What Is 3 Card Poker And How To Play It Online?



3-card poker is similar to regular poker in the hand-ranking system. However, with 3 cards, poker players play against the house or the dealer. The players may sit at the same table and play simultaneously, just like with other poker games. It has become a popular casino game, especially with its presence online.

You can easily earn real money playing 3 card poker online. The game is simple to learn and requires only a few strategies to win. You need to make the best poker hand using 3 cards only. Due to the gam’e  availability online, you can play from the comfort of your home. If you haven’t played 3 card poker before, here’s how to play.

Let’s dive right in!

The Basics

Whether you play 3 card poker online or in a land casino, the rules and requirements are the same. The game requires a 52-card deck and betting chips. The machine shuffles the cards to enhance speed.

The objective in this game is to make the best poker hand using three cards. Unlike other casino card games, you don’t get extra cards. Instead, you only use the cards you get in the first instance. Then, depending on your preference, you make a pair or/and a higher ranking card than the dealer.

Card Rankings

Winning in 3-card poker depends on the quality of hand you make. Understanding the rankings is important to ensure you can make the best hand possible. Here is the list of the hands from the highest to the lowest.

  • Straight flush includes 3 cards of consecutive value and the same suit, e.g., Kc-Qc-Jc.
  • 3 of a kind is a set of three cards with the same value, e.g., 8-8-8
  • Straight is a set of 3 cards with consecutive values, e.g., 6-7-8
  • Flush includes three cards of the same suit, e.g., Ad-9d-3d
  • Pair involves two cards of the same value and one other.
  • A high card is a set of three cards from different ranks and suits, e.g., Qc-6s-4d, and the highest value card is the hand’s value.

You should understand that a high card (A-X-X) will beat a K-X-X, although the value of the K-X-X is higher. Additionally, if two players have hands of the same ranking (a pair), the hand of the higher value wins. For instance, A-A-2 beats 2-2-A.

How to Play

3 card poker has two betting options.

  1. Ante – You make this bet when playing against the dealer by making the best poker hand.
  2. Pair plus– This bet aims at making a hand of a pair or better. The dealer’s hand doesn’t determine this bet.

You must place the ante bet in some casinos, while the pair plus is optional. In others, you can place either the ante or pair plus bet.

After you place your bet, the dealer deals the cards face down to all the players and himself. Sometimes you might be the only player, especially when playing online.

When you get the cards, you can decide to play your hand or discard (fold) it.

If you discard the hand, the dealer takes your ante and pair plus bets. If you decide to keep playing, you must forward a play bet that equals the amount of the ante bet. Finally, you place the poker hand face down on a place marked play to indicate that you want to play.

After, you must reveal your poker hand to determine whether it’s better than the dealer’s hand.

Possible outcomes

  1. You get back the play bet if the dealer’s hand is J high or worse.
  2. If the dealer’s hand is Q high or better, you get back the play and ante bets at 1 to 1 if your hand is better than the dealer’s.
  3. However, if the dealer’s hand is better than yours, you lose both bets. The pair plus bet isn’t dependent on the dealer’s hand. If you don’t make a pair or better, you lose the pair plus bet, but you are paid on corresponding payouts if you make a pair or better.

High Hand Payouts

The payouts n pair plus bets differ from one casino to another. Here’s a general representation.

  • Pair: 1 to 1
  • Flush: 3 to 1 (or 4 to 1)
  • Straight: 6 to 1 (or 5 to 1)
  • 3-of-a-Kind: 30 to 1 (or 25 to 1)
  • Straight Flush: 40 to 1

Casinos such as PlaySQR offer ante bet bonus for players with the strongest hand. The best part is you don’t have to make another bet, such as the pair plus bet.

Payouts for the ante bets are also dependent on different betting sites but are usually as follows:

  • Straight: 1 to 1
  • 3-of-a-Kind: 4 to 1 (or 2 to 1 or 3 to 1)
  • Straight Flush: 5 to 1 (or 3 to 1 or 4 to 1)

3-Card Poker Rules

Unlike other casino games 3 card poker has only a few rules, including

  1. There are maximum and minimum bet values. E.g., if the minimum is $10, you must deposit $20, $10 for the ante bet, and $10 for the play bet.
  2. Players must use the same chips’ value for the ante and play wagers.
  3. Pair plus bet must be within maximum and minimum table values.

Tips and Strategies

  1. The only strategy for 3-card poker is to play hands greater than Q-6-4 or better and discard all the others.
  2. Look out for jackpots on your online betting site, especially when you get rare card combinations.
  3.  Also, many casinos have bonuses for certain hands. Be sure to identify as you play.


Playing 3 card poker is easy and fun. You can play it online and earn real money. The game’s objective is to make the best hand against the dealer. Therefore, ensure you understand the card combinations and rankings to determine when to fold or play. If you’re a beginner, you can start by playing with family and friends until you understand how the game works. Although the rules and payouts are generally the same, check with your online casino for variations to avoid confusion.

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