Three Card Poker has become one of the most popular casino games worldwide, in brick and mortar and also online. Many jurisdictions offer tournament play or huge prizes. The game is very easy to learn and simple to play.
Poker hand rankings for Three Card Poker differ somewhat from the standard 5 card poker hands in that Three of a kind beats a Straight. In a 5 card poker hand, the reverse is true.
How to Play
Before play starts you must first make an Ante wager. The dealer will then give each player and him or herself 3 down cards from a standard 52 card deck. If you have a strong hand, make a Play bet equal to your Ante wager. If not you may fold and forfeit the bet. After the dealer reveals the cards the player status will be determined. The dealer must have at least a Queen or higher to qualify. If you win and the dealer qualifies you collect even money for both wagers. If the dealer does not qualify, you will be paid even money for your Ante wager and your Play bet pushes. If the dealer’s hand beats yours, the house collects both wagers.
There is also an Ante bonus payout if you are dealt a Straight or higher. It’s paid whether or not you lose your Play wager:
- Straight – Pays 1 to 1
- Three of a Kind – 4 to 1
- Straight Flush – 5 to 1
The house edge is calculated at about 3.37%.
Pair Plus Option
The Pair Plus bet is an optional wager you can make that is independent of your Ante and Play wagers. You will be paid the following if you have at least a pair:
- Any Pair – Pays 1 to 1
- Flush – 4 to 1(3 to 1 in some jurisdictions)
- Straight – 6 to 1
- Three of a Kind 30 to 1
- Straight Flush – 40 to 1
- Mini-Royal – 200 to 1 (Q-K-A not offered everywhere)
Your chances of being dealt at least a pair are about one in four. You should expect some type of winning payout about 25% of the time. Pay tables vary between jurisdictions. For example, the above Pair Plus table has a house edge of about 2.3% whereas the edge jumps to 7.3% when 3 to 1 is paid for the Flush.
Fold with any hand less than J-7-4. Otherwise make a play bet.