Three Card Poker is one of the greatest stories of player driven success in the gaming industry. It is relatively new and is based on the centuries-old, traditional and extremely popular card game, Poker, as are other casino games like Caribbean Stud Poker and Casino Hold’em. Almost everyone has played Poker at least once in their lives, which would make themselves familiar with the ranking of various hands. Although, Three Card plays at a much faster pace, chiefly due to the time involved in shuffling and dealing which is almost instant online. Not to mention that players don’t play against one another in this variant of Poker so there’s no waiting, deliberating and bluffing. In fact, the simple play style and easy bankroll control mean the game has picked up quite a following and is loved by many players, whilst the relatively non-volatile house edge leads the casinos to love it just as much. As a percentage of the table games market, Three Card Poker, though it was initially hard to establish, is now amongst the most played games on any casino floor, with over 1600 casinos in the US alone offering the game. The ease of learning the game, the potential high payouts and the wide areas of accessibility have allowed this game to prove just as popular online as it is in traditional bricks and mortar casinos.
Why play Three Card Poker?
Three Card Poker, sometimes known as Poker Three, Trey Poker, or Tri Card Poker, was created back in 1994 by British Poker player Derek Webb who wanted to create a game which used the excitement of Poker, but with the added speed of more traditional casino table games such as Blackjack, Craps or Roulette. The game was introduced to British casinos by Webb where it was successful. Soon after, it reached the US and eventually went around the world. Three Card Poker is the American version of the British game, Brag. This game originated over three hundred years ago from a game known as Primero, a fast-moving betting game using only three cards. As the game evolved, it became known as Post-and-Pair, as the betting rounds became the focal point of the game and wild cards called braggers were brought in, so then it changed once again to be called Brag. This game made it to the States as Casino Brag and Brit-Brag, but eventually evolved again into the game we now know as Three Card Poker.
Before you go ahead and register at one of our recommended casinos, you can get a taste of the game right here for free; no sign-up, registration, download or deposit is required. Three Card Poker is a two-in-one game consisting of the Pair Plus game and Ante-Play game. In the former, the player is in a one on one game against the dealer to see who has the highest Poker hand, and in the latter, the player bets on whether he/she will receive a winning Poker hand of a pair or better. The house advantage of the Pair Plus game is 2.32% and if played properly, the house advantage on the Ante-Play game can be as low as 2.02%. It is played with one standard 52 card deck which is shuffled for every hand and bets are placed in two ways before the deal; first you can bet on getting a pair or better, and second, you can play an Ante bet against the dealer for the biggest hand (this isn’t optional in all forms of the game, it can be compulsory in some casinos so it’s worth flicking at the individual game rules for whichever vendor you’re playing at). The dealer gives out three cards face down to each player, including himself, however, only he isn’t allowed to look at his cards at this stage. Note that once the cards are dealt the Pair Plus game is resolved, yet, you still have the option to place a play bet on the Ante game if you feel the hand holds up, or, you can fold. If you fold, you forfeit your Ante bet. If you raise, an additional Play bet must be made, equal to the Ante. Next, the dealer’s cards are revealed. In order to qualify, a Queen high or better is required. The basic strategy of the game is pretty simple, if you hold a hand of Q-6-4 or higher – play, if you hold a lower hand – fold, though some players advocate playing queen high no matter what the other cards are.
The following outcomes are possible:
What’s great about Three Card Poker is the fact that the Ante bet carries a bonus payout for certain hands which doesn’t require an additional bet. This means that any player holding a straight, three of a kind, or straight flush will receive a bonus, regardless whether their hand beats the dealer or not. This will see you into some serious genuine winnings.
The game is based on stud Poker, although, seeing as a hand consists of three cards, the ranking hands and the odds on those hands differ slightly. Due to this, straights are rarer than flushes and thus outrank them, whereas, this is the other way around in five-card games. Furthermore, you cannot win with a full house or four of a kind in this variant of Poker. Below is a list of all the possible winning hands and how often they may appear in a pack.
Straight Flush is a sequence of three numbers in the same suit, for example, J-10-9 all in diamonds. The total number of straight flushes in a deck of cards is 48.
Three of a Kind consists of three same value cards from different suits, for example, 5-5-5. There are 52 potential three-of-a-kinds in a deck.
Straight is made up of a sequence of numbers from different suits, for example, J-10-9. There are 720 possible straights to make.
Flush is formed using three random cards in the same suit, for example, Q-7-4 of clubs. There are 1096 flush combinations to make.
Pair is a hand consisting of two cards of the same rank, for example, 3-3-9. There are a possible 3744 pair combinations.
High Card includes one of the face cards, Ace, King, Queen or Jack, with two other random cards, for example, A-4-2.
With regards to the Pair Plus bet, the good news is that you don’t need to beat the dealer to win this bet. Any hand containing a pair or higher will do the trick (that’s, in fact, where it gets its name from). Make sure to check the odds as Pair Plus pay-tables vary from casino to casino.
Straight Flush pays 40 to 1. The house edge on this hand is 5.39%.
Three of a Kind pays 30 to 1 with a 7.10% house edge.
Straight pays 6 to 1 with a house edge of 7.28%.
Flush pays 3 to 1 and the house edge is 5.57%.
Pair pays 1 to 1 (even money) with a house edge of 4.58%.
By this point, your mind should be whizzing with probabilities, odds and hand combinations! Before you immediately hit the free game on this page, you should take a look at the following advice which may help you beat the casino in this exhilarating variant of Poker!
Ultimate Three Card Poker: This version of the game also goes by the name Face Up. It has the same rules as the original game, however, with a couple of differences. First of all, the dealer only exposes one of his cards rather than all three in each head to head game. Further differences lie in the betting process. In a game of Ultimate, you need to make an extra blind wager that’s the same value as your Ante. You can also make a Pair Plus bet at the same time. Furthermore, if you get a pair, you can make an additional bet triple the Ante, seeing as you can only see one of the dealer’s three cards. You can double your bet on anything lower than a pair. You win the blind bet as long as your hand is higher than the dealer’s and lose if your hand is lower. It’s considered a push if your hand is lower than a flush. The optimal strategy in this game is to fold any hand lower than a J-7-4. Also, you shouldn’t make the triple bet with less than a pair in hand.
Teen Patti: Is the Indian version of the game (also known as Teen Pathi or Flash) which took the streets of India by storm. It has some differences from the original, them being, that the ranking of a straight flush and three of a kind are interchanged, and the high card and none (or nothing hand) are joined together. The prime difference between Teen Patti and Three Card Poker is that Teen Patti is played against other players rather than the dealer. This variant of the gambling game is best played between four and seven players and includes betting and bluffing, as is the norm in classic Poker. It’s not unlikely that you’ll be able to find this version of the game online as it’s become highly popular in Indian and other Asian regions.
Three Card 21 ‘n’ Done: This is a new variation of the game that has only been introduced to Nevada casinos of late (you never know, it might be available online in the near future). The game is a combination of Blackjack and Three Card, which is guaranteed to please a broad spectrum of people. It pays well on strong hands of three cards, however, if you are dealt a not-so-strong hand of which its total value exceeds 21, you can split it into three separate hands. The game begins with each player placing two bets; one for the three-card hand and the second for the 21 bonus game. Three cards are then issued to each player. The payouts for the 21 bonus are as follows:
21 Total: 1 to 1 (even money)
Pair: 1 to 1
Flush: 3 to 2
Straight: 2 to 1
Trips: 5 to 1
Straight Flush: 15 to 1
3 Card Royal: 50 to 1
3 Card Royal in Diamonds: 200 to 1
Three Card Poker is available all around the globe if gambling is legal in your jurisdiction (and in many cases even when it isn’t) you should be able to find somewhere to play this game. With the massive array of table games finding their way into the online casino environment, it’s no surprise to see the game available at the best online casinos now also. Given that, unlike slots, table games can be broadcast, Three Card Poker can also be played at many live dealer casinos online, combining the comfort of playing from home with the real casino experience. Be sure to have a look at one of our trusted casinos listed at the top of the page, surely one of them will have the type of play you desire.
The basic strategy for the Ante-Play combination is to bet whenever you have Q-6-4 or better (although an even simpler strategy of playing Queens or higher will yield similar results). This means you should consider playing the following hands and folding all others:
Remember that patience is a virtue, and you might have to wait for these hands to come your way, so be prepared to fold those weaker hands. This optimal strategy brings the house edge down from 7.65% to 3.37%.
Progressive jackpots come in all shapes and sizes in this variation of Poker. Some casinos offer a small bonus on the Pair Plus wager which can pay out as much as 50 to 1 on a single suited Q-K-A. Other casinos make good use of a progressive jackpot to make the game more enticing. This is an additional 1 credit bet you can make before your hand is dealt, which you can win if your hand turns out to be a mini royal flush in spades. There is even a progressive bonus you can win if you get a three of a kind or straight flush.
The hand payouts are as follows:
What’s great about the progressive jackpot is the Envy Bonus payoff which comes with it. When it’s won, all the other players get a cut too. They receive approximately 25 credits for any royal flush and 100 credits for one landed in spades.