Rules and Strategy

Play Three Card Poker Like a Pro | Easy Game Startegy Guide

3 Card Poker Strategy

Three Card Poker, is a variety of poker game in which the player and dealer are given three cards and the one with the higher hand is the winner. 3 Card Poker has quickly gone on to become one of the most popular table games at online and land-based casinos as it's easy to play and can pay out Large Prizes. On this page, you will find out everything that you need to know about this Poker Variant from how to play, the hand rankings, how to win, and where you can play for free or for real money.

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How to Play 3 Card Poker in 5 Easy Steps

In order to become a successful poker player, no matter what variety you are playing, you need to know the rules of poker. Thankfully, the three card poker rules are very easy to learn. However, before we take a look at how to play 3 card poker, we shall briefly explain a bit more about this poker variant. This card game is played using one regular deck of cards and is basically 2 games in 1.

The first game is known as the Pair Plus and here players have the chance to wager whether they will receive a pair or higher, or not. The second is the ante game and gives players the chance to wager against the dealer to see who has the best hands. Some casinos will give you the option of betting on either of the two games, while other casinos will require you to stick down an ante bet before you go ahead and place a Pair Plus bet. There is another side bet that is known as the 6-card bonus. You can bet on this if you think your 3 cards and the dealer's 3 cards will form a strong poker hand. However, we do not recommend that you do this as you will lose a lot more times than you win.

Below are the 5 easy steps to playing this game.

Placing your Bets

When you first sit down to play poker at a 3-card poker table, you have a couple of decisions that you need to make before the dealer deals the cards. First of all, you have to decide how much money you are going to bet. Once you have done this, the next thing that you need to do is decide what bets you are going to place. Are you going to place just a Pair Plus bet or an ante bet, or are you going to place both? Remember that some casinos will require you to place an ante bet.

3 Cards are Dealt

Once you have decided how much money you are going to wager and what type of bets you are going to place, the dealer will give everyone at the table three cards and they will then give themselves three cards. Play begins to the left of the dealer and continues around the table.

When to Play or Fold

You will be able to look at your three cards and you can decide whether you want to raise or fold. If you want to stay in the round and take a look at the dealer's hand, you must place down another stake that is equal to your ante bet – this is known as a play bet. If you think that your hand is rubbish and you will not win, then you fold and lose the money that you have already staked.

Hands are Compared

After everyone who is playing at the table has made up their mind about whether they are going to raise or fold, the dealer will flip over his three cards. If the dealer has a queen high or better, they qualify to carry on. If the dealer qualifies, then all the remaining hands are compared to theirs and if you beat the dealer's hand then you win some money.

3 Card Winning Bonuses

If the dealer does not qualify because they do not have a queen high or better, then all of the players who are still in play will have their play bet given back to them and will receive even money for the ante wager that they placed.

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Three Card Poker Payouts and Odds

So, when it comes to the Ante bet, Pair Plus, and the 6-card bonus what are the payouts and what are the 3 card poker odds of you receiving such a payout? Well, this is what we are going to take a much closer look at below.

Ante Bonus

When you are playing 3 card poker, you can be at the end of a nice bonus payout if you have a certain hand when placing the ante bet. What are the hands that qualify you for such a bonus? Well, that would be a Straight Flush, a Straight, or a 3-of-a-kind. The amount of Bonus Money that you receive will depend on the casino and the table that you are playing at.

Ante Bonus: Hand TypePayoutsOdds
Straight Flush or Higher5/10.20%
Three of a Kind4/10.20%
FlushNo Bonus5.00%
One pairNo Bonus16.90%

Pair Plus

If you have opted for this type of bet, you will win if your three cards are composed of a pair or higher. But what if he beats you in the ante game? Well, this is completely irrelevant. At the end of the day it is like this - if you have a pair or higher you win, if you do not, then you lose. It really is as simple as that.

Pair Plus: Hand TypePayoutsProbability
Mini Royal Flush100/10.018%
Straight Flush40/10.021%
Three of a Kind30/10.023%

Six-Card Bonus

If you decide to go for this side bet, then you will have to wait until the dealer reveals his hand to see if you are a winner. You can still win this bet, even if the dealer has beaten you in the ante game. What you need to happen in order for you to win a payout is that your three cards and the dealer's three cards will combine to form a combination anywhere between a 3-of-a-kind and a Royal Flush. Obviously, if your cards form a Royal Flush, you are on for a huge payout. However, as we mentioned briefly above, the chances of this happen are pretty slim, to say the least.

Six Card Bonus: Hand TypePayoutsProbability
Royal Flush1000/10.001%
Straight Flush200/10.20%
Four of a Kind50/10.07%
Full House25/10.8%
Three of a Kind5/13.5%

Three Card Poker Hand Rankings

If you have had the privilege of playing the Traditional Variety of Poker, then you will be pretty familiar with poker card hands as well as poker card rankings. However, in a traditional game of poker, you will have 5 cards that make up a hand, whereas with this variety of poker you will obviously only have 3 cards that will make up your hand. Therefore, the hands are obviously going to look at a tiny bit different. However, if you are familiar with traditional poker, you will have no issues, that is for sure.

In the table below we have listed all of the information that you need when it comes to 3 card poker.

3 Card Poker Hand Rankings: Hand TypeExampleDescription
Mini Royal FlushQ-K-A spadesQueen, King, and Ace of the same suit
Straight Flush6-7-8 ClubsThree cards of the same suit appearing in sequence.
Three of a Kind7-7-7Three cards of the same ranks.
Straight7-8-9Three cards of mixed suits in sequence.
Flush3-A-1 HeartsThree non-sequential cards of the same suit.
Pair2-3-3Two cards of the same rank.
High-Card10-5-8The highest card in your hand.

How to Win When Playing 3-Card Poker

When you are playing , there are some three card poker tips that you should always keep in mind. If you manage to remember these three card poker secrets, then we guarantee that you will have a much more fun gambling experience. So, without further ado, let us now take a look at some great tips.

Bankroll Management

Whenever you are gambling you should always have a bankroll of money that you can afford to lose. Once you have lost this bankroll, you should stop gambling. Many people lose their bankroll and then try to win it back right away, but this is a foolish thing to do as you will end up losing more money. When you are playing 3 card poker, you should play with 1% of your bankroll each time you play. If you go straight in with 50% of your bankroll and you lose, you have put a lot of pressure on yourself.

Lowest House Edge

When you are playing this variant of poker you are going to find out pretty quickly that the ante bet has the lowest house edge. What exactly do we mean by the house edge? Well, the house edge is the advantage that the casino has over the player. The Pair Plus bet has a higher house edge, so it is probably in your best interest when playing this game to stick to the option with the lowest house edge.

Avoid the side bets

We know that side bets can be really enticing due to how much you can win, but that is exactly what the casino wants you to feel. Side bets are always put in place to make a profit for the casino because they always have a very high house edge. So, when it comes to side bets, play the odd one every now and again but please do not make a habit of it as you might as well just open your wallet up, walk over to the window, and empty it into the breeze.

Place your Ante Wager on the Pair Plus

If you really want to go for the Pair Plus bet, but also want a low house edge, then you should place the same stake on the Pair Plus bet that you did on your ante. However, as we said above, we recommend that you avoid the temptation to place a variety of bets and just place your stake on the bet type with the lowest house edge. Remember that the more bet types that you opt for, the higher your total stake, and the more you will lose if luck has completely deserted you.

When to Raise your Ante Bet

When you have placed an ante bet, then you will have to decide whether to raise or to fold. So, when should you raise? Well, in our opinion, you should only consider raising if you have been given at least a high valued hand such as a queen, four and a six. Obviously, if you have better than this, you should raise. If you have been given a hand such as a six, three, and a two, then you should fold.

Never Play Blind

When you are playing 3 card poker you have the option of playing blind, which means that you will not look at the cards that you have been dealt by the dealer. You obviously stand to win more if luck is on your side, but when you are playing blind the house edge increases to a massive 7.6%. This means that your chances of losing money are much higher than your chances of winning money.

Claim your 3-Card Poker Bonus

When you are playing this game for real, as in for real money, you will be eligible for some great and traditional Welcome Bonuses as well as some less common no deposit ones. On this page of ours you will be able to find the online casinos with the best 3 card poker bonuses around.

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4 Easy Steps to Play Three Card Poker for Real Cash

There are 4 easy steps to playing 3 card poker for real money and we have listed them below for your complete convenience.


Take a look at our Top 10 Online Casino list and read our reviews. Once you have found the online casino that you think is perfect for you, complete the registration process. This should take you no longer than 10 minutes.


Once you have opened up an account, you will need to deposit some real money into it. If you have chosen one of the casinos that we recommend, we guarantee that this will be a simple procedure.

Claim your Bonus

Make sure that you claim your Welcome Bonus so that you get some extra money in your account. However, remember that these bonuses will come with wagering requirements that will need to be completed before you can start to withdraw.


Find a 3-card poker game that the casino is offering and get playing. We wish you the very best of luck!

Practice Using Free 3 Card Poker Games

If this game is completely new to you, then we highly recommend that you make use of free three card poker before you start playing for money. Why is this? Well, first of all, by playing free poker card games you can get an understanding as to whether that poker variant is your cup of tea without having to risk any of your own dollars. Imagine if you start off using your own money and you find out that you do not really like it, but you have already lost so cash. You will feel like you have wasted some of your money, and rightfully so.

Another reason why you should Play for Free to begin with is that it gives you a chance to familiarize yourself with the game with no real money at stake. Therefore, if you go on to make a novice mistake, such as folding a good hand, it will not cost you anything. You can move to play for real money when you feel that you have got some mastery of the game.

Where can you play for free before playing for real money? Well, you will be glad to hear that you can do so at any of the online casinos that we have listed on this site of ours. Online casino owners are well aware as to how many customers like to practice for free before they start using real money, so the majority will now provide their players with a wide variety of games that they can play for free. The great thing about their free games is that it is free online poker no download, which means you do not need to take up space on the device that you are using.

Playing 3 Card Poker for Free vs Playing for Real Money

In the table below, you can find a comparison between playing 3 card poker for free and playing it for real money.

Free 3 Card Poker Vs.Real Money 3 Card Poker
✔ Instant Play, No sign-up & No Download✔ Claim Bonuses and Earn Loyalty Points
✔ Practice all Strategies and Learn the Rules✔ Same Algorithims as Free 3 Card Poker
✔ Play For Free and for Fun, Risk Free✔ Low house edge starts from 2.01%
✖ Can't win money✔ Win Real Cash

Can I Play 3 Card Poker on my Mobile Device?

Nowadays, it is not an exaggeration to say that more people gamble using their mobile devices (smartphones or laptops) than they do using a desktop device. Online casino owners are well aware of this fact, which is why the majority go through great lengths to ensure that all of their games are mobile compatible as well. They know that if they do not take mobile gamers into account then they are going to run the risk of losing a lot of potential custom.

The great thing about mobile gaming is that it allows you to gamble wherever you like, so long as you have access to the Internet. For example, if you are waiting for an appointment you can pass the time away by playing some 3-card poker. Hopefully, you win though as we would not want you going into your appointment with a grumpy face on. Furthermore, there are plenty of mobile-only bonuses available out there, so be sure to keep an eye out for those if you are a mobile gambler.

Do You Need to Download an App?

You do not need to download an app as playing 3 card poker for real on a mobile casino site is perfectly fine, and you will have a very pleasant experience. However, if the casino that you have an account with does have an app available, then we really do recommend that you download it as apps are generally a lot faster than mobile sites. To add to this, they also use up a lot less mobile data than mobile sites do.

3 Card Poker Strategy in a Nutshell

So, you are now nearing the end of our 3 card poker review and we are hopeful that it has improved your knowledge about playing three card poker online. We have provided you with everything that you need to know about this game and are certain that what you will learn will help you have a fantastic 3 card poker gambling experience. Which is one of our main aims at the end of the day?

When it comes to choosing an online casino where you can play three card poker, you will not be disappointed if you select any of the ones from our Top Ten list. These Canadian Online Casinos have all made it on to this list by merit and merit alone. When it comes to features such as the bonuses and promotions, the variety of games on offer, the safety and security levels, the variety of banking options that are available, and the customer support on offer, they are all, it is fair to say, at the top of their game.

Note: Did you know that three card poker is actually a Stud Poker Game Variant? Fun little fact from Casinorama

3 Card poker FAQ's ❓

Below we have provided you with 7 common questions that are regularly asked about this game.

♠ What Are the Rules for Three Card Poker?

The rules for 3 card poker are extremely simple. Each player is given three cards and then the dealer is also given three cards. Once every player has decided whether they are going to fold or hold, their hand is compared to the dealer's. If the player has a better hand, then they win.

♠ Are 3 Card Poker Odds Better?

When compared to the likes of traditional poker, 3 card poker has better odds simply due to the fact that you only have three cards to complete a hand. For instance, in traditional poker to get a straight flush you need 5 cards of the same suit in a sequence. However, when playing 3 card poker, you need just 3 cards.

♠ What is a Flush in 3 Card Poker?

A Flush in 3 card poker is when you get three cards of the same suit that are not in a sequence. For instance, a four, Ace and 9 of hearts is a Flush.

♠ What Are the Odds of Getting a Straight Flush in 3 Card Poker?

When you are playing this game, the chances of getting a Straight Flush stand at 0.20%. In other words, you need a bit of luck to get such a hand.

♠ What is the Best Strategy for 3 Card Poker?

The best strategy for this game is to practice and play for free before you start to risk any of your own money. This allows you to familiarize yourself with the game and if you make a rookie mistake it will not cost you.

♠ Can I Play 3 Card Poker on Mobile?

If you are the type of player that loves to gamble on your mobile device, then you will be happy to hear that you will be able to play 3 card poker on it, ensuring that you can play this game wherever you happen to be.

♠ Which is the Best Online Casino to Play 3 Card Poker?

This is a difficult question to answer because it is highly subjective. What is a great casino for one player might be a bad one for another. However, what we can say though is that you will be happy with any of the casinos that we have listed on this site.

Tom Lasten, Editor-in-Chief @ Casino Bonuses Index

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