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How To Play 3 Card Poker?

2022 Jun 24 5 min read
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Poker’s popularity has skyrocketed throughout the years, and it has made its mark across casinos around the world. Poker tournaments are some of the most sought-after events at land-based and online casinos, attracting all kinds of players – beginners and veterans alike. Different variations have found their way into most casinos, diversifying the range of Poker tables you can play at. Texas Hold’em Poker, Omaha Poker, 5-card Poker and 7-card Stud Poker, amongst others, will make your casino experience an exciting and enjoyable one! Each Poker adaptation has its own specific rules which you need to get familiar with before you start playing and you’re free to choose whichever variant you find most intriguing. Regardless of your level of experience, you’ll definitely find a table which suits your preferences.

One Poker variation which has soared in popularity since its inception is Three Card Poker. Invented by Derek Webb in 1994, it’s a relatively modern version, in comparison to other popular casino games which have been around for thousands of years. However, despite being a relatively new addition to the Poker family, it has become a standard game in most casinos all over the world, including EnergyCasino. Boasting a combination of speed and excitement, together with rewarding payouts, Three Card Poker is here to stay.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • Why this Poker variation is so popular
  • The equipment generally used in 3 Card Poker
  • Hand rankings
  • How to play 3 Card Poker
  • How wins are settled
  • Strategic tips

Why is Three Card Poker so popular?

Many factors have contributed to this game’s road to fame:

  1. Straightforward rules – Three Card Poker is one of the easiest casino games to learn when compared to other Poker variants.
  2. Lower house edge – You have higher chances of winning than in other games if you play with a strategy in mind.
  3. Two ways to play the game – You may either compete against the dealer (Ante play) or just win depending on the cards you have, regardless of the dealer’s hand (Pair plus).
  4. Attractive payouts – Certain wagers, especially Pair Plus bets, can lead to rewarding payouts if you win. You may win up to 40 times your bet with a straight flush!
  5. A strategic game – Three Card Poker is not just a game of chance, but one which requires an element of skill.

Three Card Poker Setup

Three Card Poker uses a single deck of cards which is shuffled before each round. An automatic shuffling machine is usually found in most land-based casinos to speed up each game. This variant is played on a standard seven-player table, and the layout consists of three card spaces in front of the dealer and three spaces in front of each player – the Pair Plus, Ante and Play sections where players place their chips. Additionally, the table will also indicate the pay tables for the Pair Plus and Ante payouts, all the basic rules and the minimum and maximum bets you can place.

Three Card Poker Hands

Since this unique variation is played with just three cards, the odds are slightly different than those of other Poker variants, consequently affecting the ranking. Since a straight is rarer than a flush in Three Card Poker, it outranks the flush, making a straight a stronger hand. This occurrence contrasts to five-card poker, for instance, where a flush is stronger than a straight.

The Poker hands you can obtain rank as follows – straight flush, three of a kind, straight, flush, pair and high card. As you can fathom, there’s no royal flush, four of a kind, full house or two pair because of the lower number of cards in your hand in Three Card Poker.

How to play Three Card Poker

Three Card Poker’s gameplay is straightforward. Your objective is to either outrank the dealer or to obtain a good poker hand with just three cards, depending on which way you play. The options are either to play on Pair Plus, on Ante or both. Although you can also find side bets on selected tables, these two are the main playing options.

So how do you play this easy game?

  1. Once you place your Ante bets, your Pair Plus bets, or both, on the respective space, the dealer deals three cards face down to each player and himself.
  2. As soon as all the cards are dealt, you’re free to look at your hand.
  3. If you placed your bet on Pair Plus, no action is required from your end.
  4. You win if you have a pair or higher, or lose your bet if you don’t.
  5. On the other hand, if you bet on the Ante, you need to decide whether to call (play) or fold (stop playing). It all boils down to your hand. Basic strategies recommend players to call whenever they have a hand higher than a Queen, Six and Four and fold in all other circumstances. If you decide to play, you need to place a bet equal to the Ante on the Play section and compete against the dealer’s hand.
  6. How do you signal your decision? If you decide to call, you place your cards face down under your Play bet. Otherwise, if you choose to fold or lose a Pair Plus, you must put your cards in front of the dealer.

How are 3 Card Poker wins settled?

In cases where the dealer’s hand is Jack-high or lower, the dealer cannot play, and you don’t need to outrank the dealer in such situations. The Ante bet is paid 1 to 1, while the Play bet is returned to the player.

In the event of a tie, there are no payouts, and the player keeps both the Ante and Play bets.

  • Ante-Play Payouts – If a player folds, the dealer clears away his cards and the ante bets from the table. Once all the players have completed their actions, the dealer turns his cards face up to contend with the other players. If his hand has a Queen high or better, the dealer plays, and both the Ante and the Play bets are in action. Your hand must outrank that of the dealer to win. Bear in mind that other players’ hands have no impact on whether you win or not since you’re only competing against the dealer in Three Card Poker – just like Blackjack. If your hand is superior, you get paid 1 to 1 on your Ante and Play bets while the dealer takes all bets if you lose.
  • Ante Bonus Payouts – You can enjoy Ante bonus wins whenever your Poker hand is either a straight flush, a three of a kind or a straight. The dealer’s hand value is irrelevant in this case, so you don’t need to beat him.

Standard payouts are as follows, but you can find tables with different paytables:

  • Straight Flush: 5 to 1
  • Three of a Kind: 4 to 1
  • Straight: 1 to 1
  • Pair Plus Payouts – Win a Pair Plus payout by obtaining a pair or better in your hand. Just as the Ante bonus payouts, the Pair Plus payouts work independently from the dealer’s hand.

Most common payouts are:

  • Straight flush: 40 to 1
  • Three of a kind: 30 to 1
  • Straight: 6 to 1
  • Flush: 3 to 1
  • Pair: 1 to 1

Thus, whereas the Ante-Play payouts are awarded if your hand outranks that of the dealer, Ante Bonus and Pair Plus payouts rely solely on the rank of your hand.

Successful Three Card Poker Tactics and Strategy Tips

  • Play the free Three Card Poker demo versions before you start playing for real money. Free play provides you with the opportunity to get accustomed to the rules of the game and the Poker hands. Depending on your jurisdiction, you may be asked to verify your age before being given access to free Poker.
  • Avoid making the Pair Plus bets – Although the Pair Plus option offers attractive possible payouts, it enhances the house edge, so your chances of winning are not so high, leading to more potential losses than wins.
  • Decide on whether to call or fold by using this simple tactic: call if you have a better hand than a Queen, Six and Four, and fold if it’s weaker.

⭐ What is 3 Card Poker?

Three Card Poker is a Poker variation which is played with three cards. The game’s objective is to either outrank the dealer (play an Ante) or acquire a strong Poker hand with your three cards (play a Pair Plus).

⭐ How does 3 Card Poker work?

To play Three Card Poker, you place your Ante and/or Pair Plus wagers and the dealer deals three cards face down to all players and himself. At this point, you look at your cards and decide whether to call or fold if you placed an Ante bet. If you want to play, you must place a bet equal to the Ante on the Play to compete against the dealer. If you fold, the dealer takes your bets. The dealer can only play if he has a Queen high or better. Otherwise, if you placed a Pair Plus bet, you win or lose depending on whether or not you have a pair or better.

⭐ How many 3 Card Poker hands are there?

The hands you can obtain with Three Card Poker are a straight flush, three of a kind, straight, flush, pair and high card.

⭐ How do you win in 3 Card Poker?

If you place an Ante and Play bet, you win if your hand outranks that of the dealer when he has a Queen high or better. When it’s Jack-high or lower, the dealer cannot play, so you win even money on your ante bet. You can also enjoy an Ante bonus win if your hand is either a straight flush, a three of a kind or a straight. On the other hand, you win a Pair Plus bet if you obtain a pair or a higher rank.