A Beginners Guide to How to Play 3 Card Poker

What are the most important factors you look for in a poker game? If fast action and quick hands are anywhere on your list, then 3 card poker is worth looking into. But what if you don’t know how to play poker? Don’t worry about that, either. The truth is, it’s very simple to learn. By the time you get a dozen hands under your belt, you’ll know exactly how to play 3 card poker.

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Not only is 3 Card Poker an easy game to learn, once you learn, you’ll never get bored of it. Especially online where you can play against a computer, which means you never have to wait for a poker table to become available or watch a player spend 30 seconds, then decide to check. And since you play against the dealer as your only opponent as a new player, you will never be rushed into making a decision. That makes 3 Card Poker an ideal game for newbies.

How To Play 3 Card Poker Online

three card poker online

There aren’t many, if any, 3 Card Poker variations. However, you may see 3 Card Poker 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 it’s a simple game to learn. We’re going to walk you through it now.

The premise behind 3 Card Poker is simple: you want to make a better poker card hand when you play against the dealer – your only opponent.

Each hand begins with you making an ante wager. Your online ante wager can be as low as $1, while most live casinos have a required minimum bet of somewhere between $5 and $10.

After placing your ante bet, you and the dealer are both dealt three cards. Your cards face up, while the dealer’s hand is dealt face down.

At this point, you have two options: make a play bet or fold.

If you fold, you’ll forfeit your ante. The hand is over.

Your play bet must be equal to the amount of your ante. So, if your ante bet is $5, you must raise another $5. This is something you want to keep in mind before you make your play bet.

After you raise, the dealer will flip his hand over.

If the player’s hand beats the dealer’s hand, your ante and raise are paid out based on the pay table listed on the game. If the dealer’s hand beats yours, you’ll lose both your ante and play bets.

But that’s only if the dealer qualifies.

The dealer must have a Queen-high hand or better to qualify. If the dealer’s hand does not qualify, your ante is paid out at 1:1 and your raise (if you made it) is given back to you (a push or tie).

This means that even if you have a 9-high hand, but decide to raise and play it anyway, the dealer has to have a queen or better for you to lose your ante or raise. If the dealer only has Jack high, then you’ll still win the ante and pay bets.

The premise behind 3 Card Poker is simple: you want to make a better poker card hand when you play against the dealer – your only opponent.

The Pairs Plus Bet

3 Card Poker has an additional bet called Pairs Plus. This is an optional ante bonus bet you make at the same time you make your ante bet. This bet can be any size (within the table limits). And it pays only when you make a pair or better.

Nothing else matters. Not even the dealer’s hand.

But none of that matters because we recommend you pass on this side bet. It doesn’t have very good odds (7+ percent).

3 Card Poker: Hand Rankings

When playing 3 Card Poker, it is important to understand what beats what, as there are a few differences in how card hands are ranked playing this game compared to a traditional poker game. The same terminology is used – straight flush, straights and pairs. The hands simply have a different ranking. We listed the 3 Card Poker ranks below.

  • Straight Flush – such as A, 2, 3 of one suit, or 4, 5, 6 of one suit
  • 3 of a kind – such as J, J, J
  • Straight – such as 7, 8, 9 of different suits
  • Flush – same cards of one suit, such as A, 7, T of diamonds
  • Pair – such as 8, 8, 4
  • High Card – such as A, 9, 4 of different suits
  • Keep in mind that suits are not used to break any ties.

3-Card Poker Glossary

3-Card Poker Term Definition
Tri-card poker another name for 3-card poker
Ante a wager before you receive your cards
Fold you lose the ante bet and your hand ends
Raise if you want to continue playing after receiving your cards, you raise the same amount of initial ante bet
Dealer qualifier the dealer must have at least a Queen-high hand
Pairs plus a 3-card poker side bet and pays when you make a pair or better.
Bankroll your stack of chips on the table
Random number generator (RNG) the algorithm-powered software that produces the hands of 3-card poker at online casinos
House edge the mathematical advantages the casino, table has over the player
Paytable an infographic chart that explains which hands pay out at which odds

3 Card Poker Online FAQs