3 Card Poker

Have you been to a casino ever? If yes, you are likely to have seen or even played the three-card poker game that is quite a hit with casinos for over two decades now. In fact, right from 1994, when this 3 card poker game was invented by Derek Webb, it has been quite popular. Why? Let us check out some reasons for enhanced popularity of the three-card poker game in casinos:

  • Easy to learn and play
  • Requires you to have a straightforward and basic strategy
  • You have to compete against only the dealer and not a wide pool of players on the table
  • Despite being more of a casino game, this game requires some skills in addition to luck 

So, does it mean you can play the 3 card poker only when you visit casinos once in a while? No, you will find this game at online casinos and hone your skills as well as get some wins against your name. Thus, you will come across this 3 card poker game a majority of live casinos and online casinos. So, what are the rules involved in these three-card poker game, and how do you go about playing it? Let us find out below.

3 Card Poker Rules

This one is more of a casino game instead of being a poker game. However, it does make use of the standard poker hand rankings (order) to make the best possible 3 card poker hands to beat the dealer. Here, there is no broader poker strategy involved where you bet against opponents on the table or take decisions with regards to keeping or drawing cards. The gameplay is pretty straightforward for 3 card poker:

  • Decide between two bets before the deal
  • Check out the three cards received
  •  Hope for the best as you just have to beat the dealer

It is played between a maximum of eight players, inclusive of the player-dealer position. An automatic card shuffler is often used to deal the standard deck of 52 cards. Besides the basics of this game, let’s look at the 3 Card poker rules.

3 Card Poker Hand Rankings

While you will go by the standard poker hand rankings order under most scenarios, there is an exception which makes a ‘Straight’ to be more valuable than a ‘Flush’ in 3 card poker. Why is that so? Because in the case of 3 card poker, it is much difficult to make a ‘Straight’ as compared to a ‘Flush’. This has resulted in the reversal of ranking orders for ‘Straights’ as well as ‘Flushes’ in 3 card poker, whereas the ‘Flushes’ outrank the ‘Straights’ in five card poker.

In a nutshell, there are just six possible 3 card poker hands which you can make – which when ranked from highest to lowest will be as under:

  • Straight Flush – 3 consecutive cards of the same suit (aces high or low)
  • Three of a kind- Which are 3 cards of the same rank
  • Straight – 3 consecutive cards in the mixed suits (aces high or low)
  • Flush – 3 cards which are of the same suit
  • Pair – 2 cards which are of the same rank, and 1 other card
  • High Card – 3 cards, which are not all consecutive or which are in the same suit

You can clearly conclude that there is no full house in 3 card poker and also you cannot get four of a kind. Now, that you are aware of the slightly different hand rankings in this poker game, you can start understanding the process to play this game.

Steps to Play 3 Card Poker

You can play this game on the Live casino table or the online casino table. Every three-card poker table provides three types of options (bets):

  • Ante bet
  • Pair Plus
  • Ante and Pair Plus bets

On the game table, there is a separate space for Ante bets (triangular space) and for Pair Plus bets (circular space). Before the deal, you can place a wager for the Ante bet or for the Pair Plus bet. The dealer for the table shall deals three cards (face down) to all the players as well as himself. You can then check out your cards.

How does it work with Ante Bet?

If you are playing Ante bet, you will then have to decide whether you continue to play or fold your cards. If you choose to play, you need to place a play bet exactly equal to your ante (neither smaller, nor bigger). You can signal this to the dealer by placing your cards face down right next to your bet.

Once you and all other players have either placed their play bet or folded, the dealer will turn his / her cards face up. The dealer will continue to play if his / her hand is queen-high or better. In other words, the dealer qualifies to play further if he / she has queen-high or better. In such a case, you need to have a better hand if you wish to beat the dealer.

If you are playing the bet, your 3 card hand has to be better than that of the dealer. Say, your hand turns out to be the winner. In such a case, you get even money paid to you for both the ante as well as the play wagers. However, if your hand is less than that of the dealer, the dealer wins both the bets.

Consider that the dealer’s 3 card hand is jack-high or less than that. For such hands, the dealer cannot play further. The best part is your hand does not have to beat the dealer’s hand in such a scenario. The antes are paid out at even money, but the play bets cease to be in action as the players on the table keep them. If there is a tie between your hand and the dealer hand, then, both the ante as well as play bets are a push.

You can win yourself some ante bonus as well. How? Well, you simply need to have a straight or better poker hand ranking.

Now, instead of playing the bet, if you choose to fold up, then, you need to signal this to the dealer by placing your cards in front of the bets.

How does it work with Pair Plus?

If you are playing Pair Plus, you don’t have to decide anything. In fact, with this bet option, you do not have to beat the dealer. If you manage to get a 3 card hand containing a pair or better, then you win – as simple as that. When you have such a hand, you simply place your cards (in face down manner) right next to your own bet.

Key Strategies to Win 3 Card Poker

Even with so limited options as with 3 card poker, you can sometimes get carried away just to ensure there is action all time. This is what makes you to try and place bets on every hand, which can possibly make you lose more. In order to keep a check on your losses, you need to follow one simple rule – if you have any combination which is Q64 or higher (Queen, 6 and 4, or higher), you continue to play. In all other cases, you can fold.

During the initial few hands, place wagers of low amounts till you start winning and gain confidence. Once you gain conviction with the 3 card poker rules and betting strategies, you can try placing wagers of higher amounts.

You can keep your win-loss ration comparatively even. It may make sense to try out playing two real money 3 card poker games at the same time. You may choose to place the Ante bet and the Pair Plus on the same hand. For example, consider that the dealer has a pair of eights and you have a pair of sixes. In such a situation, you will win with your Pair Plus wager, while you would lose the Ante bet wager in comparison to the hand of the dealer. So, there is a scope for a win-loss or a win-win situation – and you do not experience a huge loss by betting with one option where you lose.

The Verdict

By now you may have realized this is a real simple game considering the above discussed simple 3 card poker rules. You can learn the basic rules and strategy involved to stay in profitable on the table. All you have to do is find time to go to a Live casino. Difficult to manage? Do not worry. Simply head to an online platform like Spartan Poker and start playing with the dealer. After all, you won’t get much less to do than just handle 3 cards and two bet options – when it comes to poker!

So, what are you waiting for? Log on to Spartan Poker now, download poker app and start playing poker games today!

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