If you’re looking to learn how to play 3 Card Poker or to play it more optimally, you’re in the right place. We’ll break down what 3 Card Poker is, how to play, and why it’s one of the best casino games to pick up. 3 Card Poker is a simple poker variation where you only get dealt three cards in total and play against the house. It’s really easy to learn, so makes a great game for beginners.
How To Play 3 Card Poker
Once you have taken your seat at a 3 Card Poker table, whether at an online or land-based casino, you’ll be asked to make your first bet. The Ante bet box will be sitting empty in front of you, and you will be asked to place some chips there. You’ll be able to place any bet within the table stakes, between a minimum and maximum bet.
Once you’ve placed your Ante and other players at the table have done the same, the dealer will deal everyone three cards, including themselves. The three cards are the only ones you will be getting in 3 Card Poker, making it a very simple variation of poker. Once you have your three cards, your only decision will be whether to keep them by placing the Play bet or to discard them right away.
In truth, you will want to keep going with most hands in 3 Card Poker, but more on this a bit later in the strategy section. If you do decide to place a play bet, you will have to match your Ante bet in full, thus doubling your total bet. You should be ready to bet the whole amount when starting a hand, as this is the only way you will get to showdown.
Once all the bets are placed, and players who don’t wish to proceed have discarded their cards, the hand goes to showdown. The dealer turns over their cards, and every player’s hand is compared to the dealer’s. Winning hands are paid double money on their Ante bet, and double money on the Play bet if the dealer has at least a Queen high hand.
3 Card Poker Rules
The rules of 3 Card Poker couldn’t be simpler. You only have two options to choose from after being dealt cards: Play and Fold. You will forfeit your cards and your Ante bet if you decide to fold. You won’t be able to win the hand, even if the dealer has a very weak hand.
If you decide to place the Play bet, you will stay in the hand until the very end, when your cards will be compared to the dealer’s holdings. Keep in mind that there is no drawing or discarding in 3 Card Poker, and you will only have the three cards you get dealt at your disposal, so make your decisions based on these.
When it comes to comparing hands in 3 Card Poker, it’s clear that some hands, such as full houses and four of a kind, don’t exist in this variation of the game.
Hand rankings in 3 Card Poker are as follows:
- Royal Flush
- Straight Flush
- Three of a Kind
- One Pair
- High Card
Of course, you won’t be able to make real straights and flushes with just three cards, but three cards in a row will count as a straight, three cards of the same suit will count as a flush, etc. This simple hand ranking should be easy enough to understand for anyone who has ever played poker, and at the end of the day, the dealer will tell you if you have won or lost anyway.
With that said, I have covered all the rules of the game you need to know about, so it’s time to talk about payouts and special bets in 3 Card Poker.