How to Play 3 Card Poker


3 card poker is iconic. Even those who have never set foot in a casino will likely have some knowledge of this classic card game, most likely with a wild west saloon backdrop. But very few casino regulars have a good understanding of how to play this gambling staple.


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This is where our betting guides can help. Packed with an overview of the rules, useful strategies, and the all-important payout information, this post on how to play 3 card poker will provide newbies with the details needed to give this compelling betting goliath a go, and more accomplished players a head start in generating regular profits from the flush, straight, and run based-game.’

The Rules of 3-Card Poker

When it comes to 3 card poker hands, the clue is in the title. All players are dealt three cards from a standard 52-card deck, with each participant contributing an ante-stake to view these and then a “play” wager, where the player believes that they may hold a strong enough hand to beat the dealer.

Winners are determined by hand strength, with those who hold a flush, a straight, or a run most likely to come out on top.

Unlike five-card and seven-card poker alternatives, 3 card poker strategy dictates that entrants should only risk a second bet when the highest received card is a Queen or higher. However, as with all poker games, an air of confidence can help you to claim a prize even when you have been dealt a mediocre hand.

The chance to pick up a bonus on three card poker app games also makes this simple betting fixture a game that all gambling fans should be aware of.

Three Card Poker

Credit: RomanR via Shutterstock

How to Place 3 Card Poker Bets

In essence, any “how to play 3 card poker” guide must focus on the betting patterns that develop every time the dealer starts to “hit” you.

Taking a seat at any 3 card poker table will cost you, as all players must lay down an ante bet just to see the cards placed in front of them. But, you can also choose to make additional investments.

The first of these is the pairs-plus bet.

Many three card poker app variants and live alternatives offer this side bet, which pays out whenever a player is dealt a pair or better hand. Often side bets are designed to sap your bankroll in the long run, but this extra bet can pay out regularly, so it is well worth considering.

You may choose to swerve this option, but if you want to have a chance of winning against the house you must make the occasional play bet.

By making this investment players show that they are confident that they hold a strong hand. However, there is only ever one winner, so carefully pick your moment to maximize your wagers.

The Cards

All 3 card poker hands play out the same way. The dealer deals all players with three face-down cards, and then three cards to themselves.

All players who have committed to an ante bet can examine these cards before deciding whether to place a matched ‘play’ bet. For the dealer’s hand to be considered as being in play, they must be dealt a minimum of a Queen. In these instances, players who have placed additional bets are entitled to increased payouts as long as their hand is stronger than the dealers.

The Ante and the Play Bet Explained

Three Card Poker Slot on Mystake

Any “how to play 3 card poker” online reference would be missing a trick if it didn’t have a section that explains the ante and the play bet.

These bets are central to every 3 card poker hand, with the ante bet acting as an entry stake to any games that you wish to access and the play bet giving you the chance to win a payout.

Casinos tend to be flexible when it comes to ante bet table limits. Accessible venues set minimum stake levels from $10, with big hitters catered for in rooms with five-figure buy-ins. Read our review and our BC.Game review for further details on casinos that are responsive to customer requirements.

Payouts relate to ante and play stakes. Players are paid out at a return of 1:1 on both ante and play bets when beating a qualifying dealer’s hand.

In instances where the dealer fails to hold a qualifying hand, players still win at 1:1 on their ante bet, with the play bet stake returned.

Whether the dealer’s hand qualifies or not, participating players can still make big money from the pair-plus side bet.

Payouts for pair-plus odds grow with hand strength, so big wins are on the cards.

  • Straight Flush: 40/1
  • Three-of-a-kind: 30/1
  • Straight: 6/1
  • Flush: 3/1
  • Pair: 1/1

Highest 3 Card Poker Hands

If you are not a regular at​ crypto poker sites, hand rankings may hold a bit of mystery. But, essentially, card combinations that are the most unlikely to occur are the hands that you want to be dealt with the most.

Top hands include:

  1. Royal Flush (a suited hand of King, Queen, and Jack)
  2. Three-of-a-kind (three cards with the same face value)
  3. Straight (a hand that includes cards with three consecutive face values)
  4. Flush (a hand that includes three cards of the same suit)
  5. Pair (where any two of the three cards dealt has the same value)
  6. High Card (any other hand)

3 Card Poker Strategy

Compared to alternative poker games, luck plays a much larger part in deciding the outcome of all hands, but there is still a definitive 3 card poker strategy to follow.

The average three card poker hand has been deduced as being a Queen-Six-Four combo. Therefore, you should play any dealt hand that is higher than this and opt out of the rest.

The house is still favored to win whether you choose to play or pass, but it becomes a much fairer fight when you choose to double your stakes on the correct hands that you receive.


BC.Game 3 Card Poker

Three card poker is easy to pick up and with a bit of luck can offer decent returns. But is somewhat unexposed when compared to five and seven-card versions of the game.

However, the rules of this classic card game are simple and the optimal betting strategy, easy to follow, so it will not be a surprise to see a growing number of crypto casino fans levitate towards this product shortly.


​What are the rules for 3-card poker?

You should always research how to play 3 card poker online before you lay down any money. In essence, the rules are simple. Place an ante bet, check your cards, and double your stake if you think you’re holding a winner.

​How many cards do you get in three-card poker?

All players are dealt three cards in every three-card poker game.

​Is it easy to win at 3-card poker?

There is no set rule for how to play 3 card poker online. But, if you hold a hand that involves a Queen, statistics suggest that you should raise your stakes and try your luck.