How to Play 3 Card Poker? | Hands, Payouts

3 card poker is a simple game, with simple rules, it can be really fun and as such, it gained great popularity among the casino players around the world. But let me explain to you how you can play it and entertain yourself.

A game of 3 card poker begins with the dealer shuffling a deck of 52 cards, dealing 3 cards to the player and 3 to himself.

There are only two types of bets here – Pair Plus and Ante. They have different payouts and the player may place a pair plus bet, an ante bet or both.

  • Pair Plus – a bet for an outcome of a Pair or better. The payout would be according to the Pair Plus payout table.
  • Ante – a bet against the hand of the dealer. The payout is according to the Ante payout table.

Player’s cards are dealt face up and those of the dealer – faced down. If the player has placed an ante bet, he will have the opportunity to choose to raise or to fold. If the player decides to fold, he will lose his ante bet, as well as his pair plus bet (if any). If the player decides to raise and this way challenge the hand of the dealer, he will place a bet equal to the amount of his ante bet. For example, if a player has placed a $100 pair plus bet and $100 ante bet, his raise would be equal to the amount of the ante bet – $100. In order to determine the winner, the dealer must first qualify. The dealer qualifies if he has a queen-high card or better, otherwise he is disqualified. If the dealer doesn’t qualify, the player wins 1:1 on his ante bet, as to the raise – it is returned. In case, the dealer’s hand and the player’s one have the same rank, the highest ranking card is crucial (for example, a pair of jacks is winning over a pair of 10s). If the hand of the player wins, then the player wins both the ante and the raise. If the dealer wins then, the player loses his ante and raise bet. In case, the player’s hand ties the one of the dealer, then the ante and the raise are returned to the 3 card poker player.

The pair plus bet is a bet for an outcome of a pair or better. If the player doesn’t get a pair or better then he loses his wager, no matter what the dealer gets. In case the player has got a hand with a pair or better and the dealer doesn’t, then the player wins and the payout is according to the 3 card poker payout table in the casino. If both the player and the dealer qualify, then the winner is determined by the rank of the hands – whoever has a higher ranking hand wins. In case, the rank is the same then the higher ranking card would determine the winner.

In a game of 3 card poker, a straight has got higher rank than a flush. The reason for this is the fact that it is easier to make a flush than a straight in 3 card poker than in Texas Hold’em, for example. You may learn the hand rankings in a game by reading our 3 card poker hand rankings section.

3 card poker hand rankings

Before you ever decide to start playing any kind of poker, you must get to know the hand rankings in the game. There is no way for you to make the right decisions unless you know what your hand is and how it is compared to the others.

In a game of 3 card poker, the player compares his three-card hand to the dealer’s one and this way it is determined who the winner is. For example, a Straight hand is better than a Flush hand and therefore the player with the Straight is the winner. You can see the 3 card poker hand rankings on the picture on the right.

Below, you may see a list of the hands from best to worst – the better the position the stronger the hand:

  1. Straight Flush – Straight of one suit.

10 – 9 – 8

  1. Three-of-a-Kind – Three cards of one kind (same rank).

Queen – Queen – Queen

  1. Straight – Three cards of sequential rank.

8 – 7 – 6

  1. Flush – Three cards of the same suit.

King – 9 – 7 (same suit)

  1. Pair – Two cards of the same kind.

King – King – 9

  1. High Card – If nobody has any of the above then whoever has the highest card wins.

Ace – Queen – 8

Odds and Payouts

The odds and payouts in 3 card poker are very important for the players, whether it’s a beginner or experienced player.

We’ve created a table for you so you may see the probabilities for getting a certain hand in a game of 3 card poker, as well as the number of combinations forming that hand. You should pay attention to the probabilities and combination and keep them in mind when deciding how to bet:

HandChance for Getting ItCombinations
High Card44.00%9720
Straight Flush0.20%48

We have already explained the types of bets in this casino game. There are two types of bets in 3 Card Poker (Ante and Pair Plus) and therefore there are two payout schedules for each 3 Card Poker table. Of course, the actual payout tables will vary in the different casinos but this is a good example of a popular payout table.

3 card poker payout tables for Pair Plus:

Payouts For Pair Plus
HandTable 1Table 2Table 3Table 4
Straight Flush40:140:140:140:1
Casino Edge7.30%5.57%3.49%2.31%

3 Card Poker payout tables for Ante bets:

Ante Bonus Payouts
HandTable 1Table 2Table 3Table 4
Straight Flush3:14:15:15:1
Casino Edge4.30%3.80%3.60%3.40%

There are no particular strategies for 3 card poker pair plus because it is all about dealing the cards and paying out depending on the combination you have acquired. However, when placing ante bets, you have the option to raise or to fold. Our 3 card poker strategy tells you when to raise and when to fold.

When using our strategy, you need to raise whenever you have Queen High or better. If the dealer doesn’t have Queen High or better, he will not qualify and you will win. In case he qualifies, you need to have a hand that is better ranked than his in order to win.