A wager before you receive your cards.
If you like games with fast action and quick hands, online 3 card poker is the right game for you, and learning how to play is easy. By the time you get a dozen hands under your belt, you’ll know exactly how to play 3 card poker.
Our expert guide to online 3 card poker will cover:
A relatively recent advent, online 3 card poker is a modern table game based on traditional poker. While there aren’t 3 card poker variations, you may see the game listed as tri-card poker at some online casinos. At first glance, 3 card poker might seem strange or unfamiliar if you have never played the game, but is really a very simple game to learn.
The premise behind 3 Card Poker is simple: you want to make a better 3 card poker hand when you play against the dealer – your only opponent.
Each hand of three card poker begins with players making an ante wager. Online ante wagers can be as low as $1, while most live casinos have a required minimum bet of somewhere between $5 and $10.
Once each player has made their ante wagers, the cards are dealt.
After placing ante bets, the players and the dealer are each dealt three cards. Each player’s cards will be face up, while the dealer’s hand is dealt face down.
At this point, players have two options: make a ‘play bet’ or fold. If a player folds, they forfeit their ante, and the hand is over for them.
If a player chooses not to fold, they’ll need to make a play bet. A play bet is a wager equal to the player’s ante, and by making a play bet the player is choosing to remain in the hand.
Like in other poker games, players should consider folding if their hand is weak, and should make a play bet if they feel they have a chance of winning. 3 card poker strategy suggests that players should play all hands greater than Queen, Six & Four.
Assuming there is still a player left in the game – i.e. at least one player made a play bet – the dealer will reveal their hand.
In order for the dealer to play, their hand must be Queen-high or better. This means that the dealer must have at least a Queen, or a better poker hand, in order to remain in the game. Note that the probability of the dealer receiving at least Queen high is approximately 70%, meaning that they’ll qualify more often than not.
If the dealer does not qualify, the player’s original ante will be paid out at 1:1, and their play bet will tie (a “push”), meaning the money would be returned to the player.
If the dealer does qualify, there is a showdown round similar to other poker games, in which the player’s hand is compared against the dealer’s. In this instance, if the player’s hand beats the dealer’s, both the ante and the play bets are paid out at odds per the game’s pay table.
If the dealer beats the player’s hands, the dealer wins the player’s ante and play bets. More on 3 card poker hand rankings in a minute.
Most players in 3 card poker stick to the basic bets listed above. As we mentioned, the payout rates vary by casino and by individual game, so be sure to check the game’s paytable to fully understand the specific odds.
There are, however, some additional bet types that are worth consideration.
A pair plus bet is an optional wager that can be placed when a player makes their ante wager. This is a wager that bets that the player’s hand will be a pair or better, and this bet type pays out if the player’s hand contains at least a pair of twos (or better).
The payout for this bet type will apply regardless of the dealer’s hand, as this bet is simply made on the player’s hand itself – the dealer’s hand is irrelevant.
Again, payouts vary from table-to-table, but be aware that the pair plus bet has relatively low odds, at roughly 17%.
An ante bonus is what it sounds like – a bonus payout paid on a player’s ante wager if their hand is a straight or better. Like the pair plus bet, ante bonuses are paid out regardless of the dealer’s hand. Payouts may vary slightly, but ante bonuses are typically paid out as such:
Like any poker game, when playing 3 Card Poker, it is important to understand what beats what.
The same terminology is used – straight flush, straights and pairs – the hands simply have a different ranking.
Here are the possible 3 card poker hands, ranked from best to worst:
|Three sequential cards of the same suit||0.22%|
Three of a Kind
|Three cards of the same value||0.24%|
|Three sequential cards||3.26%|
|Three cards of the same suit||4.96%|
|Two cards of the same value||16.94%|
|None of the above; defer to the highest-value card in your hand||74.39%|
Good poker players know that folding isn’t the same as losing. We recommend folding when your hand is worse than Queen-6-4.
While the extra payout is nice, the likelihood of winning on a pair plus bet is approximately 17% – too low to recommend playing.
We can’t say it enough – you need a bankroll strategy. Don’t bet emotionally, don’t chase losses, don’t play with more than you can afford to lose, and stick to your budget.
A wager before you receive your cards.
Your stack of chips at the table.
To remain in the game, the dealer must have at least a Queen-high hand.
Choose to sacrifice your cards in order not to have to place a play bet/raise. You lose the ante bet and your hand ends.
The mathematical advantage that the casino has over the player.
A side bet that pays when you make a pair of better.
An infographic that explains which hands payout at which odds.
A bet that all players must place in order to remain in a hand. Play bets are typically the same size as an ante wager. Also known as a raise.
A bet that all players must place in order to remain in a hand. Play bets are typically the same size as an ante wager. Also known as a play bet.
The algorithm-powered software that produces the hands of 3-card poker at online casinos.
Another name for 3 Card Poker.
Yes, most online casinos and poker rooms allow players to play table games in free mode or practice mode. This is a great way for players to get experience playing the game and using the online platform offered. After that, players can switch over to play for real money.
Yes, Canadians can play online poker. Plus, there is no record of an individual being prosecuted for playing online 3 Card Poker in Canada.
Yes, as long as you’re playing at a trusted online casino, you will be safe. The best online casinos in the industry use the same top-notch encryption technology as international banking institutions. And the games offered employ Random Number Generator (RNG) technology that ensures there’s no way to know which cards are upcoming. All the online casinos we list on Gamble Online have been vetted by casino experts and come recommended.
The most popular strategy and the easiest to implement in 3 Card Poker is to simply raise if you hold at least a Queen 6 and 4. If you have anything above this combination, you call; anything lower, you fold.