Three Card Poker Success

People playing three cardpoker in a casino
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Think Three-Card-Poker is tough to learn? Think again! Simply put, the best three-card poker hand wins! You don't have to learn basic strategy like at blackjack, but there are three different bets, which makes the game more exciting. You might even find Three-Card-Poker offered with a special progressive jackpot.

The Play

Three Card Poker is played with a standard English deck of 52 cards. No jokers are used.

Players place their wagers and the dealer delivers three cards to each player and themselves. Betting limits are listed at the table, but a $5 minimum is standard. There are two modes of play for the game: Ante and Play, and the Pair Plus wager. Many casinos allow you to play either mode or both.

Ante and Play Wagers

Players first place a wager in the Ante spot. Once all players have their cards, each player decides if they want to fold their hand (and lose their Ante bet) or risk an additional wager on the Play spot.The dealer will then turn over their own three cards. To qualify, the dealer's hand must be at least queen high. If the dealer does not qualify, they will pay each player's ante wager only. If the dealer does quality, they will pay or take each player's Ante and Play wagers depending on whether they or the dealer have the higher hand.

Standard poker rankings apply, except with regard to straights and flushes.

In Three Card Poker, a straight beats a flush since a flush is actually easier to make with just three cards. In addition, the house pays an ante bonus on three of the winning hands. There is no additional wager required for this bonus payoff.

Ante Bonus

  • Straight Flush 5-1
  • Three of a Kind 4-1
  • Straight 1-1

    The Ante Bonus can vary by casino, and some casinos such as the Wynn in Las Vegas, the Borgata in Atlantic City, and the Talking Stick Resort in Arizona offer a special Mini Royal Ante Bonus instead of the standard Ante Bonus.

    Special Mini Royal Bonus

    • Mini Royal (Ace-King-Queen Suited) 50-1
    • Straight Flush 8-1
    • Three of a Kind 6-1

    Pair Plus Wager

    The Pair Plus is an optional wager and is paid regardless of what the dealer holds. To make a Pair Plus wager, simply place a bet inside the Pair Plus circle. Players receive payouts on the Pair Plus bet according to the payoff chart.

    Standard Pair Plus Payoff Chart

    • One Pair 1 to 1
    • Flush 4 to 1
    • Straight 6 to 1
    • Three of a kind 30 to 1
    • Straight Flush 40 to 1

    Players lose their bet if their hand does not contain at least a pair. The pair plus payoffs listed above have a house edge of 2.32 percent, which is fairly low for a bonus-style bet, although other pay tables do exist.


    Three Card Poker has a very simple strategy. The Play bet is a push unless the dealer qualifies with a hand that is at least queen high. If the dealer has no card as high as a queen and no pair, straight or flush, the bet is a push.

    The simple strategy for Three Card Poker is to fold if you have a hand lower than Queen - 6 - 4 and play if your hand is the same or higher.

    That's all there is to it!

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    Your Citation
    Moe, Al. "Three Card Poker Success." ThoughtCo, Feb. 8, 2017, Moe, Al. (2017, February 8). Three Card Poker Success. Retrieved from Moe, Al. "Three Card Poker Success." ThoughtCo. (accessed December 13, 2017).