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Three Card Poker Review

Screen shots of the games

Overview

Three Card Poker is a casino poker game (that means it’s played against the casino rather than the other players at the table) that has proved so popular that it’s become a mainstay of casinos both off and online. This game often comes under many different names such as Poker Three, Trey Card Poker and Casino Brag, but the basic concept is always the same.

There are two different bets available in Three Card Poker; the Ante/Play bet and the Pair Plus bet.

We’ll look at the Ante/Play bet first. To begin with the player places an Ante bet after which the dealer is dealt three cards face down and the player is dealt 3 cards which they are allowed to look at. The player then has two options, either to fold the hand hence losing their Ante bet or to Play. If the player wishes to Play they must put out a second bet equal to the first.

When the player choses to Play, both the dealer and the player reveal their hands and the results are decided as follows. If the dealer has less than Queen high (no straights or flushes and the top card is less than a Queen) then the dealer does not ‘qualify’ and the player’s Ante bet is paid at 1:1 while their Play bet is returned. If the dealer had Queen high or better then the dealer ‘qualifies’ and the player and dealer’s hands are compared, with the better hand winning. If the player’s hand loses, they lose both the Ante and Play bets. If the players hand wins both the Ante and the Play bet are paid at 1:1.

Additionally, if the player’s hand is a Straight, Three of a Kind or a Straight Flush there is a bonus payment made on the Ante wager which is listed in the table below;

  • Straight Flush 5:1
  • Three of a Kind 4:1
  • Straight 1:1

The above paytable is the used by most casinos, however there are both better and worse paytables out there, so keep your eyes open, shop around and find the best game for you!

The other bet on a Three Card Poker table is the Pair Plus bet. For the Pair Plus bet, the dealers hand is of no consequence. The bet is decided solely on the composition of the player’s hand. The bet only pays out if the player has been dealt a pair or better. If that happens, the player’s Pair Plus bet is paid according to the following paytable;

  • Straight Flush 40:1
  • Three of a Kind 30:1
  • Straight 6:1
  • Flush 4:1
  • Pair 1:1

Again this in the most common paytable and there are many variants available, so shop around and find the casino offering the best game.

There are several things to consider when thinking about the best strategy for Three Card Poker. Firstly the Pair Plus bet – there is no strategy to this bet, you get dealt three cards, if you win you win. No decisions involved. But remember while it offers the far higher payout for the rarer hands, it will cost more in the long run to play Pair Plus than the Ante/Play bet when using the right strategy. It’s always gutting to hit a Straight Flush and not have this bet out, but while the house always has an edge over the player, the house’s edge for Pair Plus is larger than Ante/Play bet which is larger than some other casino games like Blackjack or Craps.

For the Ante/Play bet, the best strategy is to only place a Play bet if your hand is an unsuited Q64 or better. So for example, you would place a Play bet if you had Q64 or Q72 but would not play the Play bet if your hand was Q63 or Q54. This strategy will give the house the lowest possible advantage over you.

To learn more about 3 Card Poker see our sister site – Three Card Poker.

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