How to Play Three Card Poker -- 3 Card Poker Rules

Playing cards in casino, close-up
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Three card poker is an extremely popular casino table game that you can find in casinos both large and small. It's easy to pick up and play and if you know the basic strategy, has a relatively low house edge. Here are the rules of three card poker.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 15 minutes

Here's How:

  1. To begin, there are two bets you can make: Ante and Pair Plus. You can just bet one of them, or both. The Ante bet is a wager a player plays against the dealer, while the Pair Plus bet is independent of what the dealer has and is only a wager on whether or not your 3-card hand will have a pair or higher in it.

    The Pair Plus wager loses if the player has less than a pair and wins with a pair or better, its as simple as that.
  1. Once you've made your bets, you will receive 3 cards. If you made the Ante bet, you must now decide whether you will bet again that your hand is better than the dealer, or fold. If you fold, you lose your Ante bet. If you decide to play your hand, you place a bet equal to the amount of your Ante bet in the "Play" spot on the table.
  2. After all bets are made, the dealer turns up his cards. The dealer must have at least a Queen high or better to play, otherwise he doesn't "qualify" and players are paid 1 to 1 on their Ante bet, and take back their "Play" bet.
  3. If the dealer's hand does qualify, he will compare his hand against each player to determine the winner.
  4. The ranks of hands from best to worst in three-card poker are:
    • Straight flush
    • Three of a kind
    • Straight
    • Flush
    • Pair
    • High card
  5. If you win, you will get paid one to one on your Ante and Play bets. Additionally, if your hand is a straight or better, you will get a bonus on top of the standard payout. The bonus applies to both the Ante bet and the Pair Plus bet.


    1. The basic strategy to remember is to play any hand with a Queen high or better and to fold the rest.