3 Card Poker Strategy: How To Play & Win

3 card poker strategy

3 Card Poker is a popular game as it gives the fun of Poker but is simpler and quicker to play and win against other players. There are diverse varieties of poker games that are played in online and real-time casinos. Some of these include Pai Gow Poker, Ultimate Texas Holdem, and numerous others, but 3 Card Poker has made a special place in the poker fans’ hearts. That’s why it is enjoyed by people globally. It lets you play a few hands in a very short duration with a little bit of fortune. You can make a winning streak if you know well about the 3 Card Poker Strategy.  

Yes, there are petite skillful techniques that take the game to a whole new level. 3 Card Poker, being a simple game, its strategies can be learned in a few seconds. So, let’s figure out the 3 Card Poker Strategy that lets you play the game in the best possible way. Although rules and strategies are simple, comprehend them before you sit to play it with real bucks.  

Rules In 3 Card Poker  

Like the name says, it is played with three cards after placing an ante in a placed box. It initiates with one player receiving three cards based on the hands he dealt. Then he has to choose between:

Play: Continue the hand and match his ante bet, so in this case, if your ante was $10, you have to bet another $10 for a sum of $20. Then the dealer reveals his hands, and both are compared. If you win, you attain one-on-one on your ante bet, but if the dealer wins, you’ll also be paid based on your play bet.  

However, your play bet can also be returned; your winnings will only be based on your ante bet. The dealer is required to qualify for your play bet to win. They will qualify as long as their hands hold queen. You will be paid based on your ante bet if it’s jack-high or lower.  

Besides this, you can win add-on bonuses on your ante and play bets if you play strong hands. If you deal with three of a type, you’ll get 4 to 1 amount of your money, and if you deal with a straight flush, it will be 5 to 1 on your ante bet.   

Fold: Give up the ante bet and not risk any money.  

Hand Rankings In 3 Card Poker  

Poker hand rankings work quite similarly in 3 card poker, like Hold’em or Five Card Draw. The main difference is that due to the usage of only three cards here, no help is taken from community cards. Thus, hand strengths are a little diverse.   

Let’s glance at the order of these cards from highest to lowest.

  • Straight Flush (three continuous cards of the same suit)  
  • Three of a Kind  
  • Straight (three cards with consecutive ranks, like 2,3,4)  
  • Flush (any three cards of the same suit)  
  • One Pair  
  • High Card  

Suppose both the dealer and player have a similar higher-ranking hand as flush or straight, then one with the highest cards in the combination is considered a winner. For instance, 5,6,7 beats 2,3,4, and King flush beats Queen flush. Suits never decide the winner in 3 Card Poker.

Special 3 Card Poker Bets  

Now, you are already aware of the two bets, play, and ante, but there are a few more bets. You can place these bets at the start of any hand. These are just to make the game more fun and playful. So, let’s explore all these bets.  

Pair Plus  

The dealer doesn’t need to qualify for this bet. If a player gets tackled by a good or better Pair, he will be paid based on his bonus bet regarding a separate paytable. Let’s throw some light on this paytable.

  • One Pair: 1 to 1  
  • Flush: 4 to 1  
  • Straight: 5 to 1  
  • Trips: 30 to 1  
  • Any kind of Straight Flush: 40 to 1  
  • A Mini Royal Flush (Ace, King, Queen in the same suit): 200 to 1  

This table varies from one casino to another.   

This bet is usually made in the initiation of hand before these cards are tackled, and these can’t be withdrawn or increased once the play begins.   

6-Card Poker  

It is another special bet in 3 Card Poker. It is a bonus bet including six cards, the player’s three cards, and the dealer’s three cards. It is famous for bringing big payouts in the climax if one gets lucky. This bet may or may not include paytables, and they also vary from one casino to the others. A win starts with three of a kind (combining three of six cards to form trips) and can reach till the royal Flush (paying 1000 to 1 on your placed bet.)  

3 Card Poker Strategy: Playing Poker Effectively  

As mentioned before, 3 Card Poker is easy to play, unlike other games of the same category that need players to make tricky decisions at different stages. You must be well acquainted with what hands to play to what not to play. For example, a player must place a play bet and continue with their hand in case you are dealt with a hand having Q, 6, 4, or something better than this. You should dismiss instantly if there’s any combination worse than this.   

3 Card Poker is way too simple and straightforward to play, involving certain mindful strategies. Instead, take the support of math and make decisions based on statistics. If you cling to an accurate choice of starting hands, you can’t lose more than statistical dictates.   

Odds In 3 Card Poker  

If you are a casino lover, you must have observed that every table game favors the house. But real poker games can turn the edge in your favor if played with skills and mind. However, it’s impossible with banked casino games. 3 Card Poker odds are set at an estimate of 96.7%. Thus, the house edge is clearly 3.7%. It’s not that great but that bad too.  

Fortunately, you can shift these odds in your favor if you decide to stick to the basic 3 Card Poker strategy explained above. The Pair Plus bet also favors the house, but the only condition is that you stick to the primary 3 Card Poker strategy. The house edge here will be about 2.3%.   

All of this makes 3 Card Poker one of the best poker games as far as the odds are the main concern.    

When you play the best strategy, the edge is 2% on your Play bets.   

Cheating In 3 Card Poker  

Of course, cheating and illegitimate ways can cause trouble, and you might end up in prison. Cheating here is being referred to as some smart legal ways to offer you a huge house edge in 3 Card Poker. The only thing you can do here is to look at other players’ hands. This way, you can determine if you should play your hand or just fold. For example, in the case of many high cards out there, you can simply place the Play bet as the dealer is less likely to have a strong hand.   

You can do this in some casinos but can’t in some others. It depends on house rules and won’t cause you any trouble. If you look at another player’s cards, the dealer might warn you if it’s not allowed. If nothing happens, it means it’s allowed.  

There’s no fixed strategy in 3 Card Poker. It’s based on intuitions and feelings you get at the moment. 3 Card Poker is a zero-sum game, and aces and kings can rarely be witnessed. If you have them, make a Play bet straight away, even in a weak hand. However, this situation is very rare to occur.  

Etiquettes To Play 3 Card Poker  

You can play it in many online casinos, but there are certain things that you learn while playing live. These rules ensure the smooth running of gameplay by not breaking any protocol. Let’s pay focus to some such etiquettes here:

  • When you fold your hands, you have to announce your intention simply so that the dealer becomes aware.  
  • If you don’t want to do this, slide your cards to the front and place them beneath your ante chip. The dealer will know that you’re out.  
  • Do whatever but never throw your cards on the table or at the dealer. It may be fine in other poker games but not here in house-banked games.  
  • The casino is responsible for avoiding any chaos so that no cheating is done and a pleasant ambiance is maintained.  
  • Tip the dealer if you win huge. It’s no rule, but it is advised if you are a frequent visitor to any casino. Because if you treat the staff nicely, then you can expect courtesy in return. A few bucks spent on tips are quite valuable here.   
  • If there’s any rule regarding not to do anything, avoid it. Simply, if you are stopped from looking at other player’s cards, just don’t try it again.  
  • Every casino has the authority to set specific regulations; not abiding by them can end you up leaving the place.  

The Last Words  

Now, you know all about 3 Card Poker, how it is played, how it differs from other poker games, the rules and etiquette to play it, the diverse kinds of bets you can place, and the optimal 3 Card Poker strategy. Now, when you visit a casino the next time, you can definitely give this game a shot. It is a very simple, convenient, and quick game. There’s no hard science involved here.  

3 Card Poker is easy to understand and play. It makes it as good as other table games, but the odds here make it better than all other games. This game doesn’t incorporate any winning strategy, so you will probably lose money initially, but this happens in all casino games.  

So, try it for once, and the rest is your preference. Learn and follow the basic and simple 3 Card Poker strategy to remain in the game and increase your chances of winning big.  

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