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How to Play Three Card Poker

Three Card Poker is an interesting casino game where players are dealt three cards and try to make the best poker hand possible. The best hand is a royal flush and the worst hand is having absolutely nothing. Playing Three Card Poker is sort of like playing two different games at once, as there are two different styles in which to bet, and players can bet in one or both of them.

Pair Plus (aka Pairplus)

Three Card Poker also offers a Pairplus style of betting, which is extremely simple. A player makes a bet, and is then dealt three cards. The player gets paid according to the strength of the three card poker hand, with a pair being the minimum hand required for payout. Here is a sample payout table for pairplus.

Qualifying Hand Payout
Straight Flush 40 to 1
Three of a Kind 30 to 1
Straight 6 to 1
Flush 4 to 1
Pair 1 to 1

Three Card Poker Ante and Play

The other style of betting in Three Card Poker is known as Ante and Play. This bet is made against the dealer, who must have at least queen high to qualify against the player. The player will make an ante bet before receiving any cards. After looking at the cards, a player can raise with the play bet, which must be equal to the ante bet. The other option for the three card poker player here is to fold. The player will lose their ante bet and their pairplus bet, if one was made. Losing the pairplus bet is inconsequential, however, due to the fact that if the pairplus bet paid anything, folding would be idiotic as a player would have a good chance to beat the dealer. There are four possible results if the player doesn’t fold:

  1. If the three card poker dealer’s hand does not qualify, then the player wins even money on the ante bet and takes back the play bet.
  2. If the dealer qualifies and the player wins, the player will receive even money for both the play and the ante bet.
  3. If the dealer qualifies and beats the player’s hand, the player will lose both bets.
  4. The dealer could qualify and tie with the player. In some casinos, the player takes back the bets, while in other casinos, the player wins all ties.

Three Card Poker Bonus

In addition to all of the above three card poker payouts, there is also a bonus that applies only to the ante bet. This extra bonus will payout on the ante bet if the player has an extremely powerful hand, which could be a straight, a three of a kind, or a straight flush. The dealer’s hand is irrelevant when determining a bonus. For instance, a player could have a straight and be beat by a dealer three of a kind, but the player would still collect on the ante bonus. Here is a sample Ante Bonus payout table.

Qualifying Hand Payout
Straight Flush 5 to 1
Three of a Kind 4 to 1
Straight 1 to 1

Three Card Poker Strategy

As pairplus is simply get dealt cards and get paid out, there is no strategy for that section. The basic Ante and Play three card poker strategy is to make the play bet with queen high or better, as this is the dealer’s minimum qualifying hand. However, many experienced three card poker players won’t raise with just queen high, but will rather require at least one other card of at least middle value, such as 6, 7, or 8. This is because this will give them better odds to beat the dealer if the dealer just barely qualified with queen high, as then the determining card would be the next highest card for both the player and the dealer.

Online Three Card Poker

Now that you’ve learned how to play three card poker, you might be interested to find out where you can play three card poker online. Lucky for you we have a list of online casinos that have three card poker. After you’re done perfecting your new skill, try and play for real money. If you are interested in poker and playing poker for real money, then go check out our highly recommended poker rooms with top security, reputation, and quality games.

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