3 card poker hands

Three Card Poker is a Californian game played with a player-dealer position. The player-dealer must collect all lost bets, pay all winning bets, and cannot win or lose more than the initial bet amount. After the player-wager dealers have been exhausted, the remaining wagers will be returned to the players who placed them. After two consecutive rounds of play, the player-dealer may only "bank" the hand (including bonus bets) once before it is offered clockwise around the table. There is no involvement by the gambling company in the actual play of the game and no interest in the outcome of the play.

Description of the Deck and Number of Decks Used

Cards used in Three Card Poker must be dealt via a single deck motorized card shuffling mechanism (referred to as a "shuffler").

Standard 52-card decks of cards are required for Three Card Poker play. The use of jokers is strictly prohibited.

Three Card Poker is played using two alternating decks of cards, each of which contains a 52-card deck with an identical back design.

  1. The backs of each deck will have various colors; this is a new feature.

  2. While the second deck is being dealt or utilized to play the game, the automatic card shuffling equipment will shuffle one deck.

  3. Cards from one deck are dealt with the discard rack at a time while the other is kept in play. This ensures that each deck gets rotated in and out of play every other round.

Card Values and Hand Rankings

Three-Card Poker Card Values: The following cards have the same value in Three-Card Poker hands: ace, king, queen, jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and all suits are treated equally in order of rank.

Three Card Poker Hand Rankings

Mini Royal Flush 

Aces, Kings, and Queens of the same suit in one hand.

Straight Flush

One with three cards of the same suit in sequential order. Straight flushes with king, queen, and jack are the most highly ranked, while ace, 2, and 3 is the least well-ranked a flush of cards.

Three of a Kind

Three cards of the same rank in a hand. Aces are the most valuable three of a kind, while 2s are the least valuable.


A hand that has three cards of the same rank, but not the same suit. The highest-ranking straights are aces, kings, and queens, while the lowest-ranking straight is aces, 2, and 3.


A hand that has three cards of the same suit, but not consecutively ranked, but that is otherwise identical. The highest ranked flush is an ace, king, and jack, while the lowest ranked flush is a 5, 3, and 2.

One Pair

A pair is a pair of cards with the same rank. Pairs with two aces and two 2s are the highest and lowest ranked, respectively.

High Card

A three-card hand that doesn't fit into any of the previous categories. The highest ranked high card hand is an ace, king, and jack, while the lowest ranked high card hand is 5, 3, and 2.

Dealing Procedures and Round of Play

  1. During a game of Three Card Poker, all bets must be made by placing chips on designated betting areas of the table layout while keeping in mind the table's minimum and maximum bet limits.

  2. There is no back-line wagering allowed in any wager.

  3. Each player will be required to make an Ante wager at the start of each round of play. After looking at their hand, each player can choose to make a Play wager, which must be equal to the Ante wager.

  4. In addition to placing the Ante wager required above, each player at a Three Card Poker table can make an additional "Pair Plus" wager that awards a bonus payout to the player(s) who receives a poker hand consisting of the combinations listed in the Bonus Bet Payout Table (s).

  5. When the Ante wagers and any bonus wagers have been placed by each player, the house dealer will begin the game. "No more bets" will be uttered by the house dealer after each player has placed their bets. After the house dealer announces, "no more bets," no Ante or Pair Plus wagers can be made, increased, or withdrawn.

How Winners are Determined and Paid

  1. Player-dealer must have a minimum of a queen-high hand in order to be eligible for this promotion.

  2. There is no action on the Play Bet, so the payout is zero. These bets will be immediately refunded to players by the casino's dealer.

  3. Each Ante, not surrendered by folding, will automatically be paid out at even money if the player-hand dealer's does not qualify.

Play Pair Plus

Bet the PAIR PLUS spot to bet on your own hand. If your hand contains a pair or better, you win! Ante bet required to play. 

Permissible Hands 

The permissible poker hands in the game of 3 Card Poker, in order of highest to lowest rank, shall be:

  • Straight The highest straight flush is an ace, king, and queen, while the lowest straight flush is an ace, two, and a three-of-a-kind.

  • If you have three of the same rank in your hand, you have a three-of-a-kind; the best three-of-a-kind is three aces, while the worst three-of-a-kind is three twos.

  • Ace, king, and queen are the highest-ranking straights, while three, two, and ace are the lowest-ranking straights. A straight is made up of three cards of the same rank, regardless of suit.

  • All three cards in the same suit are considered to be in a flush, regardless of rank.

  • A pair consists of two cards of the same rank, regardless of suit, with aces being the highest-ranking pair and twos being the lowest ranking couple.


Players and dealers face off in Three Card Poker, which is played head-to-head. Each player and the dealer are dealt three cards after all ante wagers have been placed. Either the player folds or they place a "play" wager equal to their ante to continue. A winner is declared and all bets are paid out.

The dealer's hand can only play if the dealer's hand is Queen high or better. You get 1 to 1 on ante wagers if the dealer does not participate in the game. The dealer's hand is compared to the player's hand if the latter decides to play. 

Both the ante and play bets are forfeited if the player loses the hand. It's 1 to 1 for the ante and plays wagers if the player's hand wins. If the players' hands are tied, then neither bet will be played. Additional wagers are available. A wager on a player's hand is a pair or better is known as a "Pair Plus" wager. There are no limits to how many times you can win with this bet if you have two twos. Even if the dealer has a better hand than you, you'll still get paid. A Straight or Better Ante Bonus may also be offered by some casinos. If you get five straight flushes and four three-of-a-kinds, the Ante Bonus paytable gives you five to one. Even if the player's hand does not beat the dealer's, the Ante Bonus wager will still pay out.

Three-Card Poker

Three-Card Poker, invented by Derek Webb in 1994, is actually two games in one: a standard 52-card deck and a three-card game.

The Ante/Play version pits players against a dealer to see who has the best hand.

Secondly, players can wager on whether or not they'll be dealt a pair or better by using the Pair Plus feature. However, in most casinos, players must also place an Ante bet before placing a wager on the Pair Plus portion.

How to Play Three-Card Poker

Each player has three betting circles in front of them on a standard Three-Card Poker table. Underneath the circle labeled Pair Plus, two others bear the labels Ante and Play.

To begin, the player must place an Ante or Pair Plus bet equal to the table minimum in the relevant circle(s). Each player is dealt three cards, one by the dealer.

Ante bets must be played or folded if a player has one. If the player decides to fold, the ante is lost. It is necessary if a player wishes to proceed, to place an additional wager in the Play circle equal to their Ante.

Dealers reveal their three-card hands after all wagers have been placed. Ante bets and Play bets will be returned to the players if the dealer has a "qualifying" hand that is at least a Queen.

If, on the other hand, the dealer's hand qualifies, the hands of the players are compared to see who wins. Both Ante and Play bets will be returned if the player has the better hand. The player will lose both bets if the dealer has a better hand. Ties are resolved in favor of the player in all cases.

Three-Card Poker hand rankings

There are only three cards on each hand, the rankings differ from traditional poker rankings. Poker hands are ranked from best to worst in three-card form as follows:

  • There are three cards of the same suit in a straight flush

  • Three identical cards in a row form a three-of-a-kind.

  • three mixed-suit consecutive straights

  • Three cards of the same suit in a row are called a flush.

  • the same rank in two cards

  • High card

Bonuses in Three-Card Poker

A player's ante and the table's posted pay table are used to calculate an Ante bonus if he or she has a straight, three-of-a-kind, or straight flush. As a rule, the odds of getting a bonus are 1:1, 4:1, and 5/1 for straights, threes, and fours. In the event that a player loses to the dealer, s/he will still be eligible for the Ante bonus. An average house advantage for this bonus is 3.37 percent.

Players can also earn Pair Plus bonuses as:

  • Straight flush – 40:1

  • Three of a kind – 30:1

  • Straight – 6:1

  • Flush – 4:1

  • Pair – 1:1

Mini Royal hands A, K, and Q are available at some casinos, and the Pair Plus bonus is typically 80:1. Unless the casino lowers its flush bonus to 3:1, the house has a 2.32 percent edge in the Pair Plus bonus. As a result, the house has a 7.28% advantage over the player.

Three-Card Poker Strategy

The strategy for Three-Card Poker is simple because there are only three cards in the deck. Based on the mathematical probability of beating any other randomly selected three-card hands, players with hands lower than Q, 6, 4, should fold.

Where Did 3-Card Poker Come From?

Comparatively speaking, 3-card poker is a relative newcomer in the world of casino card games. The game was created in 1994 by a man named Derek Webb.

After he came up with the idea, he began contacting various casinos to see if they would allow him to test it out in their establishments.

Despite a few rejections, Webb was able to land a job at the Mississippi casino. There, Derek worked hard; he did everything for free, including integrating the game into the casino and training the dealers. 

He went on to have successful trials with Las Vegas and Reno casinos after capitalizing on his initial success. He had plenty to do between pitching and working with the coaching staff. Life appeared to be going in the right direction.

Then Progressive Games sued him for patent infringement. After that, Derek met with Joseph Lahti, the company's president. Webb accepted Lahti's offer to assist in his legal defence of the patent claims.

For the rights to 3-card poker, Webb agreed to a $3 million deal. Nevertheless, Derek had the opportunity to earn far greater compensation. As a result, he sued Progressive Games in retaliation. When they sued him for intellectual property, he said he was forced to sell it at a lower price than it would have been otherwise.

It's likely that Progressive Games felt the same way. Or perhaps they were afraid of what a judge and jury might think of them. Because they agreed to avoid going to trial.


  1. How Do I Play 3 Card Poker?

The rules of 3 Card Poker are straightforward and easy to understand. In order to keep the game's popularity high, it was designed this way. To get started, all you have to do is place an ante bet, as described in the question above. As a result, the dealer deals you three cards, which you must use in an attempt to out-card the dealer. There are only three card hands instead of five card hands, so the standard poker hand rankings are used. Straights are stronger than flushes.

  1. What Are The 3 Card Poker Payouts?

In 3 Card Poker, you'll be able to find a variety of different payouts. For the sake of this table, we've used the most common payouts as the basis for our odds. A push occurs if the dealer does not qualify with a queen high, in which case you will receive one-to-one odds on your ante and have your raise bet returned to you. However, some casinos will reward you for both bets, so check the rules before you play. A strong hand will earn you additional payouts if the dealer qualifies and you win the hand, which is 1 to 1 on your bets.

  1.  What Is The House Edge?

Three-card poker has a house advantage of 3.37 percent on the ante and raises bets and 7.28 percent on the pair plus bet in three-card poker. It's a high standard for casino table games. 2.7 percent of bets are on roulette with one zero; 0.28 percent are on blackjack with excellent rules; 1.06 percent are on the banker in baccarat, and in craps, 1.36 percent are on don't pass line and don't come wagers. Clearly, 3 Card Poker falls short in this department. 

  1. Is There A Simple 3 Card Poker Strategy I Can Use?

If you have at least a Queen, 6, and 4, you should raise in three-card poker, which is the most popular strategy. The rules of the game are based on poker hands, in which the highest-ranking card is rated first, followed by the second-and third-ranking cards. In this case, if you have a King, then you can play, regardless of what the other cards are. If you hold a Queen, you must hold at least a 6, and you must hold at least a 4 if you have a Queen and 6 in your hand.

Cards are handed to the discard rack one at a time from the other deck. This assures that every other round, a different deck enters and exits play.