The Ultimate Guide To 3 Card Poker: Rules, Payouts, And Winning Strategies

by Ed Miller
28 Feb 2023

Ed had dived into the cryptocurrency market before everyone got on the bandwagon. Therefore, his blockchain & crypto expertise can boast of both retrospective and prospective analyses, as well as their level-headed and well-targeted peer reviews. Ed has long realized that the online crypto gambling market would soon evolve into another investment sector for those willing to not only have some fun playing but to scale up crypto assets, too. He did online gambling market research, tested tens of crypto casinos, got a fix on trends and target users’ feedback, and is ready with his insights and recommendations on how to combine crypto business with gambling pleasure.

King, Jack, And Queen Of Spades playing cards
3 Card Poker Guide

If you want to master 3 Card Poker, you’ve come to the right place. This article comprehensively overviews the 3 card poker rules, wagers, and payouts. We’ll also touch on the proven Three Card Poker strategy and answer the common questions about this type of Poker.

Poker, 3 Cards: Overview

Cards on a table
Playing cards on a brown table 

3 Card Poker is a relatively young game invented in the mid-90s. This game is a great fit for casinos since you compete against a gambling establishment. 

3 Card Poker games use a deck of 52 cards. Accordingly, players are dealing with 22,000 possible combinations on three cards. The number of players at a 3 Card Poker table can vary from 1 to 6 people.

The game’s rules are relatively simple, and your winnings depend mainly on luck, so you won’t have to perform complex mathematical calculations.

The Essential Poker Terms

A person holding a casino chip / Making a bet
Playing this game requires knowing the glossary 

Before we dive into the Three Card Poker rules, let’s start with the poker glossary. 

Wagers you can make  

Here are the types of bets you can make!

Term Explanation 
AnteA wager placed to play against the dealer; the initial bet required for the game to start.
PlayA bet equal to the Ante wager placed when you like your hand and are willing to continue the game.
Pair PlusA wager placed to play against your hand, betting that you will get a pair or some better combination.
Both Ante and Pair PlusPlaying both against the dealer and your hand; an opportunity to capitalize on two different Three Card Poker payouts.
Six Card Bonus wagerAn optional bet to make before the cards are dealt (provided you’ve placed Ante and Pair Plus wagers already); whenever your 3 cards and the dealer’s 3 cards contain a Three-of-a-Kind or a greater combination, you win.

Poker, 3 Cards: Hand Rankings

Next, you need to get familiar with 3 Card Poker hand rankings. Already know the traditional 5 Card Poker hand rankings? Then you will quickly notice the key distinction of Poker 3 Cards: Straight ranks higher than Flush in 3 Card Poker hands.

Below are Three Card Poker hands ranked from highest to lowest.

3 Card Poker HandDescriptionExample
Straight FlushThree cards of the same suit in a rowJ♣ 10♣ 9♣
Three-of-a-KindThree cards of the same rank7♦ 7♥ 7♠
StraightA sequence of three cards, at least one of which is different in suit from the others5♣ 4♥ 3♠
FlushThree cards of the same suit that are not in sequenceA♥ T♥ 5♥
PairTwo cards of three of the same rank2♠ 2♣ Q♦
High CardThree cards of different ranks and not of the same suitA♦ 10♥ 8♠

Understanding 3 Card Poker Rules

A person looking at playing cards
Playing Poker

Now that you know the basic terminology, it’s time to practice 3 Card Poker. To help you understand 3 Card Poker rules, we’ll break down the gameplay step by step:

  • Players make an Ante bet, an optional Pair Plus bet, and take 3 cards face down from the dealer.
  • Players evaluate their hand and fold or place Play wagers equal to their Ante bets.
  • Once each player decides about their hands, the dealer collects the forfeited bets and reveals their hand.
  • If your hand is higher (better) than the dealer’s, you win; if the dealer’s hand is higher, then your Ante and Play bets are losing.
  • If you hold a hand of Straight, Three-of-a-Kind, or Straight Flush and have both Ante and Play wagers placed, you qualify for the Ante Bonus.
  • If you’ve placed a Pair Plus wager, you can win a bonus based on the payout table, regardless of the dealer’s hand.

Payouts For 3 Card Poker

Poker chips
Black, green, blue, purple, and yellow poker chips 

Now, it’s time for the sweetest part — 3 Card Poker Payouts. We’ll look through the generally accepted payout schemes. However, payouts for 3 Card Poker may vary across casinos, and some gambling platforms may offer more generous bonuses.

Ante 3 Card Poker Payout 

To be eligible for the Ante Bonus payout, ensure you’ve placed both an Ante and a Play bet. Make sure to make a Play bet to avoid losing the Ante wager and the Plus wager (if any). Ante bonus payouts are as follows:

Straight flush — 4:1
Three-of-a-Kind — 3:1
Straight — 1:1

Pair Plus 3 Card Poker Payout 

As mentioned, a Pair Plus wager is about betting on your hand’s value. When making a Pair Plus bet, you can count on the following bonus payouts:

Straight flush — 40:1
Three-of-a-Kind — 30:1
Straight — 6:1
Flush — 4:1
Pair — 1:1

3 Card Poker 6 Card Bonus Payout

Playing 3 Card Poker with 6-card bonus wagers can be especially rewarding. Depending on the hand made from cards dealt to you and the dealer, you can expect the following 3 Card Poker 6 Card Bonus payouts:

Straight Flush — 200:1
Flush — 15:1
Straight — 10:1
Three-of-a-Kind — 5:1
Pair — 1:1

3 Card Poker Strategies

Shuffling cards
A person shuffling playing cards

Now, what’s the best strategy for 3 Card Poker games? Its simplicity will surprise you. 

The key is to continue the game with a hand not lower than Queen-Six-Four. Now, what if you hold a hand like Queen-Six-Three or weaker? Following the Three Card Poker betting strategies, folding such hands is safe.


Can You Play Three Card Poker Online?

You can play 3 Card Poker online and in land-based casinos. There are numerous crypto gambling sites out there that offer online Three Card Poker table games.

What’s The Three-Card Poker House Edge?

3 Card Poker house edge can differ across casinos. On average, a house edge on Ante bets is around 3.37%. With other wagers like Pair Plus, a house edge can be steeper — up to 7.28%.
In addition, a casino charges poker players a rake — a commission that aims to cover operating expenses.

Can You Increase Odds Of Winning 3 Card Poker Games?

Following the best 3 Card Poker strategy — playing with hands greater than Queen-Six-Four — can increase your chances of winning.

Bottom Line

Playing 3 Card Poker online or at a land-based casino can be a thrilling experience. Before heading down to a gambling establishment, studying the Three Card Poker rules, winning hands, and 3 Card Poker payouts is essential. We hope our guide will help turn the odds in 3 Card Poker in your favor. Have fun playing!

Honor Code

What ORDB focuses on during trying, testing, and trialing a casino for review.

Read more

We use cookies on our site to ensure that we give you the best browsing experience. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Cookie Policy and Privacy Policy.

Got IT