How to Play 3 Card Poker – Complete Guide


Three Card Poker is your new best friend! Think of it as poker’s simpler, faster cousin. Here, it’s just you and the dealer, aiming to build the best hand or simply outsmart the house.

Both games are easy to set up and play at home, but if you want a quick, adrenaline-pumping poker experience, Three Card Poker is your golden ticket.

How to Play 3 Card Poker

Three Card Poker (Casino Game)

1. Understand Hand Rankings

Before diving into the game, it’s crucial to know the hand rankings. While similar to traditional poker rankings, there’s a slight difference in the value of certain hands. In Three Card Poker, a straight ranks higher than a flush because flushes are easier to achieve in a three-card hand. Here’s a breakdown of hand rankings from highest to lowest:

2. Placing Bets

Ante Bet

  • Each player must decide whether they believe their hand will beat the dealer’s.
  • In a casino setting, place your desired amount of poker chips on the designated Ante space.
  • At home, use a method to distinguish each player’s Ante, Play, and Pair Plus® bets.
  • Some casinos may have a table minimum, requiring bets to be at least a certain amount.

Pair Plus® Bet

  • In addition to the Ante bet, players can choose to place a Pair Plus® bet.
  • This bet pays out based on the quality of your hand.
  • The name “Pair Plus” reflects its payout for any hand with at least a pair or better.
  • Both Ante and Pair Plus® bets are placed before any cards are dealt.

3. Player’s Turn

Once bets are placed, the dealer deals three cards face down to each player, including themselves.

After viewing your hand, you must decide whether to raise your wager against the dealer.

If you choose to continue, you must place an equal amount of money on the designated Play space.

Folding means forfeiting your Ante bet to the dealer. Some casinos may also forfeit your Pair Plus® bet in this case.

4. Dealer’s Turn

If you decide to play, the dealer reveals their hand. Here’s what happens next:

  • Dealer Qualification: The dealer must have a Queen-high hand or better to qualify.
  • Comparison: If the dealer qualifies, your hand is compared to theirs. If your hand is higher, you win even money on both your Ante and Play bets. If the dealer’s hand is higher, you lose both bets.
  • Push: If you and the dealer have equal hands, it’s a push, and your bets are returned.
  • No Qualification: If the dealer’s hand doesn’t qualify, you win even money on your Ante bet, while your Play bet pushes.

5. Determining Pair Plus® Payout

  • Separate from the Ante/Play bets, players who placed a Pair Plus® bet receive payouts based solely on their hand quality.
  • The dealer’s hand doesn’t influence Pair Plus® payouts.
  • Here’s a popular payout system commonly used:

Three Card Poker (Casino Game)

1. Learn the Hand Rankings

Before diving into the game, familiarize yourself with the hand rankings. While similar to traditional poker, there’s a slight variation. Here’s the ranking from highest to lowest:

  • Three of a Kind
  • Straight Flush
  • Flush
  • Straight
  • Pair
  • High Card

2. Agree on Rules

Decide if the Ace is high only or can also be low in a straight. Any additional house rules should be agreed upon by all players beforehand.

3. Deal the First Card

Start by dealing one card face down to each player, moving clockwise from the dealer’s left. Players only look at their own card.

4. Opening Bet

The player to the left of the dealer may start the betting round by either opening the betting with a bet, checking (not betting), or folding (withdrawing from the round). Agree on minimum and maximum bets if needed.

5. Betting Continues

Players, in turn, can call (match the previous bet), raise (increase the bet), or fold until everyone has called or checked.

6. Deal the Second Card

Once betting concludes, deal a second card to each player, keeping it secret.

7. Second Betting Round

Repeat the betting process until all remaining players have called or checked.

8. Deal the Third Card

Add a third card to each player’s hand.

9. Final Betting Round

Players have one last chance to call, raise, or fold until everyone has called.

10. Reveal Hands

Players lay their cards face up on the table, and the winner is determined by the hand ranking.

11. Determine the Winner

The player with the highest-ranked hand takes the pot. In case of a tie, the highest pair wins.

12. Rotate Dealers

Pass the dealing responsibility to the player on the left, and start a new round.

13. Play Continues

Continue playing rounds until players decide to stop. There’s no set number of hands required.

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