When you think of casino poker games, you can find numerous variants and 3 Card Poker is one that features on that list. The card game has been around for decades but made its way into the American casinos only in 1997.

Ever since it has been one of the go-to entertainment sources for many individuals. 3-card Poker is a unique variation that pits its players against the dealer.

Players are dealt three cards, and in order to win they must ensure that they have the best hand. Many casinos around the world host three card poker. Today, you can find the game on online portals as well as on mobile devices, which ensures that people can play even when on-the-go.

As one of the players, it is important for you to know the game’s objective and that you are competing against the dealer. Read through to gain more information about 3 Card Poker.

What is 3 Card Poker?

3 Card Poker is a casino game that is played using a standard deck of cards. It is a renowned poker game with rules that are easy to understand.

With only three cards to work with, you might wonder how much of a part does luck play in this game. Well, luck does not hold much prominence in 3-card Poker, as it is your strategising and skills that will eventually determine the outcome.

The game also involves betting at different stages of the game. In this regard, some of the terminologies that you will often hear include Ante, Play, and Pair Plus. Read more about this below.

History of 3 Card Poker

Before you get into the rules of 3 Card Poker, here is a bit of the game’s history to help you get an insight into its roots. Modern day casino gaming aficionados would be familiar with the name Derek Webb, who is responsible for converting Bragg into what is known today as three card poker.

Bragg was the British adaptation of Primero, which is said to be the first game recorded in Italian literature. As opposed to Primero, Bragg used a deck of 52 cards; Primero made use of 40 cards. The hand rankings of both cards were similar, too.

In 1994, Derek Webb, an Englishman, conceptualised the idea of bringing Bragg to the casinos. However, due to gambling restrictions that existed in the UK, it was difficult for him to bring his idea to fruition.

As a result, he took the game to America and it was named Brag Casino, which he patented in 1997. Since the title did not blend with the local culture, the name was changed to Three Card Poker, thanks to Poker already being a predominant and popular card game in the country.

Basic Rules of Three Card Poker

Three Card Poker gained popularity not only because of the fun element, but also because of how easy it is to understand. Its basic rules are as follows –

  • All players at the table play against the dealer with 3 cards dealt between each of them
  • There are 3 betting options – Ante, Play, and Pair Plus. The poker table has dedicated areas to place these bets. Ante is the first bet, which is placed before the dealing of the cards
  • Then, players can see the cards and place a bet equivalent to the initial bet; it is called Play.
  • Pair Plus is an optional bet, which is placed at the time of betting the Ante i.e., before the dealing of the cards

If the players have better cards than the dealer, they get their winnings paid. Winnings are based on a payout structure; more about that later. If the dealer has better cards, the players lose their betting amount and the dealer takes away their cards.

Strategies of Three Card Poker

Knowing when to make the Play wager or fold is important towards winning in 3 Card Poker. Make the Play wager if you have one of these cards or combinations –

  • Any time you have at least one high card between King or Ace, regardless of the value of the two remaining cards
  • If you have the Q-6-4 combination
  • If you have Q-7 combination, regardless of what the third card is
  • These should be the minimum requirements in your hand in order to make the Play wager.
  • Fold if you do not have either of these cards or combinations, as you could incur a heavy loss if you choose to carry on.
  • Even if your high card is a Jack, fold; the value of your two remaining cards won’t make much of a difference.

Now, the above strategies are in relation to the cards that you have. Below are the strategies that you can pivot to once you know one of the dealer’s cards –

  • If the dealer’s card is Jack or lower, make the Play wager
  • If the dealer has the King card, make the Play wager with K-9 or better, as you need a high second card
  • If the dealer has Queen, make the Play wager only if you have Q-9 or better, as you need a high second card
  • If the dealer has an Ace, make the Play wager with only A-9-2

How to Play 3 Card Poker?

Before learning to play 3 Card Poker, it is important to know the game’s objective, which is to make the best 3-card hand. Every player at the table competes with the dealer directly.

The game starts before the distribution of cards which is where the players place either an Ante bet or a Pair Plus bet or both. You place the Ante bet when you think that your cards will beat the dealer’s cards. If you place a Pair Plus bet, it is a sign that you think you will be dealt either a pair or better.

The dealer then deals the cards face down. You can see the cards and decide whether you want to continue in the game or fold. If you decide to continue, you must make a Play bet that is equal to the Ante bet amount. If you fold, you will lose your Ante bet amount and the dealer will take away your cards, too.

Once you place the bets, the dealer reveals their cards and compares them with yours. The dealer’s card must contain at least a Queen high to be in contention to win the hand for the house.

If they don’t, the hand concludes and all players get paid 1:1 on their Ante bet. In case the dealer meets the requirement and has a Queen high, then all players’ cards are compared to see who has the best hand. If you have a better hand, you get paid 1:1 on your Ante and Play bets.

If the dealer’s hand beats your three cards, you will lose both Ante and Play bets. Pair Plus, on the other hand, is independent and has nothing to do with what the dealer’s cards are. So, you will get paid regardless of whether you win or lose the hand.

Payouts in 3 Card Poker

The 3-card Poker table has dedicated areas – Ante, Play, and Pair Plus – for the players to place bets based on which the payouts are decided. As one of the competitors, you are at the liberty of placing multiple bonus bets or standard bonus bets.

Basic payout in 3 Card Poker is not complex, as everyone receives 1:1. As for base games, this is what the payout looks like in different scenarios –

  • If the dealer’s hand qualifies and is lower, the Ante wager is 1:1 and the Play wager is 1:1
  • If the dealer’s hand qualifies and is higher, the Ante and Play wagers are Push
  • If the dealer’s hand does not qualify, the Ante wager is 1:1, whereas the Play wager is Push

There are separate payout rules for Pair Plus bonus bet and they are highlighted below depending on the type of hand is dealt to you by the dealer –

  • Pair – 1:1
  • Flush – 3:1
  • Straight – 6:1
  • Three-of-a-Kind – 30:1
  • Straight flush – 40:1

Below listed are the payout rules for Ante bonus in 3-card Poker –

  • Straight – 1:1
  • Three-of-a-Kind – 4:1
  • Straight flush – 5:1

3 Card Poker Odds and Hand Rankings

The odds of achieving different hands vary like every Poker variant played around the world. Below is the listing of the odds of 3 Card Poker hands from highest to the lowest –

  • Ace high or lower – 74.3%
  • Pair – 16.9%
  • Flush – 4.9%
  • Straight – 3.2%
  • Three-of-a-Kind – 0.23%
  • Straight Flush – 0.21%

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FAQs on 3 Card Poker

1. Is 3 Card Poker and Teen Patti the same thing?

No. 3 Card Poker has its origins in Europe, whereas Teen Patti originated in India and is a simplified version of Three Card Poker.

2. Is there any strategy to play 3 Card Poker?

There are different strategies that go into playing and winning at 3 Card Poker. You can devise strategies depending on the cards that you have as well as by looking at the dealer’s cards.

3. Can I play 3 Card Poker free online?

Yes. You can download a preferred mobile gaming application and play 3 Card Poker for without any cost in their free rooms.

4. How can I win 3 Card Poker?

Whether you win or lose in 3 Card Poker will depend on how you make use of the Play wager. Making the Play wager when you have Q-6-4 or Ace or a King card can win you 3 Card Poker hands the most.

5. What is an Ante bet in 3 Card Poker?

In 3 Card Poker, a player is required to place a bet before the dealing of the card. This bet is called the Ante bet.