5.29% on the raise and losing 8.66% on the ante.
  2. Bet on bonus wagers. There are other ways to win aside from the main bets. You just need to know where to put your money if you are expecting an optimal yield. A good example of this bet is the Pair Plus bonus. You win the bonus wager if you have a pair or a better hand ranking. Another good bet is a 6 Card Bonus. This combines your hand with the dealer’s. You will win if the combined hands have a three-of-a-kind or a better hand.
  3. Manage your bankroll. This strategy is applicable not only in 3 card poker but in other casino games as well. Especially if you keep on losing, it can be tempting to keep on playing. You might think that the odds will finally be on your side. In a typical game, here are the odds: dealer wins – 55.03%, player wins – 44.91%, and tie – .06%. If you are on a losing streak, the odds say that the dealer is at an advantage, so do not think that you can make up for your losses by playing more.


Knowing how to play 3 Card poker at a casino is the secret to winning big. The game is simple in theory but can be quite complicated in practice if you do not know the rules. Take note of the rules and strategies mentioned above so that you can play like a pro and have a winning hand!

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