What is the 3 (Three) Card Poker Strategy?

What is the 3 (Three) Card Poker Strategy?

Table of content:

The three card poker game was invented by Derek Webb in 1994 and has been a popular poker variant ever since. A three card poker game, though easy to learn and play, requires skill in hand selection, prudence while playing ante-play combinations and a good understanding of a pair plus. Curious to know how it is played? Read ahead!

What is three card poker?

·  The player and the dealer are given three cards each. The player receives the cards face up, whereas the dealer receives these cards face down.

·  The object of the game is to beat the opponent’s poker hand by making the best hand possible. If you bet and the dealer does not have Queen or higher, the dealer does not play; you win your ante bet and your play bet pushes (neither wins nor loses), even if the dealer’s hand beats your hand. If the dealer has Queen high or higher then you must beat the dealer to win.

·  The game starts with making an ante wager. On receiving the cards, you may either surrender your ante bet or make a bet equal to the ante bet.

·  Once the cards are revealed and your hand is stronger than the dealer’s hand, then you will win both the bets, if not, you will forfeit both.

·         The hand rankings are as follows –

1. mini-royal flush (Ace, King, Queen of the same suit)

2. straight flush (consecutive cards of the same suit),

3. three of a kind (three cards of the same number),

4. straight (consecutive cards which are unsuited),

5. flush (three cards of the same suit),

6. pair (two cards of the same number),

7. high card.

·  Please note: If you’re the dealer’s highest and your highest card are identical, the tie is broken by the second-highest card, and then the third highest card. In case your hand and the dealer’s hand are fully identical, it is a tie and the bets push.

·  The house edge in three card poker games is around 3.7%. it is one of the best casino poker variants that one can play so far as the odds are taken as the sole consideration.

Etiquette followed in a three card poker game

There are three main things that a player must follow -

·  If you wish to not just ante up but also play your hand, then position your cards from low to high, place them face down in the play box, and then keep the wager atop the cards.

·   In case you have already placed an ante up but do not wish to play the hand, then you may resort to either tossing your cards towards the dealer or sliding the cards underneath the already bet chips and then push them both towards the dealer.

·   It is customary to tip dealers when you win, so do not forget to do so. 10% is an acceptable sizing.

Bonus bets in three card poker

Some bonus bets that the player can avail are –

·   Pair plus bet: it is placed at the start of the hand where the player bets an additional amount that he or she will have a hand that has one pair or better.

·   6 card bonuses: it is a bet placed on the player’s and dealers’ cards.

Basic three card strategy

Learn the rules of the game thoroughly. Know the hand rankings at the back of your hand.

·   Remember that a pair plus usually wins i.e. you will win if you contain a pair, flush, straight, straight flush or three of a kind.

·   Bet whenever you hold a hand that has a Q-6-4 or better. Fold if your hand is any lower.

·   If the high card is jack or lower, irrespective of the other two cards, fold.

·   Sufficiently practice in low stakes games online before you start betting on some real money.

Modified play when you are aware of one of the dealer’s cards

Dealer’s known card

Course of action that you must take

Jack or lower

Make a play bet as the odds that the dealer hand will not qualify or will be lower than yours are increased.


Choose to play with Q, 9, 2 or better.


Choose to play with K, 9, 2 or better.


Choose to play with A, 9, 2 or better.

To conclude

Three card poker is quite a fun game to play and a number of hands can be played within a short period of time. A little bit of luck, coupled with your skills, can assure you a nice winning streak. May the odds work in your favour!

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