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Jack Comerford

Welcome to the exciting world of Three Card Poker – a game that blends simplicity with fast-paced fun, making it a favorite among casino enthusiasts and beginners alike.

Whether you’re sitting down at a casino table for the first time or just looking to brush up on your skills, this guide is your ticket to understanding and enjoying one of the most straightforward yet thrilling poker variations out there.

So, shuffle up and get ready as we dive into the basics of Three Card Poker, where quick thinking and a bit of strategy could have you laughing all the way to the bank!

Understanding the Basics

Three Card Poker is a popular live and Bitcoin casino card game that is easy to learn. It is played with a standard 52-card deck, and the main goal is to have a better three-card hand than the dealer.

Unlike traditional poker, Three Card Poker is played against the dealer rather than other players, simplifying the game and making it more approachable for beginners.

The game begins with each player making an ante wager. Players then receive three cards each, as does the dealer, but the dealer’s cards are dealt face down.

The Rules of Three-Card Poker

The game starts with players placing their ante bet. They can also choose to place a ‘Pair Plus’ bet, which is a wager on whether their hand will be a pair or better. After viewing their cards, players decide whether to fold, forfeit their ante, or ‘play’ by placing another bet equal to their ante.

The dealer then reveals their cards. To qualify, the dealer must have a queen high or better. If the dealer doesn’t qualify, players win even money on their ante bet, and the play bet is returned.

If the dealer qualifies, the player’s hand is compared to the dealer’s. Winning hands are paid according to a predetermined paytable.

  1. Deck Composition: The game is played with a standard 52-card deck.
  2. Betting: Players start by making an ante bet. They can also place a ‘Pair Plus’ bet if they choose.
  3. Dealing: Each player and the dealer receive three cards.
  4. Player’s Decision: After seeing their cards, players decide to either fold (losing the ante) or continue by making a play bet equal to the ante.
  5. Dealer’s Qualification: The dealer must have a queen high or better to qualify.
  6. Comparing Hands: If the dealer does not qualify, the ante bet is paid out. If the dealer qualifies, hands are compared to determine the winner.
  7. Payouts: Winning player hands are paid based on a paytable for both ante and Pair Plus bets.
  8. Hand Rankings: The hand rankings are similar to traditional poker but with three cards (e.g., straight flush, three of a kind, straight, flush, pair, high card).
  9. No Player Competition: Players are only competing against the dealer, not each other.
  10. Strategy: The basic strategy involves playing with a hand queen-six-four or better and folding otherwise.

Playing the Game

How to play three card poker is quite straightforward. The basics of the poker came has been outlined below.

Initial Decision Making

After receiving their cards, each player evaluates their hand. This moment is crucial as players must decide whether to fold or continue. Folding results in the loss of the ante and any Pair Plus bet. If they choose to play, they must make an additional bet, equal to the ante, signaling their confidence in their hand’s strength.

Hand Assessment and Strategy

The key strategy here is assessing the hand’s potential. A common guideline is to continue with a hand that holds a Queen, Six, Four, or better. This decision requires understanding hand rankings and gauging the likelihood of the hand beating the dealer’s.

Dealer’s Hand and Qualification

After players have made their decisions, the dealer reveals their hand. For the game to proceed, the dealer’s hand must qualify, which requires at least a Queen high. If the dealer’s hand doesn’t qualify, players win their ante bets, and the play bets are returned.

Comparison and Outcome

If the dealer qualifies, each player’s hand is compared with the dealer’s. Winners are determined based on traditional poker hand rankings. This stage highlights the importance of the initial decision and the strategy involved in assessing hand strength.

Through these phases, Three Card Poker combines elements of luck and strategy, creating an engaging and dynamic gaming experience.

Winning Hands and Payouts

In Three Card Poker, understanding the ranking of hands and their corresponding payouts is crucial. The game uses standard poker hand rankings but is adjusted for three-card hands. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Straight Flush: Three consecutive cards of the same suit. This is the highest-ranking hand with a significant payout.
  • Three of a Kind: Three cards of the same rank. This hand offers a high payout due to its rarity.
  • Straight: Three consecutive cards of different suits.
  • Flush: Three cards of the same suit, not in sequence.
  • Pair: Two cards of the same rank.
  • High Card: If none of the above hands are formed, the highest card plays.

The payouts vary for the ante and Pair Plus bets. Typically, the ante bonus pays extra for high-ranking hands like a straight flush or three of a kind, regardless of the dealer’s hand. The Pair Plus bet pays based on the player’s hand value, starting from a pair to a straight flush.

Players should familiarize themselves with the specific payout tables at their playing venue, as these can vary. Understanding these rankings and payouts helps in making informed decisions during gameplay.

Advanced Strategies

Advanced strategies in Three Card Poker focus on optimizing play based on hand evaluation and odds. A key strategy is the Q-6-4 guideline, where players should play any hand that is better than Queen-Six-Four and folds otherwise.

This is based on the probability of making a hand that will beat the dealer. Also, understanding the odds of different hand types can guide betting decisions, especially for the Pair Plus bet.

Players should be aware of the house edge and manage their bankroll accordingly, knowing when to bet aggressively and when to be more conservative. Advanced play in Three Card Poker involves a balance between strategic betting, hand evaluation, and risk management.

Side Bets and Bonuses

In Three Card Poker, side bets and bonuses add an extra dimension to the game. The most common side bet is the Pair Plus, which is independent of the dealer’s hand and pays out based on the player’s hand alone.

This bet offers higher payouts for better hands, such as a straight flush or three-of-a-kind. Some casinos may offer additional side bets or bonuses, like the 6-Card Bonus, which combines the player’s and dealer’s cards to make the best five-card poker hand.

These side bets usually have higher house edges but can offer significant payouts for rare hand combinations. Players should approach these bets cautiously, balancing the potential for high payouts against the increased risk.


Alright, let’s wrap this up! Three Card Poker is all about mixing the thrill of poker with a simple, fast-paced game perfect for any casino venue or if you are playing in a Bitcoin Baccarat online casino.

We’ve gone through the nuts and bolts of the game, from the basics to those sneaky strategies and side bets. Just remember, whether you’re just starting or you’re the seasoned pro at the table, Three Card Poker is a blend of smart plays and a bit of luck.

So keep your wits about you, have fun with it, and always play smart and responsible. Here’s to enjoying the game and maybe hitting it big! 🎉🃏

Jack Comerford

Jack is a junior content writer for Bitcoin Casinos since March 2023. He has previously published local sports stories for the Shildon Town Crier, where he is based and studied Journalism. Jack's main hobby is football, being a massive fan of Newcastle United.