Learn How to Play Three Card Poker: Rules, Tips, and Strategies

Are you looking to step up your poker game? Three Card Poker is a fast-paced variation of traditional poker that’s becoming increasingly popular in casinos worldwide. With its simple rules and exciting gameplay, Three Card Poker is well worth learning for anyone who wants to take their poker skills to the next level.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you through everything you need to know to play Three Card Poker like a pro. We’ll start with the basics – the rules and how to place bets – before moving on to more advanced techniques such as strategy and bluffing.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, this guide has you covered. By the time you’ve worked your way through our tips and tricks, you’ll be well on your way to mastering Three Card Poker. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!

History of Three Card Poker

Three Card Poker is a relatively new addition to the world of gambling games. It was invented by British poker player Derek Webb in 1994, with the goal of creating a game that was easy enough for beginners to learn and fast enough for experts to enjoy. The game quickly gained popularity, and it can now be found in casinos all over the world.

Webb originally called his creation "Casino Brag," but the name was changed to Three Card Poker when it was introduced to the United States in 1997. The game is also sometimes known as Tri Card Poker or Trey Poker.

One reason for the game's success is its simplicity. Unlike traditional poker, Three Card Poker is played with a single deck of cards and only three cards are dealt to each player. The game is also faster than other forms of poker, which makes it attractive to players who want to get in and out of the casino quickly LeoVegas.

Another attractive feature of Three Card Poker is the relatively low house edge. The exact house edge depends on the specific rules used in the game, but it is generally in the range of 3% to 5%. This is lower than many other popular casino games, including roulette and slots.

Overall, Three Card Poker has proven to be a popular and enduring addition to the world of gambling games. Its simplicity, speed, and low house edge make it a favorite among both beginners and experienced players alike.

The Rules of Three Card Poker

Hand Rankings

In Three Card Poker, the hand rankings are different from traditional poker games. The highest-ranking hand is a straight flush, followed by three of a kind, a straight, a flush, and a pair. If two hands have the same ranking, the hand with the highest card wins.


The game begins with each player placing an ante bet and/or a pair plus bet. The dealer then deals three cards to each player and themselves. Players can then look at their cards and decide whether to fold or continue playing. If a player folds, they lose their ante bet. If they continue playing, they must place a play bet which is equal to the ante bet.

Once all players have made their decisions, the dealer reveals their cards. In order to qualify, the dealer must have a queen high or better. If the dealer does not qualify, the player wins even money on their ante bet and their play bet is returned. If the dealer does qualify, their hand is compared to each player's hand. If the player's hand beats the dealer's hand, they win even money on both their ante and play bets. If the dealer's hand beats the player's hand, the player loses both bets.

Pair Plus Bet

The pair plus bet is a separate bet that is based on the player's hand only. This bet pays out if the player's hand contains a pair or better, regardless of whether they win or lose the ante and play bets. The payout for a pair plus bet varies depending on the hand ranking.

Overall, Three Card Poker is an easy and fast-paced game that is perfect for beginners. With a basic understanding of the hand rankings and gameplay, anyone can enjoy this exciting casino game.

Three Card Poker Hand Ranks

Understanding the hand ranks is essential if you want to play Three Card Poker. There are six possible hands you can make, and their ranks are based on traditional poker rankings.

  • High card: This is the lowest-ranked hand, with no matching cards or straight. The highest card in your hand determines the rank.
  • Pair: A pair is two cards of the same rank. The higher the pair, the higher the rank.
  • Straight: A straight is three cards in sequential order. Ace can be used as the highest card (A-K-Q) or as the lowest card (A-2-3).
  • Flush: A flush is three cards of the same suit. The rank is determined by the highest card in the flush.
  • Three of a kind: This is the highest-ranking hand, consisting of three cards of the same rank.
  • Straight flush: This is the rarest and highest-ranking hand, consisting of three cards in sequential order and of the same suit (e.g., 5-6-7 of hearts).

It's important to note that in Three Card Poker, a straight has a higher rank than a flush. This is because it's more difficult to make a straight with only three cards than a flush.

Knowing the hand ranks is important when playing Three Card Poker. It's also important to remember that the dealer needs to have at least a Queen or higher to qualify. If the dealer doesn't qualify, players win even money on their ante bet and their play bet pushes (ties).

Hand RankDescriptionExample
High cardNo matching cards or straight9-5-2
PairTwo cards of the same rankJ-J-9
StraightThree cards in sequential order10-9-8
FlushThree cards of the same suitA-8-2 (all diamonds)
Three of a kindThree cards of the same rank6-6-6
Straight flushThree cards in sequential order and of the same suitA-K-Q (all spades)

Ante-Play Strategy in Three Card Poker

Playing Three Card Poker is both entertaining and rewarding, but what makes this game even more exciting is the strategy involved. If you're new to Three Card Poker, it's helpful to understand the different strategies you can use when you're in the game. One of the most common strategies is the Ante-Play strategy.

In this strategy, the first thing you need to do is to place an Ante bet. This bet is required in order for you to get a chance to play the hand. After placing the Ante bet, you will then get three cards, and the dealer will also receive three cards face down.

Once you've received your cards, you can either fold or play. If you decide to fold, you forfeit your Ante bet. If you decide to play, you will need to place another bet that's equal to the Ante bet, which is called a Play bet.

The Ante-Play strategy involves playing only the strongest hands. To be more specific, you should only play when you have a Queen-6-4 or better. If you have a hand that's weaker than this, you should fold. This means that you'll be playing around 50% of your hands on average.

By using the Ante-Play strategy, you'll be able to reduce the house edge to 3.37%, making it one of the most profitable strategies in the game. Remember, this strategy is just a guide, and it's still up to you to make your own decisions based on the cards you've been dealt.

Pair Plus Strategy in Three Card Poker

What is Pair Plus?

Pair Plus is an optional bonus bet in Three Card Poker that pays out if your hand contains a pair or better. It is a separate bet to the Ante and Play bets and you can only win or lose the Pair Plus bet independently of the main game.

Two Different Approaches

There are two main strategies for Pair Plus betting. The first is to bet on all hands regardless of the cards you are dealt. This is known as the 'blind' approach and is favored by some players who see it as a fun way to potentially win big prizes. However, it is not recommended for serious players.

The second approach is to adopt a more strategic approach and only bet on hands that have a higher chance of producing a pair or better. This involves analyzing the possible combinations of your hand and deciding whether to bet or not based on the likelihood of a win.


To increase your chances of winning on Pair Plus, it is recommended to only bet on hands that have a high probability of producing a pair or better. This includes hands such as Queen, Six, Four or better.

It is also important to remember that the Pair Plus bet has a higher house edge than the Ante and Play bets, so you should only bet what you can afford to lose.

Ultimately, the strategy you choose for Pair Plus depends on your personal preference and risk appetite. Whether you choose to adopt a more casual or serious approach, remember to have fun and enjoy the game.

Bonus Strategy in Three Card Poker

If you're looking to increase your winnings in Three Card Poker, utilizing a bonus strategy could be the way to go. Most casinos offer a bonus payout for hitting certain hands, such as a Straight or Three of a Kind. To take advantage of this, you'll want to adjust your betting patterns accordingly.

First, it's important to understand the bonus payouts offered by your casino. Make sure to read the paytable before placing your bets. Once you know what hands will trigger a bonus payout, you'll want to focus your bets on those specific outcomes.

For example, let's say the casino offers a bonus payout for hitting a Three of a Kind. In this case, you'll want to bet more when you have a strong Three of a Kind hand, and bet less when your hand is weaker. This helps maximize your payout potential when you hit a bonus hand.

It's important to keep in mind that bonus payouts often come with a higher house edge, meaning the casino has a better chance of winning in the long run. So while utilizing a bonus strategy can be a great way to increase your winnings in the short term, it's still important to practice smart bankroll management and not bet more than you can afford to lose.

Three Card Poker Variations

Three Card Poker is a popular casino game that has various variations. These variations differ in rules, payouts, and strategies. Here are some of the most common variations of Three Card Poker:

  • Pair Plus - This variation allows players to place a side bet on whether their three cards will contain a pair or higher.
  • Three Card Poker Prime - In this variation, players can place an additional bet on whether their three cards will all be of the same color or all be of the same suit.
  • Progressive Three Card Poker - This variation has a progressive jackpot that is won when a player gets a royal flush with their three cards.
  • Ultimate Three Card Poker - This variation allows players to place an additional bet on the dealer's hand, giving them the chance to win even if they lose their main bet.

Before playing Three Card Poker, it is important to familiarize yourself with the rules and payouts of the specific variation you will be playing. Each variation has its own strategy and optimal betting techniques. By understanding the different variations, you can improve your chances of winning and have a more enjoyable casino experience.

Learning About Three Card Poker Odds and Payouts

Understanding the Odds

Before you start playing three card poker, you should understand the odds to increase the chances of winning. The odds of getting a pair is approximately 1 in 6, while the odds of getting a flush is 1 in 32. However, the chances of getting a straight flush are only 1 in 460.

It is also important to note that the odds of getting a high-ranking hand such as a straight flush or three of a kind are lower compared to getting a lower-ranking hand such as a pair or high card. Therefore, it is important to bet wisely to increase your chances of winning.

Knowing the Payouts

Three card poker has different payouts depending on the type of bet. If you make an ante bet and get a high-ranking hand, you can win up to 5 times the amount of your original bet. If you make a pair plus bet and have a pair or better, you can win up to 100 times your bet.

However, if you make a play bet and the dealer qualifies, you can only win if you have a better hand than the dealer. In this case, your payout will be 1:1. If the dealer does not qualify, you can still win even with a lower-ranking hand, and your payout will be even higher.

  • Ante Bet - Up to 5x payout
  • Pair Plus Bet - Up to 100x payout
  • Play Bet - 1:1 payout if dealer qualifies

It is important to remember that the payouts may vary depending on the casino and the specific version of three card poker being played. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the payouts before placing your bets to maximize your earnings.

The House Edge in Three Card Poker

When playing Three Card Poker, it is important to understand the concept of house edge. House edge is the percentage of each bet that the casino takes in the long run.

In Three Card Poker, the house edge varies depending on the type of bet you make. The Ante bet has a house edge of 3.37%, while the Pair Plus bet has a higher house edge of 7.28%. If you play both bets, the total house edge is around 5.3%.

While house edge cannot be avoided in casino games, players can utilize strategy and knowledge of the game to minimize the house edge and give themselves the best chance of winning. Knowing the odds and understanding the different bets in Three Card Poker are important steps in reducing the house edge.

It is also worth noting that different casinos may have different house edges for Three Card Poker due to variations in game rules and payouts. Always check the specific rules and payouts at the casino you are playing at to get the most accurate understanding of the house edge.

Three Card Poker Tips and Tricks

Three Card Poker is a fun and easy game to play, but like any casino game, it can be challenging to win consistently. Here are some helpful tips and tricks to improve your Three Card Poker game:

  • Know the basics: Before sitting down to play Three Card Poker, make sure you understand the rules and basic strategy. The objective of the game is to make the best three-card hand possible, and beat the dealer's hand.
  • Manage your bankroll: It's important to set a budget for yourself and stick to it. Only gamble with money you can afford to lose, and don't chase your losses.
  • Make the Ante bet: When playing Three Card Poker, always make the Ante bet. This gives you a chance to win even if the dealer doesn't qualify, and it pays out at even money.
  • Don't play Pair Plus: Although the Pair Plus bet can offer a tempting payout, it has a high house edge and should be avoided. Stick to the Ante and Play bets.
  • Know when to fold: If you have a weak hand, don't be afraid to fold and forfeit your Ante bet. This is better than playing a losing hand and losing both your Ante and Play bets.
  • Don't bluff: Three Card Poker is not a game where bluffing is effective. Stick to playing strong hands and making sound decisions based on the cards you are dealt.

By following these tips and tricks, you can improve your Three Card Poker game and increase your chances of winning. Remember to always play responsibly and have fun!

Three Card Poker Dos and Don'ts


  • Understand the hand rankings before placing any bets. Three Card Poker has a unique hand ranking system, with a straight beating a flush, due to the smaller number of cards in play.
  • Make use of the "Pair Plus" side bet, which can offer higher payouts for hands with a pair or better. However, keep in mind that this bet has a higher house edge than the main game.
  • Stick to a betting strategy and don't deviate from it, even if you are on a winning streak. This will help you avoid losing money quickly due to impulse decisions.
  • Manage your bankroll effectively and don't bet more than you can afford to lose. It's important to set a budget and stick to it.


  • Make the mistake of thinking three of a kind always beats a straight. In Three Card Poker, a straight is ranked higher than three of a kind.
  • Get too caught up in the excitement and keep increasing your bets without thinking. This can lead to significant losses. Always stick to your betting strategy, and don't make impulsive decisions.
  • Forget to tip the dealer when you cash out your chips. It's considered good etiquette to tip the dealer, and they'll appreciate it.
  • Rely solely on luck and not understanding the game. While luck can play a role in Three Card Poker, understanding the game's rules and strategies is essential for long-term success.

Three Card Poker Etiquette

When playing Three Card Poker, it is important to follow certain etiquette rules to ensure the game runs smoothly and everyone has a good time. Below are some tips on how to conduct yourself at the Three Card Poker table.

  • Know the rules: Make sure you understand the game rules before sitting down to play and always ask the dealer if you have any questions.
  • Be courteous: Treat other players and the dealer with respect and refrain from using foul language or making inappropriate comments.
  • Don't touch your cards: Once the cards have been dealt, do not touch them. The dealer will pick up your cards for you when it is your turn to play.
  • Be mindful of others: Do not hold up the game by taking too long to make a decision or to place your bets.
  • Tip the dealer: Although tipping is not required, it is appreciated. If you are having a good run, consider tipping the dealer to show your appreciation.
  • Don't drink too much: Drinking alcohol is allowed, but try not to drink too much as it may affect your judgment and behavior.

By adhering to these etiquette guidelines, you can make the Three Card Poker experience enjoyable for everyone involved.

Three Card Poker Terms and Glossary


The initial bet made by the player before receiving their hand.

Pair Plus

An optional side bet that pays out if the player's hand contains a pair or better.

Play Bet

The second bet made by the player after seeing their hand, must be equal to the Ante bet.

Dealer Qualifies

In order to win, the player's hand must be higher than the dealer's hand and the dealer's hand must qualify with a Queen or higher.


A hand that contains three cards of the same rank, pays out at a higher rate than a standard Pair Plus bet.


A hand that contains three cards of the same suit.


A hand that contains three cards in sequential order, regardless of suit.

Three of a Kind

A hand that contains three cards of the same rank.

Straight Flush

A hand that contains three cards in sequential order and of the same suit.

Mini Royal Flush

A hand that contains Ace, King, and Queen of the same suit.

Three Card Poker Tournaments

Experience the Thrill of Competitive Three Card Poker

If you're serious about taking your Three Card Poker game to the next level, competing in a tournament can be an incredible experience. Tournaments offer an added level of excitement and competitiveness that can take the game to another level altogether.

There are a variety of Three Card Poker tournaments available, ranging from small local events to major international competitions with huge prize pools. Regardless of the size of the tournament, all participants have the chance to compete against a field of skilled players and showcase their skills, knowledge, and experience.

How Three Card Poker Tournaments Work

In Three Card Poker tournaments, each player begins with a set number of chips and plays against other participants at their table—usually six or seven players. The objective is to win more chips than your opponents by making the best hand possible from three cards.

Tournaments are played over multiple rounds, with players being eliminated as they run out of chips. The ultimate goal is to be the last player standing and take home the top prize. But even if you don't win the tournament, you'll have the opportunity to experience the thrill of competitive Three Card Poker and improve your skills along the way.

Where to Play Three Card Poker Tournaments

Many casinos and online poker sites host Three Card Poker tournaments throughout the year. If you're interested in competing, you can often find information about upcoming events on their website or by contacting their customer support team.

Whether you're a seasoned Three Card Poker player or just getting started, competing in a tournament can be an incredibly rewarding experience. So why not give it a try and see how you stack up against some of the best players in the world?

Playing Three Card Poker Online

Experience the Thrill of Three Card Poker from the Comfort of Your Home

If you're looking for a fun and exciting way to play Three Card Poker, playing online is a great option. With online casinos, you can experience the thrill of the game from the comfort of your own home.

Playing Three Card Poker online is easy and convenient. All you need is a computer or mobile device with internet access, and you're ready to go. You can play at any time of day or night, and you never have to worry about finding a table with an open seat.

  • Choose from a Variety of Online Casinos: There are many online casinos that offer Three Card Poker, so you can choose the one that suits you best. Look for a casino with good reviews, generous bonuses, and a user-friendly interface.
  • Practice for Free: Most online casinos offer free play options, so you can practice your Three Card Poker skills without risking any real money.
  • Play for Real Money: Once you feel confident in your skills, you can switch to playing for real money. This adds an extra level of excitement to the game, and gives you the chance to win big.

Playing Three Card Poker online is a great way to improve your skills, have fun, and maybe even win some money. So why not give it a try today?

Frequently Asked Questions about Three Card Poker

What is Three Card Poker?

Three Card Poker is a casino card game that is played with a standard 52-card deck. It combines two games in one - Pair Plus and Ante-and-Play. In Pair Plus, players are paid according to the value of their hand. In Ante-and-Play, players compete against the dealer for the best hand.

Can Three Card Poker be played online?

Yes, Three Card Poker can be played online at many online casinos. These games use a Random Number Generator (RNG) to ensure that the results are fair and unpredictable. Players can also enjoy the game on their mobile devices through dedicated apps or mobile-optimized websites.

What is the difference between Three Card Poker and regular poker?

The main difference is that Three Card Poker is played with only three cards, whereas regular poker is played with five or seven cards. Additionally, there are no community cards in Three Card Poker. Instead, each player is dealt their own hand and competes with the dealer. The hand rankings are also different, with high card, pair, and flush being the top-ranking hands in Three Card Poker.

Can you win at Three Card Poker?

Yes, it is possible to win at Three Card Poker. However, like all casino games, the odds are in favor of the house. It is important to remember that Three Card Poker is a game of chance and luck plays a significant role in the outcome of each hand.

What is the optimal strategy for playing Three Card Poker?

The optimal strategy for Three Card Poker involves making the correct decisions based on the value of your hand and the dealer's up card. For example, it is always recommended to play a hand of Q-6-4 or better if the dealer's up card is a queen or lower. It is also recommended to play the Pair Plus option if you have a hand of Q-6-4 or better.