Three-card poker is a popular table game in many casinos where gamblers play with the dealer. Even if you see multiple players on the same table at the same time, don't let this fool you. They are just playing their cards against the dealer's hand and never against each other.

Assuming you take a hand at a specific value, three card poker can have sizable payouts. This is also a very simple game to play. If you want to try this table game for free, you can refer to three card poker free play. 

In case you want to try other card games, you can refer to free online blackjack to add some seasoning to your experience.

How To Play 3 Card Poker

For starters, gamblers place a bet first or a pair plus bet. Three cards are then dealt with each gambler and the dealer. It should be noted that you are only playing with the dealer, not the other players at the table.

The gamblers will then look at their hand and determine whether the play bet is to place their hand against the dealer's hand. The optimal strategy states that the player should "play" all the bigger hands than Queen, Six, and Four and fold all worse hands.

If the player folds, the hand is over and the dealer will collect the first bet and pair it with the stake. If the gamblers place a bet, the cards will be turned over to determine if they have a better hand than the dealer.


If the dealer has a Jack-high or worse hand, the stakes will be returned to the bettors. If the dealer has a high or higher Queen hand, both the stakes are paid out 1 to 1 if the bettors have a better hand than the dealer.

If the dealer's hand is higher, both the previous bet and the play bet are returned. Combination bets are determined independently of what the dealer has.

Payouts of Tri Card Poker

While payouts can vary between casinos, the standard 3-Card Poker Odds are used for "Pair Plus" wagering payouts commonly used in the US, along with select payout variations:

  • Pair: 1 to 1;
  • Flush: 3 to 1 (or 4 to 1);
  • Straight: 6 to 1 (or 5 to 1);
  • Three of a-Kind: 30 to 1 (or 25 to 1);
  • Straight flush: 40 to 1.

In addition to Pair Plus, casinos also often offer Ante Bonus payouts, if the player takes one of the strongest hands. These payouts do not require additional wagering like Pair Plus wagering.

Payouts for the Ante Bonus may look like this, but are subject to different payment structures:

  • Straight: 1 to 1;
  • Three of a-Kind: 4 to 1 (or 2 to 1 or 3 to 1);
  • Straight discharge: 5 to 1 (or 3 to 1 or 4 to 1).

Stake Amount

The minimum and maximum bet sizes are 3 Poker Tables. However, if the table is at least $5, then "playing" a hand will cost $10 in total: $5 on the previous bet and $ 5 on the play bet if the gamblers decide to hold and against their hand with the dealer. 

The chips played first must always have the same number value when played. However, both may differ from the amounts used for the Pair Plus bet.

Pair Plus wagers must still be within the table minimum and maximum stakes.

The Strategy of the Game

The optimal strategy for 3 Card Poker indicates that gamblers should generally play all hands with a Q-6-4 value or higher and fold everything else.

This table game will always give the dealer a small house edge of around 2% over the long run. However, the house edge for the Pair Plus and Ante Bonuses will vary from place to place depending on the payouts.

In general, casinos in the US will give the house edge a 7.28% advantage over this portion of the game, while in Europe will only give the dealer a 2.7% advantage.

Published: 05 January 2021 09:40