How to play 3 card poker at a casino

The British card game "Brag" has an American counterpart in the form of a 3-Card Poker. Primera, a fast-moving betting game with only three cards and played against the house, was the inspiration for this game more than three centuries ago.


The game begins once all players have placed their wagers in the 'Ante' box. You can also place a wager on the 'Pair Plus' side bet. Three cards are dealt face down to each player, including the dealer. Make a bet equal to your original bet in the box labeled "Bet" or fold, in which case all of your original bet and any optional bets will be wiped out if played. To be eligible, the dealer must have at least a 'Queen' high card. As long as the dealer qualifies, then the hands of the player and dealer will be compared and the higher one wins. If the dealer fails to meet the requirements, then the Ante bet pays out at even money, and the 'Play' bet is a push.

Pair Plus bet will win, regardless of the dealer’s hand when you have a Pair or above and the payouts are as follows :

  1. Mini Royal - 50 to 1

  2. Straight Flush - 40 to 1

  3. 3 of a kind - 30 to 1

  4. Straight - 6 to 1

  5. Flush - 3 to 1

  6. Pair - 1 to 1

If you have a straight or higher hand, then you win Ante Bonus provided the dealer qualifies and the payouts are as follows :

  • Mini Royal - 5 to 1 | Straight Flush - 4 to 1

  • 3 of a kind - 3 to 1 | Straight - 1 to 1


The fantastic shows, the unique restaurants, and the world-class nightlife all deserve a place on your Vegas bucket list, but you should also make time to learn how to win at 3-card poker.

Tabletop games in high demand It's not just that Three Card Poker is fun, but that it's also easy to learn. It's as if you're getting two of your favorite casino games in one with Three Card Poker. Both the dealer and you can win based on the quality of your cards.

Make the best poker hand possible using only three cards in the game's objective.


  • There are two types of bets that can be made in this game: the ante wager and the pair plus wager.

  • The cards are then dealt face down to the players, with the dealer receiving three of each. When playing against the dealer, you have no other opponents to contend with.

  • It's at this point that the player examines his hand and decides whether to make a play wager (the same amount as the ante wager) or not. A player should "play" all hands higher than the Queen, Six, and Four in optimal strategy and fold all hands lower.

  • In poker, if a player folds, the hand is over and all of the player's ante wager and pair plus wager will be returned to the dealer. To find out if the player has a better hand than the dealer, the cards will be turned over if the player has placed a play wager.

  • The player's play wager is refunded if the dealer has a hand of Jack-high or lower. This means that if the dealer has an Ace-to-Queen hand or better, all bets placed by the player are returned at 1 to 1.\

  • Both the ante and play bets are collected if the dealer has a better hand. Belief in the dealer's hand has no bearing on whether or not a player will win a pair plus bet.


Pair plus payouts:

Straight Flush
40 to 1
Three of a Kind 
30 to 1
6 to 1
3 to 1
1 to 1

Ante bonus payouts:

Straight Flush 
5 to 1
Three of a Kind   
4 to 1
1 to 1

Playing Three Card Poker? That's the best part. The six-card bonus paytable, which hits if the dealer's and player's cards combine nine through Ace in a royal suit of diamonds, offers a chance to win a $100,000 reward.

Once you've mastered Three Card Poker, move on to learning how to play Texas Hold 'Em Poker, Blackjack, Craps, and Roulette using instructional videos.

Now that you've learned how to play 3 card poker and win, try your luck at the tables at any of these Caesars properties:

  1. Caesars Palace Table Games

  2. Table Games at the Cromwell

  3. Flamingo Las Vegas Table Games

  4. Harrah's Las Vegas Table Games

  5. Table Games At The LINQ

  6. Paris Las Vegas Table Games

  7. Table Games At The Rio

Hand Rankings in Three Card Poker

For those who are already familiar with poker variations such as Texas Hold'em and Five Card Draw, 3 card poker hand rankings should come as no surprise.

Due to the lack of assistance from any community cards and the fact that only three cards are dealt to the dealer and players, the hand strengths differ somewhat.

Here’s the order, from the lowest to the highest:

  1. High card

  2. One pair

  3. Flush (three cards of the same suit)

  4. Straight (three cards of consecutive rankings, i.e., 5, 6, 7)

  5. Three of a kind

  6. Straight flush (three consecutive cards of the same suit)

  7. If both the dealer and the player have the same higher ranking hand like a flush or a straight, the one with the highest card in the combination wins.

King-high flushes always outrank Queen-high flushes, and a 7, 8, or 9 straight is always better than a 5, 6, or 7. In three-card poker games, the winner is never determined by the suit of the cards.

It is possible to play Three Card Poker both online and in a real-world casino.

Online, it can be found in a selection of games.

In the United States, you'll find it alongside blackjack, craps, and roulette in the table games pits.

Both in the pits and in the card rooms of European casinos, you'll find it. With the right hand, Three Card Poker can reward you with big money! It's also a simple and straightforward game to pick up and play.

To learn more about this well-known casino card game and how to succeed at it, keep reading.

Three Card Poker Rules: Pair Plus Payouts

A bet on the Pair Plus wager is separate from the ante-play wagers. If dealt a High Card hand, players lose their bet regardless of whether they have a pair or better. Pair Plus hands are not affected by the dealer's hand.

  • To win, you don't need to outplay the dealer.

  • Winners are compensated in accordance with a pay table that can be found either on the table or online.

The following are the standard Three Card Poker odds for Pair Plus payouts typically used in the United States, as well as some payout variations:

  • A pair of one-to-one

  • A three-to-one draw: (or 4 to 1)

  • In a straight line: 6 to 1. (or 5 to 1)

  • Thirty to one: Three of a Kind (or 25 to 1)

The most common version uses the payoffs that are not in parentheses. Some casinos add a bigger payout at the top. They’ll separate a "mini royal" of Ace-King-Queen of the same suit from other straight flushes. Mini royals usually pay 50-1 though they have been spotted at 100-1.

Three Card Poker Rules: Stakes 

There are the minimum and maximum bets at Three Card Poker tables. For a $5 ante bet, the "play" bet of $10 will cost you $10 to "play" at a $5 minimum table if you decide to keep your hand and play it against the dealer. Your total risk rises to $16 if you bet $5 more on Pair Plus.

To play the game, an equal number of ante and play chips must be present at all times. times. These bets are subject to variance from the original Pair Plus stake.

The minimum and maximum stakes for the Pair Plus wager must be adhered to.

Three Card Poker Strategy and House Edge

The optimal strategy for Three Card Poker indicates you should do the following – 

  • Play all hands of a value of Q-6-4 or better, including all pairs

  • And fold everything else

It is impossible to win this ante-bet game without giving the house an edge of about 2% of your ante and play bets over the long term. Play bets aren't made every time. So, the house advantage is 3.4 percent of the ante, which is another way of looking at it.

Depending on how much you win from the ante bonus, this can change. Five-to-one straight flushes are the best payoff, followed by four-to-one three-of-a-kind and one-to-one straights. As a result, the house has a 3.4 percent edge on the ante.

There is an increase in the house edge from 2.6% to 4.3% of total bets or from 1.9% to 2.6% of ante bets if straight flush ante bonuses are only 3-1, 2-1, and 1.9% on straights.

Small alterations have a big impact on the house edge in Pair Plus.

The house has a 7.28 percent advantage in the most widely played version in the United States, with the following payouts 

  • 40-1 on straight flushes

  • 30-1 on three of a kind

  • 6-1 on straights

  • 3-1 on flushes 

  • 1-1 on pairs

If only one change is made, with flushes paying 4-1, the edge drops to 2.32%. A version sometimes seen in Europe pays 35-1 on straight flushes, 33-1 on three of a kind, 6-1 on straights, 4-1 on flushes, and 1-1 on pairs. That house edge is 2.7% edge.

Three Card Poker: Etiquette

Regarding etiquette in Three Card Poker, there are three things to note:

With the intention of both anteing and playing, arrange your cards in the "play" box from lowest to highest and place the "play" wager on top of your cards.

Choosing to fold your hand: If you're ready to "play" but don't want to, you can simply toss your cards in front of the dealer.

When you win, it's customary to tip the dealer. Tipping is entirely up to you, but a standard percentage is 10%. If you're playing with $5 chips, you can use $1 chips. After a hand, place the tip to the right of any of the betting circles: Pair Plus, Ante, or Play.

You can also place a wager on the dealer. This is the most common method of tipping in the United States. Place a second ante in front of your original ante. If you win, the dealer also wins.

House Rules: Every Casino Is Different

It's important to point out that there are a few rule differences between casinos:

  • Some casinos limit the number of hands a player can play simultaneously to one. However, there are some that permit a single player to engage in multiple hands at once (across the different betting sections at the same table).

  • Most casinos have a one-person-per-hand rule, which means that you can't share your hole cards. You are not allowed to reveal your hand to other players. Another option is to share your hole cards with your fellow players and get their advice on how to proceed with your hand (s).

  • Depending on where you're playing, you may or may not be required to put down an ante to play a three-card poker hand. Ante-play, Pair Plus, or both can be bets in other casinos, as well. It is possible to bet Pair Plus even if you are not ante-playing.

Advantage Play: Three Card Poker

In live Three Card Poker, the chances of gaining an advantage over the house are slim.

Each hand begins with a reshuffle of the cards.

As in the case of blackjack card counting, you are unable to keep track of the remaining balance of high and low cards.

Seeing the cards of other players can aid in your decision-making process when making a play bet. The information is not allowed to be shared in most casinos. If you see enough player cards, it could have a significant impact on the game.

You could easily tell if the dealer had a higher or lower percentage of Queens.

To get the most out of your dealer card, you need to look at the information on it. The dealer's hand is made up of a third of the cards that are visible. Your strategy can be swayed by as little as one uncovered card.

Dealers don't expose cards often. 

  • But it occasionally happens when they move their three cards from the shuffler to their spot. 

  • Sometimes, the dealer lifts the cards high enough to see the bottom card.

When the dealer exposes a high card, the best ante-play strategy moves from playing with Queen-6-4 or better to this:

  • If you see a dealer Queen, play with Queen-9-2 or better and fold with less.

  • If you see a dealer King, play with King-9-2 or better and fold with less.

  • If you see a dealer Ace, play with Ace-9-2 or better and fold with less.

By doing so, you've cut the house's ante-play edge from 2% to 3.5 percent.

At least in the United States, this type of play is not considered to be a form of cheating. A number of courts have ruled that players can use all information from exposed cards in cases involving blackjack and other games. Never has such a ruling gone against a player.

Regardless of whether or not you're cheating, these moves aren't possible in an online game. Before the bet's end, no dealer cards are revealed. No additional information can be used in your favor.

Three Card Poker Online

In land-based casinos, Three Card Poker is a popular table game. Only blackjack and craps are more popular table games in the United States. While baccarat attracts the most high-rollers, Three Card Poker has the most players.

As expected, online casinos have taken notice of the rising popularity of Three Card Poker and have made it a standard feature.

Here are the main differences between live and online games – 

  • Instead of physical cards and chips, virtual representations are used. 

  • Some casinos use streams of live dealers distributing cards, but usually, virtual cards appear on the screen.

  • A random number generator determines hands.

But at its core, Three Card Poker is the same in live and online games. The odds, house edges and strategies are the same online as in live casinos.


We hope that this guide has helped explain how to play 3 Card Poker and win! It’s undoubtedly an easy table game to learn and an enjoyable one to play.

Remember all the different betting options available. And be sure to research what the House Rules are for the Three Card Poker game you’re playing. 


1. Can you play 3-card poker for real money?

Yes. Most online casinos will offer either 3-card or tri-card poker for real money.

2. Can you play 3-card poker for free?

Certainly. As a general rule, most online casinos will allow you to play for free. Some casinos, such as Bovada and Ignition Casino, don't require you to create an account in order to play their games.

Find a website that offers a wide variety of free arcade games as an alternative. Just put up with their aggressive and intrusive marketing tactics.

Then there's the idea of finding a game of 3 cards (or tri-card) poker in the app store of your mobile phone or tablet device. Almost certainly, you can locate one. It is possible to find a general casino or card game app that includes it.

3. Where can I find a free 3-card poker game download?

Unless you pay for a premium app, you shouldn’t ever have to buy 3-card poker or pay to download it. Most casinos who offer the game AND offer a casino download will let you do so for free.

4. How many hands per hour can you play?

It depends on where you’re playing and if you’re playing online or live, but you can expect to play 30+ hands per hour.

5. What is the minimum hand in 3-card poker?

We're not sure what you're trying to convey to us. As a result, we'll address this in a variety of ways. This hand can only be played if the dealer has a Q-high card. Your ante bet and raise bet will both be returned if the dealer fails to meet the requirements. Playing with a Q-6-4 is the bare minimum. Raise with a Q-6-4 or higher for the best results. Everything else should be thrown out the window.

6. Is there a 3-card poker multi-player?

Basically. The game can be played with others. Even in the virtual world, it's possible to play live dealer games online.

You can sit and talk to other players at some casinos. In addition, you can do this on the go. However, keep in mind that chatting with other players is fine, but casinos generally discourage players from discussing their hands or strategies.