Three Card Poker


Three Card Poker, or Tri-Card Poker, is a game played in a casino against the house. When the Three Card Poker game starts, the player is required to make an ante. Once they have made the requisite bet, they are then dealt three cards by the house. Once they have looked at these three cards and determined the hand, they can either fold and lose their ante bet or they can play. If they choose to play, then they must make another bet that is equivalent to what they bet for the ante.

At the same time that the player was dealt a hand, the dealer was dealt a hand as well. If the player decides that they are going to play, then the next step is for the dealer to check their hand to see if the hand qualifies. The dealer's hand must be a queen high or better in order to qualify. If the hand does not qualify, then the players ante bet wins and their play bet pushes. If the dealer's hand qualifies, but losers to the player's hand, then the player wins on both bets. If the dealer's hand qualifies and ties then the player pushes both bets and finally if the dealer's hand qualifies and wins the player loses on both of their bets.

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Hand Rankings

A three card straight flush (occurring about 0.21% of the time) is the highest hand in three card poker. It is then followed by three of a kind (0.23%), a straight (3.25%), a flush (4.95%), a pair (16.94%) and then a high card (74.39%).

Pair Plus Bets

In addition to their ante bets and play bets, in three card poker the player also has a chance of making a pair plus bet. This is basically a bet on their hand being a pair or better. If their hand is not at least a pair, then they lose the hand. If their hand is a pair, they get paid at even money. If their hand is a flush, they get paid 4 times their bet. If their hand is a straight, they get paid 6 times their bet. If their hand is trips, they get paid 30 times their bet and finally if their hand is a straight flush they get paid 40 times their bet.

General Strategy

While there is no set strategy when it comes to playing Three Card Poker, at the same time there are certainly things that you can do in order to minimize the edge that the house has over you. One of those things is avoiding the pair plus bet, as the minimum average advantage that the house would have on a pair plus bet is around 2.5%. You can confirm this yourself by taking a look at the payouts and percentages listed above and you will see that the house wins on every single proposition. Also, the Three Card Poker strategy in the ante and play section that reduces the house advantage is to play whenever you have a hand of Q-6 or higher as your top two cards; fold everything else.