This table game has become one of the favorites in today’s modern casino. It’s second in popularity only to blackjack. Why? It’s easy to play, is a lot of fun, and is one of the least intimidating table games. So, here is The Beginner Guide to 3 Card Poker.
Important Points About 3 Card Poker
- This is a fast-paced game.
- The strategy is simple for the Ante portion of Three Card Poker. You should fold if you have a hand lower than Queen – 6 -4, and you should continue and make the Play bet if your hand is higher. Yup, that’s all!
- The hand rankings are not the same as the other poker games. The poker hands, made up of three cards only, have a slightly different hierarchy. The main difference is the juxtaposition of the flush and straight.
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The Overview of Play
Play & Ante – Starting the Hand in 3-Card Poker
The game uses a single deck of 52 cards. Our Beginner Guide first highlights the beginning of the game.
- Each player who has placed an ante bet receives three cards.
- Then, the dealer gives himself three cards.
- After viewing his three cards, the player decides to either make a play bet, amount equal to the ante bet, or
- fold, losing the ante bet.
Dealer’s Hand – Qualifying or Not
The dealer reveals his hand after the play/ante. Then there is a showdown that depends on the dealer’s hand “qualifying.” The dealer’s hand qualifies when it has Queen high or better. In this case:
- If the player’s hand beats the dealer’s hand, the ante bet and play bet are paid even money.
- When the dealer qualifies and ties the player, the player pushes: both bets are returned.
- If the player’s hand is worse than the dealer’s hand, the ante and play bet are lost.
When the dealer does not have Queen high or better and does not qualify, the ante bet is paid even money, and the play bet is returned.
An additional bonus is also paid on the ante bet irrespective of the dealer’s hand or outcome of the hand if the player holds a strong hand:
- Even money for a straight
- 4 to 1 for three of a kind
- 5 to 1 for a straight flush
Side Bets – The Beginner Guide to 3 Card Poker
Pair Plus Payout
The Pair Plus wager is based on whether or not you will be dealt a pair or better. The result of a Pair Plus® bet depends only on the three cards dealt with the player – the dealer’s cards are irrelevant. The Pair Plus® bet is lost if the player does not hold a pair or better. Winning hands are paid as follows:
- Even money for a pair
- 4 to 1 for a flush
- 6 to 1 for a straight
- 30 to 1 for three of a kind
- 40 to 1 for a straight flush
You can bet on either of the games in most casinos, but some casinos require you to make an Ante bet when wagering the Pair Plus.
3-Card Poker – 6 card bonus
The 6 Card Bonus wager considers the three cards dealt with the player’s hand and the three cards dealt. A player then uses any of those six cards, regardless of the number of cards used from their hand or the hand, to make the best possible five-card poker hand. The rules for the 6 card bonus are as follows:
A player places a 6 Card Bonus wager with an Ante wager before the initial deal. The player is paid according to the posted pay if the player’s hand qualifies for payouts; this side bet 6 Card Bonus may win or lose regardless of the Ante wager’s outcome.
Winning 6 Card Bonus wagers usually pay as follows:
Summary – The Beginner Guide to 3 Card Poker
For those poker players and enthusiasts searching for something new but still want the same exciting aspects and elements of the poker game, why not try three-card poker? The lowest limits in most casinos are $5 ($10 for both ante bets).
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The Author – Robin T. Aubin (AKA Binbin), has been a guest on TravelZork’s ZorkCast with Michael Trager, Cousin Vito’s Casino Podcast, The Art in the Game Podcast, and The Bettor Life Podcast. Robin also writes posts and articles about New England casinos for TravelZork.