The Guide to Winning 3 Card Poker

Looking for a fast-paced and easy to learn poker game? Whether it be for fun or for money, this is your handbook to 3 card poker. 3 card poker is one of the easiest casino table games to learn and win some money. It’s one of the few games that are played against the house as opposed to the other players. Also known as tri-card poker, the objective of this popular game is to get the best poker hand possible, with just three cards.

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Three Card Poker Table

Supplies You Need to Play

Playing online poker is a great way to play. You can always play because there is always a person or even a computer around to play with you. For this, you just need your cell phone or computer, with an internet connection and you’re all set. Playing live requires a dealer, a deck of cards and betting chips.

How The Game is Played

The players begin each hand of 3 card poker with an “ante wager” – an ante is a stake put up by the players before the cards are dealt. Online usually has lower antes, however, they do vary depending on where you play, with poker rooms offering an ante bonus or a card bonus.

As well, the pair plus can only be bet on at this point. The dealer will then give three cards to players and to themselves. Players will have their cards face up, while the dealer’s hand face down. Keep in mind, there is no exchanging of cards or getting more cards. The 3 cards you get are the 3 cards you either win, fold, or lose with.

From here, you can either fold, or play bet. If you decide to fold, you’ve forfeited your ante and the hand is over for you. If you choose not to fold, you must then bet. The play bet is equal to the ante and lets the table know you’re still in the game.

If at least one player has made a bet, then the dealer will reveal their hand. It is important to note here that when playing 3 card poker, in order for the dealer to stay in the game, they must receive a Queen-high card or better and if the dealer does not qualify to stay in the game, each player’s ante will be paid out.

Assuming the dealer does qualify, like all other online poker games or live, the dealer’s and player’s hands will be compared and the best three card poker hand wins! If a player has the winning hand, they will receive both the ante and players bets will be paid out. In turn, it would be the same if the dealer wins.

3 card

Strategy for 3 Card Poker

The first strategy, is knowing when to fold. And remember that folding does not equal losing. If your hand isn’t at least a Queen and a 7, or your highest card is a Jack, you’ll want to fold.

It’s suggested that for 3 card poker, players should fold if their hand is anything worse than a Queen, 6 and 4. Players will also want to bet if they have a King or Ace in their hand, no matter the ranking of their other cards. As well, if you’re holding a Queen and a 7, you should bet no matter what the value of the third card is.

Playing responsibly should be at the top of every player’s mind. Don’t try to redeem a loss, don’t play with more than you can afford and make sure to stick to a strict budget. Also, remember that the best online poker sites reviews are a first-hand source to the player experience.

The last strategy is to be wary of those pair plus bets. The payout is a nice touch to 3 card poker; however, the odds are against you in this case.

Hands That Win

When playing 3 card poker, it is so important to remember that while the same terminology is used when it comes to hands, the poker hand rankings when figuring out which hand has won is different. A royal flush is not possible in this card poker game.


Ranking Hand Description  Example Hand
#1 Straight Flush Consecutive cards of the same suit. 3 Card - Straight Flush Example
#2 Three of a Kind Three cards that hold the same value. 3 Card - Three of a Kind Example
#3 Straight Cards in consecutive order. 3 Card - Straight Example
#4 Flush Cards of the same suit. 3 Card - Flush Example
#5 Pair Two cards that hold the same value. 3 Card - Pair Example
#6 High Card None of the hands above, relying on the highest card in your hand. 3 Card - High Card Example

Terms to Understand

It’s important to understand the terms of 3 card poker, or really any poker game you’re playing so you don’t fall behind. Not understanding what’s being said can be detrimental to how the game turns out for you.

Bankroll: The stack of chips a player is playing with on the table.

House Edge: The mathematical advantage that the casino (or the dealer) has over the player.

Play Bet: The bet that players have to play in order to stay in the game. Also known as a raise, play bets are usually the same size as the ante.

Pair Plus: This is basically a bonus wager that a player will bet and all you need to do is get a pair. If you’re dealt at least a pair, you’ll earn the bonus payout.


You’re in Control

3 card poker is a game that starts out with the luck of the draw and the power then moves into the hands of the player. You are always in control of your next move, whether it’s to bet or to fold, so make sure to follow the above tips for your best chances. Good luck!

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Frequently Asked Questions


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