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Three Card Poker

Sometimes referred to as tri-card poker, three card poker is pretty straight forward, the name says it all and the player therefore uses three cards to play. Basically the player has to beat the dealer by holding the better poker hand. There are two separate games involved, the pair-plus and the ante. In the ante the game is played strictly against the dealer and the pair-plus will payout for hands containing a pair or better. It is imperative to refine your strategy when playing this game as any game of poker is a game of skill where certain strategies apply to certain types of the game.

How to Play

Three card poker is a simple game that entails the use of a table marked with two circles and a square. The top circle is used for the pair-plus bet and the lower circle for the ante. The square is used for your cards and your bet. The player has to decide if they are going to play either one of these bets or both. Chips are placed in the appropriately designated places. The dealer will give you three cards, but you are not allowed to look at these until the dealer says so.

If you decide to keep your cards, place them face down in the square and place you chips on top of the cards. This ensures that you will stay in the game, but your bet must be equal to your ante bet. If you are only playing the pair-plus bet just place the cards face down, there is no need to place a bet on the cards. If you fold, the dealer will collect your bet and you will be out of the game until the next hand.

If you are staying in just put your cards down, don’t touch them. The dealer turns his cards over first, then the cards of the other players. If you placed an ante bet and have a higher hand than the dealer, he will pay even money on the ante. If you placed a bet on the pair-plus and have a pair or better, you will win a multiplier according to the amount printed on the felt of the table. In certain three card poker games there are also multipliers for the ante bet. The dealer also has to have a queen or higher to win. If the dealer does not have a queen or higher, then he will return your bet to you.


Both bets on the pair-plus and the ante must be placed before the deal commences. You are able to place bets independently or together on these two games. Cards are dealt from a fifty two card deck and rank from high to low. The highest hand ranking being a straight flush, then three of a kind, a straight, a flush, a pair and nothing. The players and the dealer are all dealt three cards as the name of the game suggests.

The pair-plus bet is only determined by the rank of the hand that the player holds, this part of the wager is irrelevant to the hand that the dealer holds. Payouts for the player with a pair or higher in his hand are typically 40 – 1 for a straight flush, 30 – 1 for three of a kind, 6 – 1 for a straight, 4 – 1 for a flush and 1 – 1 for a pair.

The ante wager is made before any cards are dealt, after receiving his/her three cards, the player may fold, in which case he loses his ante, or stay in the game by making a further wager that is equal to his original ante bet. When the player makes a play bet the dealer must show his hand. If the dealer has a queen or higher his hand qualifies, if not you win even money on your ante bet. The same applies if the dealer qualifies and you have a better hand, if the dealer and the players hand ties the bet is said to “push”.

A bonus is paid on the ante bet when the player has a straight or better, again this does not depend on the dealers’ hand. Bonus payouts vary from game to game, but typically equal 5 – 1 on a straight flush, 4 – 1 on three of a kind and 1 – 1 on a straight.

Online Three Card Poker

Playing three card poker online is much the same as it would be on the casino floor, it can provide hours of entertaining fun and like any online gambling is a moderately easy game to grasp. Certainly, if anything, it is easier to play online as all the work is done for you. The game prompts you to make your moves when the showdown comes and playing three card poker online can be quite lucrative. Players are able to win a great deal of money with this game, but the same can be said for losing, so watch your bankroll and set limits for online three card poker play. Three card poker online can also be called 3 card poker or tri card poker.


Once it is ok with the dealer you may look at your hand. If you have a pair of better, you should always keep your hand. Fold your hand if you do not have a queen - 7 or better hand or a pair. A queen - 7 hand means a hand with a least a queen as the highest card and a 7 as the lowest card. Of course, you will always play any pair as well as any straight, flush, 3 of a kind or straight flush. The dealer also has to have a queen or higher hand to stay in the game. Some players enjoy “playing blind”. Although this strategy will help you win if the dealer does not qualify, you should avoid this play as it will lose money in the long run.


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