Your Comprehensive Guide to Learning How to Play 3 Card Poker

Have you ever walked past a casino table and wondered what it’s like to play 3 card poker? The sight of the vibrant table, the shuffling of cards, and the excited chatter of players have piqued your curiosity. Well, wonder no more! This comprehensive guide will impart all the knowledge you need to play this thrilling and exciting casino game. Whether you’re a complete beginner or have some experience with poker, we’ve got you covered.

How to Play 3 Card Poker
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Introduction to 3 Card Poker

3 card poker is a fast-paced card game that combines the excitement of traditional poker with the speed and simplicity of casino table games. This game is played with a standard deck of 52 playing cards and is designed for play against the dealer rather than against other players.

The game uses only three cards to have a higher-ranking hand than the dealer’s. One key difference from traditional poker is that it lacks community cards or additional betting rounds. You place your bets, receive your cards, and compare your hand to the dealer’s to determine the winner.

War Card Game

Now that we’ve covered the basics let’s dive into the details of playing 3 card poker.

Understanding the Hand Rankings

Before you can excel at 3 card poker, you must familiarize yourself with the hand rankings. Unlike traditional poker, where a flush or a straight is considered a strong hand, the orders in 3 card poker are slightly different. Here are the hand rankings, from highest to lowest:

  1. Straight Flush: Three consecutive cards of the same suit. For example, 4-5-6 of hearts.
  2. Three of a Kind: Three cards of the same rank. For example, three Queens.
  3. Straight: Three consecutive cards, not all of the same suit. For example, 5-6-7.
  4. Flush: Any three cards of the same suit. For instance, three spades.
  5. Pair: Two cards of the same rank. For example, two Aces.
  6. High Card: When no player has the above hands, the highest-ranking card determines the winner.

It’s important to note that, in 3 card poker, a straight ranks higher than a flush. This is because it’s more challenging to form a straight with only three cards.

Placing Your Bets

To start playing 3 card poker, you first need to place your bets. You can make two types of bets: the Ante bet and the Pair Plus bet.

The Ante bet is your initial wager against the dealer’s hand. It’s a mandatory bet, and you must place it to participate in the game. After placing your Ante bet, you can place a Pair Plus bet. This is a separate bet where you’re betting on the strength of your hand, regardless of the dealer’s hand.

Once all the bets are placed, the dealer will deal three cards face-down to each player, including themselves.

Playing Your Hand

After you receive your three cards, you have two options: to fold or to play. If you fold, you forfeit your Ante bet and any additional bets you may have placed, such as the Pair Plus bet. Folding means you’re bowing out of the current round.

If you choose to play your hand, you must make a Play bet equal to your Ante bet. You’re challenging the dealer to compare their hand to yours by doing so.

The dealer reveals their three-card hand once all the players have folded or placed their Play bet. If the dealer wants to qualify for further play, their writing must contain at least one queen-high card. If the dealer doesn’t qualify, the Ante bets are paid even money, and the Play bets push.

If the dealer qualifies, the hands are compared. If your hand beats the dealer’s, your Ante and Play bets are paid according to a predetermined payout table. The Pair Plus bet is independent of the dealer’s hand and delivers based solely on the strength of your hand.

Tips and Strategies for Success

While 3 Card Poker is a game of probability, there are still some tactics to increase your chances of winning. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. Play hands with Queen-6-4 or better: To maximize your chances of winning, it’s advisable to play hands with at least a Queen high, six as the middle card, and four as the lowest card. This strategy eliminates hands with weaker rankings.
  2. Avoid making the Pair Plus bet every hand: While it offers attractive payouts for strong hands, it also has a higher house edge. It’s advisable to be selective with your Pair Plus bets to minimize potential losses.
  3. Manage your bankroll: Just like with any casino game, you need to have a clear bottom line and stick to it. This is the most important point: don’t be greedy, don’t be greedy, don’t be cheap.


Congratulations! You’re now armed with the knowledge and strategies to play 3 card poker like a pro. Remember to familiarize yourself with the hand rankings, place your bets wisely, and consider employing the tips and strategies we’ve discussed.

Playing 3 card poker can be thrilling and challenging, like any casino game. It’s essential to approach it with the right mindset and to remember that luck plays a significant role in the outcome. So relax and dive into the thrilling world of 3 Card Poker together.

Numerous online resources provide additional strategies and insights if you’re eager to delve deeper into the game. Additionally, you can visit your local casino and observe experienced players in action. Practice and observation are the best ways to learn and improve your skills.

So, are you ready to give 3 card poker a try? Sit at the table, place your bets, and let the exhilarating journey begin!

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