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Updated: July 8, 2023
3 Card Poker

3 Card Poker

When you think of Las Vegas, you immediately think of popular card games like 3 card poker. This is a casino game which is played with a standard deck of cards where the objective of the game is to achieve a better hand against the dealer using the three cards that are dealt to you.

Wondering how to play 3 card poker?

  • Players begin by keeping an ante, betting for that particular hand.
  • Three cards are then dealt face down to each player and the dealer.
  • Grinders do not play against each other but play the dealer.
  • Players then look at their hole cards and place them according to the hand they have received.
  • By doing this, players either pit their 3-card poker hand against the dealer’s hand or place their bet to stay in the game.
  • As per the 3 card poker strategy, one must play all the hands that are greater than Queen, Six and Four. Other hands could be folded.
  • When a particular grinder folds, that particular hand is over and the dealer gets to collect their ante. If the player decides to play, then the cards will be overturned and who has a better hand than the dealer.
  • If the dealer has a hand which is Jack-high or worse. While if the player has a Queen-high hand or something better then both the play game and the ante is paid out at 1 to 1 and the player definitely has a better hand than the dealer.
  • In case the dealer has a better hand, then the ante and the play bets are immediately collected.
  • If the dealer has a superior hand, the play bets and ante are collected. The pair plus bet was determined which is completely independent of what the dealer was.

Also Read: How To Play Poker Online

3 card poker rules:

  • There are three betting options in 3 card poker, namely Ante, play and pair plus.
  • Ante is the first, compulsory bet placed even before the cards are dealt.
  • Play is the additional bet you place after seeing your hole cards. This bet is also equal to the initial bet amount. You must keep your cards face down and the bet amount on top of the hole cards, in the play area that is allocated on the poker table.
  • Pair Plus is an optional bet that you can place along the ante even before your hole cards are dealt. You do not place this bet against the dealer or other grinders but a bet that you get to win if there is a pair or chances of making better hands in the first three cards.
  • The option to fold means you can leave that particular hand or leave the game entirely if you do so before betting starts. Players usually fold when they have weak cards or are not happy with what they were dealt. When you fold, you will forfeit your ante and the pair plus bet that you placed.
  • Once grinders have all decided their moves, the dealer flips their card.
  • If you have a better hand as compared to the dealer, you win and also receive prize money based on the 3 card poker payout structure. If not, you lose the amount you bet and the dealer takes your cards.
  • To pay the winning hand’s bet, the dealer must have a minimum of Queen High or else only the ante’s get paid.
  • The 3 card poker hand rankings are such that card combinations are in descending order and are ranked in the order of Mini Royale, Straight Flush, Three of a Kind, Straight, Flush, Pair and High card.

Hand Rankings In 3 Card Poker

Mini Royale – This is the highest-ranked card combination and the most sought-after one in the game. The mini royale comprises an Ace, King and Queen of a similar suit.

Straight Flush – This is formed when you have three sequential cards of the same suit.

Three of a Kind – Three of a Kind hand is formed when your hand contains three cards of the same value.

Straight – A 3 card poker straight is when you have three cards of any suit in sequence.

Flush – A flush hand is formed when you have three cards of the same suit but not necessarily in sequence.

Pair – The word ‘Pair’ itself speaks for the hand, as this is formed when you have two cards of the same value.

High Card – A high card is formed when you have three cards which necessarily have no match. In this, the card with the highest value is known as the high card.

3 Card Poker odds calculator:

3 Card Poker is a house edge game. There is no legitimate strategy that players can employ since the odds are in favour of the player. But unlike certain casino games, there is a strategic element to the game and there is a way in which a 3 Card Poker odds calculator can be employed.

When you employ the correct strategy, you will be able to minimise the house edge against the players and also help to maximise enjoying the game.

Basic 3 card poker strategy:

The basic strategy in this casino game is that players must act before the dealer, be it play or fold. The basic strategy is knowing when to place the bet and when not to. This itself reduces the house edge to 2.01% of the total money staked.

There are several debates about which bet offers better value, whether it is the standard ante-play or the pair plus. Maths show that ante-play is better. Be it 3 card poker online or live, it is a recreational game and there is no surefire way of winning truckloads of money. The fun and profit are based on individual player experience.

The Ante Bonus

It is only 3-card poker that additionally has the benefit of the ante bonus. This bonus is paid out regardless of what the dealer holds. Without this bonus, the house edge would be appreciably higher and less appealing to the grinder. Take a look at the standard ante bonus payouts:

Straight: Even money

Straight flush: 5/1

Three of a kind: 4/1

Pair Plus Bet

Unlike the ante-play game, there is no strategic element to the pair plus side bet. This is basically a bet on the quality of the three-card hand which is dealt to the player. There are several pay tables in use around the world in online and live casinos. Playing the pair plus bet in this type of poker offers several odds which result in a house edge of 2.32%.

Standard Pair Plus Odds

One Pair: Even Money

Flush: 4/1

Straight: 6/1

Three of a kind: 30/1

Straight Flush: 40/1

Take a look at the 3 card poker payouts:

Pair plus payouts:

Straight Flush – 40 to 1

Three-of-a-kind – 30 to 1

Straight – 6 to 1

Flush – 3 to 1

Pair – 1 to 1

Ante bonus payouts:

Straight flush – 5 to 1

Three of a kind – 4 to 1

Straight – 1 to 1

3 Card poker cheat sheet

The house edge in 3 card poker is around 3.7%. Although this is the case, you can shift this poker odds slightly towards you by sticking to the basic three-card poker strategy. Take a look at the house edge against the three betting options.

The house edge against ‘play’ bet is made with the Q-6-4 or better only stands at 2%.

The ‘Pair Plus’ bet also favours the house. If you plan to play this with strategy, then the house edge would be around 2.3%.

3 card poker 6 card bonus

What is the 3 card poker 6 card bonus? The 6 card bonus is based on the three-hole cards dealt to the grinder and the three cards that are dealt to the dealer. A player then gets to use any of those six cards, irrespective of the cards used from the dealer’s hand or theirs to make the best possible five card hand.

Some of the benefits of playing 3 card poker include:

You can win even a massive $100,000 through the six card card bonus pay table, which hits the player’s and dealer’s cards which combine nine through Ace in a royal suit of diamonds. If you decide to play 3 card poker anywhere in Las Vegas, remember that the Ante and Play games are paid even money (1:1).

Accurately seeing the dealer’s cards also helps you understand and employ strategies when you place your play bet. Such opportunities let you adjust your strategy so you get to maximize the chances to win more.


Rules of 3 card poker are extremely easy to learn and the odds aren’t basic if you compare it to other games. There certainly isn’t a specific winning strategy but if you play your best game, you are sure to take home loads in winnings. So, give it a try and ensure you read all about 3 card poker odds and more.

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