Beginner’s Guide to Playing, Betting, and Enjoying 3 Card Poker


Three Card Poker is a simple, fun and popular casino game. It combines the excitement of poker with the speed of regular casino games. Here is a detailed guide on how to play the game:

Understanding the Game

Three Card Poker is actually two games in one. There is the Play/Ante game where you are playing against the dealer to see who has the highest hand, and there is also the Pair Plus game where you are wagering on whether or not you will be dealt a pair or better.

The Card Ranking

In Three Card Poker, the hands are ranked as follows (from highest to lowest):

  1. Straight Flush: Three consecutive cards of the same suit.
  2. Three of a Kind: Three cards of the same value.
  3. Straight: Three consecutive cards of any suit.
  4. Flush: Three cards of the same suit (not consecutive).
  5. Pair: Two cards of the same value.
  6. High Card: The highest card in your hand.

Note: In a Straight, the Ace can be high (Queen-King-Ace) or low (Ace-2-3).

How to Play

1. Ante Bet: To start the game, each player makes an ante bet. This is a bet that your hand will be better than the dealer’s hand.

2. Pair Plus Bet: At the same time, you may also choose to make a Pair Plus bet, which is a bet that your hand will include a pair or better.

3. Dealing the Cards: Once all bets have been made, the dealer will deal three cards to each player and themselves. The dealer’s cards are dealt face down.

4. Player Decision: After reviewing your hand, you must make a decision:

  • If you think your hand is not good enough, you can fold, losing your ante bet.
  • If you think your hand is good, you can place an additional bet equal to your ante bet. This is called a “play” bet.

5. Dealer’s Hand: The dealer will then reveal their hand. To qualify, the dealer’s hand must be a Queen or better. If the dealer does not qualify, you win even money on your ante bet and the play bet is a push (returned to you).

6. Comparing Hands: If the dealer qualifies, your hand and the dealer’s hand are compared.

  • If your hand is better, you win even money on both your ante and your play bet.
  • If the dealer’s hand is better, you lose both bets.
  • If it’s a tie, both your bets push.

7. Pair Plus Payout: If you placed a Pair Plus bet and you got a pair or better, you win regardless of the dealer’s hand. Payouts for the Pair Plus bet are based on the quality of your hand, with better hands paying out at higher odds.

Remember to check the specific rules and payouts at your casino as these can vary.

Basic Strategy

A simple strategy in Three Card Poker is to play any hand that’s Queen-6-4 or better, meaning if your highest card is a Queen and your second highest card is a 6 or more and your third card is a 4 or higher. If you follow this strategy, the house edge is minimized.

However, as with any casino game, luck plays a big part, and it’s important to play responsibly and not bet more than you are willing to lose.

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Isaac covers the gambling industry and works hard to cover everything from the Vegas scene to various gaming options available through the internet.


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