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How to Play Three Card Poker

Three Card Poker Rules

One of the first things newcomers to the game of three card poker need to understand is that you are really playing to games in one. Both games are really quite simple but very exciting as well.


Three card poker or Tri Card Poker is played with a standard deck of cards. No wild cards or Jokers. Unlike a standard game of poker, three card poker is played with three cards instead of five or seven. You are playing against the house or casino not the other players on the table. Your goal is to have a higher hand then what is dealt to the house or casino. The 3 card poker hand rankings are as follows:

  1. Straight Flush
  2. Three of a Kind
  3. Straight
  4. Flush
  5. Pair
  6. High Card

The game consists of two main bets. You have the option to wager on one (Pair Plus) or the other (Ante) or both bets (PairPlus and Ante). The amounts you choose to wager for the Pair Plus and the Ante do not have to be equal. (The only restriction would be sometimes tables have a minimum table limit that the player must meet.)

Once you have decided on your preference for the wagers, and the bet have been placed, the cards are dealt. If you chose to bet on the Pair Plus bet and you were dealt a pair or better you have won the Pair Plus Bonus Payout no matter what the dealers has been dealt. If you have not been dealt a pair or better you will loose the wagered amount for the pair plus bet.

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At this point if you feel you have a poor hand, no pairs or lower than a Q , 4 high, you have the option to fold. If you were to fold you would forfeit the the wagers you made on the pair plus and the ante bets. And a new game would begin.

If you feel you have a playable hand you must raise the equal amount of your ante bet.

The dealers cards are then revealed. The dealer must have a min of Queen high card in his hand to do what is called “Qualify to play”. If the dealer has less then a Queen high card the Ante wager would be paid even money and your raise bet would be returned. Remember if you have a pair or higher in your hand payout would still be made as per Pair Plus Payout’s table. The pair plus wager is it’s own bet or game and is not affected by the dealers hand at all.

If the dealers hand beats your hand you would loose your Ante Bet and Raise bet. Payout’s would still be made to the Pair plus wager, if one was made, in accordance to the Pair Plus Pay table. If your hand consisted of a Straight or better your ante wager would also be paid off in accordance to the “Ante Wager Bonus Payoff”.

If your hand is higher then that of the dealers and the dealer has qualified with a queen or better you would be paid the following:

  1. The amount you wagered on the Pair Plus would be paid out in accordance to the pair plus pay table. If you don’t have a pair or better that wagered amount would be lost.
  2. The amount you wagered in the Ante Wager and the Raise Wager would be paid even money. Hands consisting of a Straight, Three of a Kind, or Straight Flush are paid a special “Ante wager Bonus Payoff”. Regardless if the dealers hand beats yours.
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Once all wagers are paid the cards are returned to the dealer and shuffled. A new game would begin.

Pair Plus Bet: The “pair plus bet” is a simple bet that you can make. There is no raising this bet. You are betting that of the three cards dealt to you that you will have a pair or higher. No matter what the dealers has dealt to himself you can not loose this bet as long as you have a pair or higher. Yo are paid out in accordance tot he Pair Plus Payout table. ( Please note some casino offer different payout tables)

Ante Wager: The objective of the Ante wager is that your 3 cards dealt must be higher than the dealers 3 cards to receive payment on your bet. If your hand is lower you would loose the bet. If it is higher you are paid even money. A bonus payout is paid if your hand is either a Straight, Three of a kind, or Straight Flush regardless if your hand is higher than that of the dealers.

Raise Wager: If your hand beats the dealer this wager is paid even money. If the dealer does not qualify with a Queen or better the bet is returned to the player with no payout. This is called a push bet.

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Recap: This game is allot of fun once you understand the rules. Try not to get to caught up in all the rules. Get a basic understanding for the game then find a casino like Windows, Cara Daftar W88 or Sci Fi that allow you to play for free. You can play at your own pace with out the risk of loosing money. Take a look at the hands dealt and what was paid and in no time you will be a master.

Three Card Poker Strategy

A really good strategy is to play on all hands that are at least Queen , Four or higher. This really help to reduce the house or casino advantage down to 2.01%

The Pair plus strategy is really a fixed odd since you are just betting on if you are going to have a hand that is a pair or higher the casino advantage is a fixed 2.32%. Poorer odds than the Ante bet but the payout is much higher.

The strategy doesn’t get any more complicated than this. That’s what makes game such a great social gathering. The way you choose to play your game has no ill effect on the other table members unlike Blackjack when if you don’t play according to the optimum play, you could cost all the players at the table money.