If you’re trying to find a game to play at the casino, one game is a lot easier than most people think: 3 card poker. There are many different types of poker, but three card poker only requires you to learn a simple strategy to learn.
Skills play a role in hand selection, and while you still need to rely on luck, hand selection can tip the odds in your favor.
The game plays at a slow pace, so you’ll be able to take your time and strategize during the game. What’s interesting is that the game was created in 1994, so it’s a fairly new game and is the most played version of poker in the casino.
How to Play Three Card Poker
Three card poker rules are similar to stud poker because it’s based on the game. However, the 3 cards game is different. The game consists of three cards, which skews the hand rankings. The setup is the first thing new players will come across.
3 Card Poker Rules: The Setup
Knowing the rules gives you an upper hand and allows you to find new, fun ways to win. Learning how to play 3 card poker means understanding the equipment needed to play:
- Three-card poker logo
- Three spaces in front of the dealer
- “Pair Plus” betting spot marked by a circle
- “Ante” betting spot marked by a diamond
- “Play” spot marked by a shape of a card
You’ll find that there’s often 3-card poker rules listed on the table, too.
Three Card Poker Rules: Hand Ranking
The odds are slightly different, depending on the hand you get. Flushes are an amazing hand in regular poker, but they’re easier to get than a straight. Forget about the poker rules you know, and remember that the following hands and their rankings exist:
- Straight flush
- Three of a kind
- High card
You’ll find that three-card poker doesn’t have a full house.
Now that you understand the basics, it’s time to see how to play the game in a few easy steps.
Playing 3 Card Poker Online
Before betting, play free three card poker to learn the basics and hone your skills. Playing comes down to six main steps that anyone can learn easily. The steps are as follows:
- Start the game by placing a wager. The wager may be an ante or a pair plus. If you bet a pair plus, you’re betting that your cards will have a pair or better.
- The dealer will put three cards face down for each player. When you play 3 card poker hands, you’re only playing against the dealer. You don’t have to focus on any of the other player’s hands.
- Look at your hand and decide if you should place a wager. The wager is up to the ante amount. Placing a wager should only be done if you’re confident that your hand is better than the dealer’s hand. There’s a strategy here which we’ll outline lower in the article.
- If the player folds, the house wins. The dealer will collect all wagers from the player.
- The player wager is returned when the dealer has a Jack-high or better. The player receives a 1:1 payout if the dealer’s hand is Queen-high or better.
- If the dealer has a better hand, they will collect the ante and play bets. If a pair plus was made, the bet is determined regardless of the dealer’s hand.
You’ll learn how to play 3-card poker quickly, and there’s some strategy to the game, albeit the strategy is very easy to learn.
What Happens If There’s a Tie?
A tie is a real possibility in 3-card poker online. Ties are a part of the game, and they’re a major part that all players need to know. When you and the dealer are stuck in a tie, both the ante and play bet result in a push.
What’s a Good 3 Card Poker Strategy?
When you begin playing, you’ll notice that there are some instances that are better than others to ante up. The general rule of thumb is that you should:
- Play your hand when your hand is greater than Queen, six and four.
- Fold when for all hands that are worse than the hands listed in the last point.
The great news is that the pair plus payout is paid whether you win or not, depending on your hand. With multiple ways to win, it’s possible to win multiple payouts from a single game. The payouts, and you should check with the casino you’re playing at, are normally as follows:
- Straight flush: 40 to 1
- Three of a Kind: 30 to 1
- Straight: 6 to 1
- Flush: 3 to 1
- Pair: 1 to 1
Ante bonus payouts can be between 5 to 1 and 1 to 1. The ante bonus payout depends on the hand: straight flush (5 to 1), three of a kind (4 to 1) and straight (1 to 1).
What about combinations?
If you want to raise your 3 card poker odds, you need to know about one hand that you’ll always want to call:
If you have this hand or higher, you’ll always want to call. Otherwise, you’ll want to fold, it’s a simple strategy that you can start using to win more games. The great thing about three card poker is that it’s a relaxed game that allows you to immerse yourself at the casino without worrying about other players.
You worry about your hands and the dealer’s hand – that’s it. There’s no need to strategize against the other players playing, which is ideal for new players.
What other players do or how they bet will not impact your game at all. If you want to practice playing, you can do so online. Nearly every casino offers this form of poker. You can also give it a try at home by yourself or with others. You’ll need a dealer, some chips and a standard 52- card deck to get started.