Three Card Poker is one of the most difficult table games but playing them is fun. “Derek Webb” of U.K invented the variant of this game in 1994. He had kept three things in mind while designing this game that the house edge should be high enough for casino owners to except this game, rules must be easy to comprehend and huge payouts to attract players.

It is a game played with a deck of 52 cards. There are two games bundled in one. The first one is the Play/Ante where the player competes against the dealer in a race to have the highest hand. Another one is Pair Plus game where player would be gambling to be dealt for a pair or better.  Most of the casinos give the freedom to bet on anyone but some require making Ante Bet to bet on Pair Plus game too.

Three Card Poker

The Game

A player has 3 betting circle in front of his seat. Betting chip is placed on top circle which is Pair Plus wager. Just below there are 2 circles for Ante and Play. The game commences when the player put wager on the Pair Plus circle which would be at least equal to the minimum betting amount.

Three card hand will be given to each player which is dealt by the Dealer only. The player sitting at left commences the game and the game proceeds then onwards in clockwise direction.

Players have the choice to either Play or Fold after looking at their hand if they have bet on Ante. They have to quit the game if they fold. Otherwise, a bet equivalent to the wager of Ante has to make by player in the Play circle.

After the decision made by players where they would like to Play or Fold, the dealer will look at his hand. If his hand has a minimum of Queen or higher than only he will continue. If dealer fails to qualify even money would be paid for their Ante and also the additional bet made by them.

Comparison in hands of dealer and player would be made if the dealer’s qualify for the play. Even money would be paid to the player if he successfully beats the dealer’s hand otherwise both the bets would be lost by the player if dealer beats his hand. Player would be a winner if a rare situation of tie occurs.

Hand Rankings

Three Card Poker Hand Ranks
Rank Probablity Overview
7.Total Hands The total number of combinations available are approximatley 22,100
6. High Card 74.39% If there is no combination mentioned below
5. Pair 16.95% Two cards having the same face value of diffrent suits
4.Flush 4.96% Three cards all having the diffrent face value of same suit
3. Straight 3.26% The three cards having consecutive face value of diffrent suits
2. three of a Kind 0.24% All three cards having the same face value of diffrent suits
1. Straight Flush 0.22% Cards having the same suit with consecutive face value

Bonus in Ante

For specific hands an additional bonus is offered to player without an additional bet. Players would earn bonus if they get Straight Flush, Three of a Kind or Straight irrespective of whether they beat the dealer or not. Offering the bonus affects the house edge with higher the payout lower the house edge gets.

Bet Ante Bonus
Straight 1 to 1
Three of a Kind 4 to 1
Straight Flush 5 to 1


Three card poker has the simplest strategy. Continue to play if you have hand higher than Queen/6/4 and fold if you have hands less than that.

How to apply Strategy

Compare your highest rank with the Queen. Having hand higher than that, player should continue its play regardless of the other two cards.

The second card having rank higher than 6 with the first card being Queen, player should still continue to play irrespective of third card rank. Applying strategy cannot assure player that it would result in a win as house always have the upper hand. Strategies other than Queen or better is bet equal amount on both Ante and Pair Plus.

Pair Plus

It completely depends whether you have a Pair or higher on the total three card hand regardless if dealer beats you or even qualifies. Player would get bonus on the Ante bet. There are 25% chances that a player would be dealt with the pair or better. The payout varies from one casino to another but most have the same payout table as listed.

Pair Plus Payouts
Bet Payouts
1. Pair 1
2. Flush 3
3. Straight 6
4. Three of a Kind 30
5. Straight Flush 40

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