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Learn 3 Card Poker – Rules and How to Play

Play 3 Card PokerThree card poker is an exciting fast paced poker game. The player gets three cards and compares them to the dealer’s hand, the goal being to beat the dealer. Unlike in most poker games like Texas Hold’em where players compete against each other 3 card poker is a game against the dealer. You will soon realise that three card poker is an easy game as we explain the game’s rules, betting options and strategies to increase your win rate. We have also compiled a list of the best online poker sites where you play 3 card poker games for free and for real money.

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Three Card Poker Basics

  • 3 card poker is played with a 52-card deck with no jokers.
  • Hand rankings follow the standard poker hand rankings but with just three cards per hand.
  • The high hand wins when both the player and dealer have no qualifying hands and they just have three odd cards each.
  • A “standoff” in 3 card poker is when both the dealer and player’s hands are equal, and all bets are returned.
  • Fold is the option that players have to give up the round and forfeit any bets placed so far.
  • A “qualifying hand” is a hand that is one of winning hands according to the 3-card poker hand rankings.
Play Three Card Poker

 

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Practice how to play three card poker for free at the best Australian online poker sites.

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Three Card Poker Game

Three card poker is a unique poker game with no pot system that uses a single 52 card deck. There are no compulsory bets or blinds. It’s not a draw game so there are no additional cards or betting rounds. As the player you get three cards and so does the dealer. You can bet on beating the dealer’s hand or you can bet that the dealer will have the better hand.

The bets that you can make are ante, play, pair plus, and in some 3 card poker games there is a 6-card bonus bet. You can also make a combination of some bets.  The bets can have multiple outcomes depending on the hand you have and if you have made an additional combination bet. Because of this 3-card poker has good odds.

How to Play Three Card Poker in 5 Easy Steps

Like all poker games, you start by making your bets before cards are dealt. The player and dealer get three cards each. There are a few betting options – Play, Ante, Pair Plus and a combination of the Ante and Pair Plus. Some 3 card poker games feature a 6-card bonus bet.

  1. Start by making your bet
  2. Cards are dealt face down – 3 for the dealer and yourself.
  3. Click on the cards to expose them and see the hand you have been dealt.
  4. After seeing your cards, you have the option to fold or make an additional play bet.
  5. When you have taken action the dealer’s hand is revealed and your payout is credited to your balance if you have won.

3 Card Poker Rules and Bets

3 card poker has fun betting options that are flexible. One bet can have multiple outcomes, thereby making three card poker, a game with favourable odds for players. The betting options available are Ante, Play, Pair Plus, 6 card bonus and combinations of these bets.

Ante Bet

The Ante Bet can have one of two outcomes depending on the dealer’s hand and the players actions.

The ante bet wins when:

  • the player has placed a “Play” bet and the dealer’s hand does not qualify for any payouts
  • the player makes a “Play” bet and their hand has a higher poker hand ranking than the dealer’s hand

The ante bet loses if:

  • the dealer’s qualifying hand is of a higher ranking than the player’s hand.
  • The player folds.

Play Bet

  • The play bet wins when the player hand has a higher poker hand ranking than the dealer’s qualifying hand.
  • The play bet loses if the dealer’s hand qualifies and is of a higher rank than the player’s hand.
  • The play bet neither wins or loses when both the dealer and player hands are equal

Pair Plus Bet

  • The pair plus bet wins when the player has at least a pair in hand.
  • The pair plus bet loses when the player doesn’t have at least a Pair in hand.

Six Card Bonus

  • This is a bonus bet that wins when the players 3 cards and the dealer’s 3 cards (6 cards in total) form at least a Three of a kind or better.
  • The six-card bonus loses when the players 3 cards and the dealer’s 3 cards (6 cards in total) do not form at least a Three of a kind or better.

 

Three Card Poker Hand Rankings

Even though 3 card poker only has a total of three cards per hand the hand ranking system is similar to the standard poker hand rankings.

  • Mini Royal Flush – an Ace, King and Queen all in the identical suit
  • Straight Flush – three cards in an identical suit and in a consecutive sequence.
  • Three of a Kind – a hand on three identical cards of the same kind e.g., 8 8 8
  • Straight – a three card hand in consecutive sequence in mixed suits.
  • Flush – any three cards in the identical suit in no sequence
  • Pair – two cards of the same rank and any third card e.g., 6; 6; A
  • Three -any three cards and the highest hand wins e.g. A; 8; 5 will beat a Q; 10; 8

 

3 Card Poker Bet Payouts

Payouts for winning hands in 3 card poker games vary according to the bets you made.

Play + Ante Bonus Bet Payout

HandPayoutsOdds
Straight Flush or higher5 to 10.2%
Three of a Kind4 to 10.2%
Straight1 to 13.3%

 

Pair Plus Bet Payout

HandPayoutsOdds
Royal Flush100/10.018%
Straight Flush40 to 10.021%
Three of a Kind30 to 10.023%
Straight5 to 13.2%
Flush4 to 14.9%
Pair1 to 116%

 

Six Card Bonus Bet Payout

Hand TypePayoutsOdds
Royal Flush1000/10.0009%
Straight Flush200/10.0081%
Four of a Kind100/10.07%
Full House20 to 10.8%
Flush15 to 11.01%
Straight10 to 11.7%
Three of a Kind7 to 13.5%

 

Best Three Card Poker Strategy

While 3 card poker is not a draw poker game there are still strategies that you can use when playing the game to increase your chances of winning. The best 3 card poker strategy is also influsenced by the type of bet you make. So, the optimal strategy comes down to choosing bets with good odds. The Pair Plus bet has the best odds of all the bets when you consider the factors that contribute to a win for the bet.

Pair Plus Bet Strategy

When you make the pair plus bet increases your odds of winning because there are 5 outcomes that will result in a payout for you. A pair plus bet is a bet that your hand will be a pair or better. There are 4 other 3 card poker hands that are better than a Pair. The Pair Plus has the highest house edge of over 7% but it also has the highest probability of 16% to payout at least for a Pair.

Play Bet Strategy and Odds

The play bet wins if you have a better hand than the dealer, which is one variable in favour of a win. Whereas the same bet will lose or result in a stand off if the dealer has a better hand or when the dealer’s hand is equal to yours. So, there are two variables in favour of a loss or non -win.

Ante Bet

The ante bet is a bonus bet and will win when the player has made a play bet and the dealer’s hand is of a lower ranking than the player. In theory, this bet has 50-50 odds of a win or a loss.

3 Card Poker FAQs


How is 3 card poker played?

Three card is played with 3 cards face down for the dealer and player. Players can make 3 basic bets ante, play and pair plus. Sometimes there is a bonus bet 6 card bonuses, which pays out when the dealer and players cards combine produce a Three of a kind or better.

What’s the best hand in 3 card poker?

The best hand in 3 card poker is a straight flush, three cards in sequence in an identical suit.

What are the odds of winning at 3 card poker?

The odds of winning 3 card poker depend on the types of bets you place, the Pair Plus bet has the highest probability of winning at 16% of the minimum payout.

What is the best way to bet in 3 card poker?

The best bet is a Pair Plus bet which has 16% probability of paying out for at least a Pair.

What is the house edge in 3 Card Poker?

The house edge is different for each type of bet – 3.37% on an Ante and Play bet and 7.28% on a Pair Plus Bet

What are the odds of getting a royal flush in 3 Card Poker?

The odds of getting a royal flush in 3 card poker are 0.02%.

Does a pair beat a flush in 3 Card Poker?

No, a pair does not beat a flush in any scenario of 3 card poker, even with a Pair Plus bet the flush is always a better hand.

Is ace high or low in 3 Card Poker?

An ace is high in 3 card poker.

Are 3 Card Poker odds better?

Three card poker odds are better than other poker games in some instances you have a 16% chance of getting a payout.

Does a full house beat a straight?

No, a full house does not beat a straight.

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