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How to play three card poker: Rules, strategy, and odds

Profile Picture: Simon Young

Simon Young

February 10th, 2022

Fancy experiencing the fun of playing poker without worrying about the table sharks gobbling up all your money? Then casino three card poker is the game for you. In this more relaxing variant of poker, you get to play against the dealer.

TwinSpires Casino has a selection of games to try, and learning how to play three card poker is simple. Let’s give you a run-through of the rules so that you can get started.

3 Card Poker Rules

You might be seated at an online table with other poker players, but just like in blackjack, you’re all trying to beat the dealer, not each other. To begin each round, all players must place an ante bet.

Everyone then gets three cards face up – except the dealer, whose cards remain face down. The aim of the game is to make the best possible three card poker hand based on poker hand rankings. If you think you have a terrible hand that’s unlikely to win when the dealer’s cards are revealed, you can fold and wait for the next round. You lose your ante bet.

But if you think you’re in good shape, then you can play by adding a "Play" bet that matches the size of your ante bet.

When you and the other players have made their decisions in turn, the dealer’s cards are flipped, and their cards are compared to all player’s hands.

Three Card Poker Hand Rankings

The hand rankings for three cards differ slightly from traditional five-card rankings, with flushes, in particular, deemed lower value. Here’s the order:

  • Mini Royal (Ace, King, Queen suited)
  • Straight flush (running numbers of the same suit)
  • Three of a Kind
  • Straight
  • Flush
  • Pair
  • High Card

If the dealer has worse than a queen high, all players remaining in the hand win, whatever they hold. Here’s what happens in other circumstances:

ResultAntePlay
Dealer does not qualify, and you win
1:1
Push
Dealer qualifies, and you win
1:1
1:1
Dealer qualifies, and you lose
Lose
Lose
Dealer qualifies, and you tie
Push
Push
Player folds
Lose
-

The payouts above are fairly flat so that, much like in blackjack, your swings won’t be too wild. But you can win a bonus amount by landing a good hand. 3 card poker odds payout well in these circumstances, paying an additional ante bonus – even if the dealer beats your hand:

  • Straight Flush or higher 5:1
  • Three of a Kind 4:1
  • Straight 1:1
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Three card poker side bets

3 card poker rules are simple, making the game fun to play. Some players like to mix things up a little by playing some additional side bets.

Pair Plus

Make one of these hands with your three cards:

  • Mini Royal 100:1
  • Straight Flush 40:1
  • Three of a Kind 30:1
  • Straight 5:1
  • Flush 4:1
  • Pair 1:1

6 Card Bonus

Make one of these five-card poker hands using any of your three and the dealer’s three cards:

  • Royal Flush 1000:1
  • Straight Flush 200:1
  • Four of a Kind: 100:1
  • Full House 20:1
  • Flush 15:1
  • Straight 10:1
  • Three of a Kind 7:1

3 Card Poker Strategy

There is no real strategy to how to win at 3 card poker. Once you understand the poker rankings, it’s simply a question of, as Kenny Rogers famously sang, knowing when to hold ‘em, or when to fold ‘em.

Ready to give this cool game a go? You’ll need to register your account at TwinSpires Casino and be sure to claim the welcome bonus. Then fund your account and head to the casino platform.

You will find regular 3 card poker games using animated tables and a real number generator to deploy the cards. Plus, look out for the brilliant live dealer casino games, where you can interact and have fun with a real dealer. Good luck!

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