Learn How to Play Three Card Poker: Rules and Strategies

Are you looking for a thrilling and exciting casino game to play? Look no further than three card poker, a fast-paced game that combines luck and skill for maximum entertainment value. In this article, we will guide you through the rules of three card poker, as well as share some strategies and tips to help you increase your chances of winning.

First introduced in the 1990s, three card poker has quickly become a popular choice among players due to its simplicity and fast-paced nature. It is a unique variation of the traditional poker game, where players compete against the dealer rather than each other. The game is played with a standard 52-card deck and offers two ways to bet: the Ante and Pair Plus.

In this article, we will cover the basic rules of three card poker, as well as provide you with some expert strategies to help you better understand the game. We will also share some tips to increase your odds of winning and provide you with an overview of the popular variations of three card poker. So, let's dive in and learn how to master the art of three card poker!

Mastering Three Card Poker: Tips, Strategies, and Rules to Know

Understanding the Basics of Three Card Poker

Three Card Poker is a fast-paced and exciting casino game that is easy to learn. The game is played using a standard deck of 52 cards and is a variation of traditional poker. Each player is dealt three cards, and the objective of the game is to make a better hand than the dealer. The ranking of hands is similar to traditional poker, with the highest ranked hand being a straight flush, followed by three of a kind, a straight, a flush, and a pair LeoVegas.

Tips for Success in Three Card Poker

With the right strategy and approach, players can improve their chances of winning in Three Card Poker. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Know when to fold: Unlike traditional poker, players do not have the option to check or raise. This means that they must either play their hand or fold. Knowing when to fold is crucial to minimizing losses.
  • Manage your bankroll: Three Card Poker can be a fast-paced game, and it's easy to get caught up in the excitement. It's important to set a budget and stick to it to avoid overspending.
  • Pay attention to the dealer's up card: The dealer's up card can give players valuable information about the strength of their hand. Paying attention to this information can help players make informed decisions about whether to fold or play their hand.

Strategies for Three Card Poker

While Three Card Poker is a game of chance, there are a few strategies that can help players improve their odds of winning:

  1. Play with a Queen or better: It's generally best to play hands that have a Queen or higher. Anything lower than a Queen has a high likelihood of losing.
  2. Play the pair plus bet: The pair plus bet is a separate bet that players can make in addition to their ante bet. This bet pays out if the player's hand contains a pair or better, regardless of whether they beat the dealer.
  3. Don't make the six card bonus bet: The six card bonus bet is another optional bet that pays out based on the player's and dealer's hands combined. This bet has a high house edge and is generally not worth making.
Straight FlushThree cards of the same suit in sequence
Three of a KindThree cards of the same rank
StraightThree cards in sequence, but not of the same suit
FlushThree cards of the same suit, but not in sequence
PairTwo cards of the same rank
High CardWhen no other hand is made, the highest card in the hand

The Evolution of Three Card Poker

Three Card Poker, often referred to as Tri-Card Poker, is a popular casino game that combines elements of poker and blackjack. Although it has only been around for a few decades, it has a rich and fascinating history. Let's take a look back at how the game evolved and became the popular casino staple it is today.

The Origins of Three Card Poker

Three Card Poker was invented by Derek Webb in 1994. Webb was a professional poker player who was looking for a new game that could generate more revenue for casinos while offering players a higher chance of winning. He pitched the idea to several casinos, but it wasn't until he partnered with Prime Table Games that the game really took off.

The Rise of Three Card Poker

Three Card Poker was first introduced to the United States in 1999 and quickly gained popularity. It was the first new casino game to be introduced in over a decade and offered players a novel and exciting gaming experience. The game's simplicity and low house edge made it a hit with both casual and serious gamblers.

Over the years, Three Card Poker has continued to gain popularity. It can now be found in virtually every casino in the United States, as well as many locations throughout Europe and Asia. It has even spawned several variations, including Miniature Three Card Poker and Three Card Poker with a Progressive Jackpot.

The Future of Three Card Poker

As one of the most popular casino games around, Three Card Poker shows no signs of slowing down. Its widespread appeal and adaptability make it an attractive option for casinos and players alike. With the increasing popularity of online gambling, we can expect to see even more variations of Three Card Poker emerge in the future. Only time will tell what the next evolution of this exciting game will be.

Rules of Three Card Poker

Three Card Poker is a popular casino game that is played with a standard deck of 52 cards. The game is played between the dealer and the player, with the objective of having a better three-card hand than the dealer.

The game begins with the player placing an ante bet. After the bet has been placed, the dealer will deal three cards face down to the player and three cards to themselves. The player can then choose to either fold or place a play bet that is equivalent to their ante bet.

Once the player has made their decision, the dealer will reveal their cards. To qualify, the dealer must have at least a Queen high hand. 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, the player's hand is compared to the dealer's hand. If the player has a better hand, they win even money on both their ante and play bets. If the dealer has a better hand, the player loses both their ante and play bets.

In Three Card Poker, there are also bonus payouts for certain hands. For example, a straight flush pays 5 to 1, while a three of a kind pays 4 to 1. These bonus payouts are made regardless of whether the player wins or loses the hand.

Understanding Ante and Play Bets in Three Card Poker

Ante and play bets are the basic wagers in three card poker, and they are placed at the beginning of each round. In an ante bet, the player places a wager before receiving his or her cards. This bet is mandatory and must be within the posted table limits.

The value of the ante bet can vary, but it is often equal to the minimum table bet. If the player chooses to continue playing their hand, they must make a second bet, called a play bet, which is worth the same value as the ante bet. However, players have the option of folding their hand and forfeiting the ante bet if they do not think their hand will win.

The ante and play bets are not against other players, but against the dealer's hand. Thus, if the dealer has a hand that does not qualify or beats the player's hand, the player's ante and play bets are returned to them. However, if the player's hand beats the dealer's hand, the player wins even money on both the ante and the play bets.

Understanding ante and play bets in three card poker is crucial to developing a winning strategy. Players should only continue with their hand if they have a strong starting hand, such as a Queen or higher in their three cards. Knowing when to fold will also help you protect your bankroll and increase your chances of winning in the long run.

Pair Plus Bet Explained

If you're looking to add some excitement to your game of Three Card Poker, the Pair Plus bet is a great option. This side bet allows you to win regardless of whether your hand beats the dealer or not, as long as you have a good hand.

To make a Pair Plus bet, all you need to do is place your chips in the designated area on the table next to your main bet. The dealer will then deal three cards to each player and themselves. If you have a pair or higher, you'll win the bet according to the payout table.

The payout table for the Pair Plus bet varies depending on the casino, but generally a pair pays 1:1, a flush pays 4:1, a straight pays 6:1, three of a kind pays 30:1, and a straight flush pays 40:1. Some casinos also offer a mini royal flush payout, which pays 50:1 for an ace-king-queen suited combination.

It's important to note that the Pair Plus bet is a separate bet from the main game, so you can still win your main bet even if you lose the Pair Plus bet. However, if you choose not to make a Pair Plus bet, you'll miss out on the chance to win some extra cash from a great hand.

Three Card Poker Hand Rankings

Three Card Poker is a simple game to play but understanding the hand rankings is crucial to winning. The game uses the standard poker hand rankings, but with some variations. Here are the rankings from highest to lowest:

  • Straight Flush: Three cards of the same suit in sequence. For example, Ace, King and Queen of hearts.
  • Three of a Kind: Three cards of the same rank. For example, three Jacks.
  • Straight: Three cards in sequence, regardless of the suit. For example, Six, Seven and Eight.
  • Flush: Three cards of the same suit, not in sequence. For example, three hearts.
  • Pair: Two cards of the same rank. For example, two Fours.
  • High Card: None of the above. The highest card in your hand. For example, Ace.

Note that in Three Card Poker, a Straight beats a Flush, unlike in traditional poker. Also, a Three of a Kind beats a Straight, and a Straight Flush beats all other hands.

Knowing these hand rankings is essential to understanding the value of your hand and deciding whether to bet or fold. Keep in mind that the dealer must have a Queen-High or better hand to qualify. If the dealer doesn't qualify, your Ante bet pushes and your Play bet is returned to you. Good luck and have fun playing Three Card Poker!

How to Play Three Card Poker Online

Three Card Poker is one of the fastest-growing online casino games and is a popular choice for players who want to try their luck at a fast-paced, easy-to-learn game. The game is played with a standard 52-card deck and is a mixture of poker and blackjack. The aim of the game is to beat the dealer by having the best three-card hand possible.

To start playing, you need to place your bet on the designated area on the table. You will then be dealt three cards face down, and the dealer will also receive three cards but face down. After looking at your cards, you can either fold and forfeit your bet or place an additional bet to continue playing.

The dealer will then reveal their hand and determine the winner. If the dealer's hand does not contain at least a queen, the player automatically wins their ante bet and their play bet is returned as a push. If the dealer's hand does contain a queen or higher, then the dealer and the player will compare hands. The highest ranked hand wins.

One of the key strategies for playing Three Card Poker is to understand the ranking of hands and when to fold and when to play. Generally, if your hand contains a queen or higher, you should continue playing. It is also important to pay attention to the dealer's hand and make strategic decisions based on their up-facing card.

In conclusion, Three Card Poker is a fun and exciting game that can be played online at many reputable online casinos. With the right strategy and a little bit of luck, you can win big and enjoy an exhilarating gaming experience. Don't be afraid to give it a try!

Differences between Three Card Poker and Other Poker Games

Three Card Poker is a fun and exciting variation of traditional poker games. Unlike other poker games that require a lot of patience and strategic thinking, Three Card Poker is fast-paced and easy to learn.

One major difference between Three Card Poker and other poker games is that it only uses three cards per player as opposed to the traditional five-card hand. This makes the game simpler and easier to understand for those who are new to poker.

Another difference is that Three Card Poker does not involve any community cards. In other poker games like Texas Hold’em, players use community cards that are shared among all players to create the best possible hand. In Three Card Poker, players are solely dependent on their three cards to make the best hand.

Lastly, Three Card Poker also offers players the opportunity to make side bets, which is not commonly found in other poker games. This allows for additional excitement and potential payouts, but it also means that players need to be careful not to overspend.

Three Card Poker Strategy Tips for Beginners

If you're just getting started with three card poker, it can be helpful to have some general strategy tips to keep in mind. Here are a few pointers to help you improve your chances of winning:

  • Understand the game's basic strategy: Before you start playing three card poker, take some time to study the game's basic strategy. This will help you make more informed decisions during the game.
  • Always make the "Play" bet: In three card poker, you have two betting options: "Play" or "Fold". Always make the "Play" bet unless you have a very weak hand.
  • Know which hands to play: As in other forms of poker, not all hands are created equal. In three card poker, you'll want to play hands that include at least a pair, but preferably a straight or flush. Avoid playing hands with only high cards.
  • Pay attention to the dealer's hand: In three card poker, you're playing against the dealer, not other players. Pay close attention to what cards the dealer has as you make your decisions.
  • Manage your bankroll effectively: Like any form of gambling, three card poker involves some degree of risk. Be sure to set a budget for yourself and stick to it, so you don't end up losing more than you can afford.

Advanced Three Card Poker Strategy

If you're already familiar with the basic rules and strategies of Three Card Poker, it's time to take your gameplay to the next level with some advanced strategies.

Betting Strategies

One advanced betting strategy is to raise whenever you have a Queen, Six, Four or better. This will help you to maximize your wins, but you should only do it when the dealer's card is lower than your highest card. Another option is to only raise with a pair or higher, as this will increase your chances of winning in the long run and reduce your losses.

Playing Pairs

Pairs are a strong hand in Three Card Poker. However, it's important to know when to play them. If you have a pair of Aces or Kings, it's almost always a good idea to raise. If you have a pair of Queens or Jacks, it's best to raise unless the dealer's card matches one of your pairs. If you have a pair of Sixes or lower, it's generally better to fold.

Knowing When to Fold

Folding is often underrated, but it's just as important of a strategy as raising. Knowing when to fold can save you a lot of money in the long run. If you have a hand of Queen, Six, Four or lower and the dealer's card is higher than your highest card, it's best to fold. This will save you from losing more money on a weak hand.

Managing your Bankroll

One of the most important strategies in Three Card Poker is managing your bankroll. It's essential to set a budget before playing and stick to it. Don't keep betting more than you can afford to lose and know when it's time to walk away from the table. A good rule of thumb is to stop playing when you've lost a certain amount or won a certain amount.

Remember that while Three Card Poker is a simple game to learn, there's always something new to learn about the game. The advance strategies outlined here can help you to become a better player and increase your chances of winning at the table.

Best Places to Play Three Card Poker

If you're looking to play Three Card Poker, there are many great options available. Whether you prefer to play in a casino or online, there are plenty of places to choose from. Here are some of the best places to play Three Card Poker:

  • Casino - Many casinos offer Three Card Poker, and it's a popular game with players. Some of the best casinos to play Three Card Poker include The Venetian in Las Vegas, Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, and the El Cortez in Downtown Las Vegas.
  • Online Casinos - If you prefer to play from the comfort of your own home, there are many great online casinos that offer Three Card Poker. Some of the best include Betway Casino, 888 Casino, and Betfair Casino.
  • Mobile Apps - For players who prefer to play on their mobile devices, there are many great Three Card Poker apps available. Some of the best options include Three Card Poker by MobilityWare, Three Card Poker by Tapinator, and Three Card Poker by Pokerist.
  • Social Gaming - If you're looking for a fun and social way to play Three Card Poker, there are many great options available. Some of the best social gaming apps for Three Card Poker include Zynga Poker, Poker Heat, and Governor of Poker 3.

Three Card Poker Tournaments

If you are looking for a more competitive and exciting way to play Three Card Poker, then you might want to participate in Three Card Poker tournaments. These tournaments are organized by casinos or online gaming platforms and usually have a buy-in fee or require the players to have a certain amount of chips.

In Three Card Poker tournaments, players compete against each other to accumulate the most chips or to reach a certain number of wins. The tournament format can vary, but usually, players play a predetermined number of hands, and the one with the most chips or wins at the end of the rounds wins the tournament.

Some Three Card Poker tournaments also offer side bets or jackpots, which add an element of excitement and increase the potential payout for the players. However, it is essential to check the rules and regulations of the tournament before participating, as they can vary depending on the organizer and the venue.

If you want to participate in Three Card Poker tournaments, it is recommended to practice and hone your skills beforehand. Knowing the basic rules and strategies of Three Card Poker can give you an advantage over other players and increase your chances of winning. Additionally, it is essential to manage your bankroll responsibly and avoid taking unnecessary risks that can lead to significant losses.

Comparing the Odds of Three Card Poker and Blackjack

When it comes to choosing a casino game, players often consider the odds of winning. Two popular options that players have are Three Card Poker and Blackjack. Both games require players to make decisions based on the cards that they are dealt. However, the odds and gameplay differ significantly between the two games.

Three Card Poker: In Three Card Poker, the player’s objective is to have a higher hand than the dealer. The game allows players to make two types of bets; an Ante wager and a Pair Plus wager. The house edge for Three Card Poker is around 3.37%, which can vary depending on the specific casino.

Blackjack: The main objective in Blackjack is to beat the dealer’s hand without exceeding 21. The game allows players to make various bets, including Split, Double Down, and Insurance wagers. The house edge for Blackjack can vary depending on the specific casino and the player’s strategy. However, the average house edge is around 0.5%.

While the house edge may make Blackjack seem like the better option, it’s essential to note that these games offer different experiences. Three Card Poker is a fast-paced game that rewards players who aren’t afraid to take risks. Alternatively, Blackjack requires more strategy and patience, making it a better option for players who prefer a slower-paced game.

  • In conclusion, while both Three Card Poker and Blackjack are popular casino games, they are vastly different.
  • Players should consider their personal preferences when choosing which game to play.
  • It’s essential to note that regardless of which game a player chooses, the odds are always in favor of the house.

Understanding the odds of different casino games such as Three Card Poker and Blackjack is an essential part of being a responsible gambler. It’s always important to gamble within one’s means and to remember that betting is not a guaranteed way to make money.

Common Three Card Poker Mistakes to Avoid

1. Playing every hand without strategy

One of the most common mistakes players make in Three Card Poker is playing every hand without a strategy. This can lead to making unnecessary bets and losing money. It's important to have a basic strategy that involves folding certain hands and betting on others.

2. Ignoring the pay table

Another mistake is ignoring the pay table. The pay table outlines the payouts for each winning hand, and it's important to know what the payouts are before placing your bets. Ignoring the pay table can lead to confusion and missing out on potential payouts.

3. Not managing your bankroll

Not managing your bankroll can also lead to mistakes in Three Card Poker. It's important to set a budget and stick to it, as well as knowing when to quit while you're ahead. Losing control of your bankroll can lead to overspending and losing more than you're willing to lose.

4. Chasing losses

Another mistake to avoid is chasing losses. This means continuing to play in an attempt to win back losses from previous hands. Chasing losses can lead to a vicious cycle of losing more and more. It's important to accept losses and move on.

5. Playing the Pair Plus bet exclusively

Some players make the mistake of exclusively playing the Pair Plus bet. While this can result in big payouts, it's important to also bet on the Ante and Play bets in order to have a chance at winning the game as a whole.

  • Conclusion: By avoiding common mistakes, such as playing every hand without strategy and not managing your bankroll, you can become a more successful player of Three Card Poker. Remember to pay attention to the pay table, not chase losses, and consider all available bets before deciding on your strategy.

Three Card Poker Variations

Pairs Plus

One of the most popular variations of Three Card Poker is Pairs Plus. In this variation, players place an additional bet to play for a payout based on the strength of their hand, regardless of whether they beat the dealer. If they have a pair or better, they win a payout, with the highest payout being a three of a kind.

Progressive Three Card Poker

Progressive Three Card Poker is another popular variation of the game. In this version, players have the opportunity to win a progressive jackpot if they make a specific hand, such as a straight flush or three of a kind. The jackpot increases as more players place bets, giving players the chance to win a huge payout.

Live Dealer Three Card Poker

Live Dealer Three Card Poker allows players to enjoy the experience of playing at a physical casino from the comfort of their own home. In this variation, the game is played with a live dealer, adding an extra element of realism to the game. Players can interact with the dealer and other players through a live chat feature, enhancing the social aspect of the game.

Ultimate Three Card Poker

Ultimate Three Card Poker is a variation that combines elements from Three Card Poker and Ultimate Texas Hold’em. In this version, players have the option to make a bonus bet that pays out up to 50:1 for specific hands, such as a straight flush. The game also allows players to make a “play” bet after they see their cards, giving them more control over the outcome of the game.

Three Card Poker Glossary


Before the cards are dealt, players must place a mandatory bet, known as the Ante. This bet must be placed before any other bets are made and is used to increase the pot size.

Pair Plus

Pair Plus is an optional side bet that can be made before the cards are dealt. Players must wager that they will receive a pair or higher, regardless of whether they beat the dealer or not. This bet has its own payout schedule and can be made regardless of whether the player wins or loses the main game.

Play Bet

If a player wishes to continue playing after the cards have been dealt, they must place a Play Bet, which is equal to their Ante bet. This bet is used to challenge the dealer’s hand and can only be made if the player believes they have a good chance of beating the dealer.

Hand Rankings

Three Card Poker has specific hand rankings that determine the winner. The highest hand is a straight flush, followed by three of a kind, straight, flush, pair, and high card. Understanding these rankings is essential to playing the game and making informed bets.

Dealer Qualification

In Three Card Poker, the dealer must qualify by having a hand that is Queen-high or better. If the dealer does not qualify, the player wins even money on their Ante bet and the Play Bet is returned. If the dealer does qualify and beats the player’s hand, both the Ante and Play bets are lost.

House Edge

The house edge in Three Card Poker varies depending on the casino and the specific game being played. Generally, the house edge ranges from 3-7% for the Ante bet and 2-4% for the Pair Plus bet. Players should be aware of the house edge when playing and adjust their bets accordingly.


The amount of money a player has available to bet is known as their bankroll. It is important for players to manage their bankroll effectively in order to avoid losing all of their money in a single game. Strategies such as setting a budget and sticking to it can help players make their bankroll last longer and increase their chances of winning.