A Full Guide to 3-Card Poker

There are dozens of poker variants available to choose from at online casinos in Canada. But if you’re looking for a simple game that’s just as thrilling, then 3-card poker is for you. Many gaming enthusiasts love this game for its easy-to-follow rules and huge profit potential. Hence, you can find this variant just about everywhere, even at casinos with limited choice. If you want to learn how to play 3-card poker and get some pro tips, stick till the end.

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The Origins of 3-Card Poker

3-Card Poker actually comes from the British game ‘Brag’ which found its way to the United States as ‘Casino Brag’. Derek Webb, an English professional poker player, and champion created the casino game. Webb allegedly visited Las Vegas, Nevada, and played poker but found it to be too monotonous. Hence, he built a version that catered to the desire of casino players to bet small and win large. Webb also included a built-in house edge which enticed the real money casinos and soon the 3-card poker gained popularity. Moreover, it’s simple to play as it involves only one 52-card deck and the objective is to get a better hand than the dealer.

How to Play 3-Card Poker

Playing 3-Card Poker

3-card poker is actually pretty simple to play since the possible combinations of cards are less than in a standard poker game. Of course, to play like a pro you need to know the rules but also all of your bet options. In addition, learning the hand rankings is of utmost importance for making sound decisions.

Betting Options

Ante Bet – Each player can place a wager in the Ante before the game begins. The ante bet is a wager against the dealer and the player’s final poker hand must beat the dealers’ to win. 

Play Bet – A bet on the Play spot allows you to keep going if you like the hand from the Ante bet. Of course, you can opt-out and fold but you’ll lose the ante bet. Players that place a play wager face off against the dealer and the best hand win.

Pair Plus – Play your own hand by betting on the pair plus position. The player’s hand must equal a pair, flush, straight, three of a kind, or straight flush to win the Pair Plus bet.

Play Both – Players can wager both the ante and the pair plus bet to play their own hand against the dealer. To win both bets, you must make a pair or better and beat the dealer’s 3-card poker hand.

Ante Bonus – Players who place an ante and play bets may be eligible for a bonus payout even if the dealer does not qualify or if the dealer’s hand wins. A straight, 3 of a kind or straight flush is required to win an ante bonus wager.

3-Card Poker Rules

In a nutshell, to win in 3-card poker you must beat the dealer’s hand. Moreover, your payout depends on the strength of your hand, so the higher the better. Here’s the step-by-step:

  • Place either an ante bet or pairplus bet, or both, to begin the game. 
  • You’ll receive four cards – three facing down and one facing up.
  • You must beat a payable to win. A pay table has the winning combos and their payouts.
  • Your win depends on your hand rank and the number of bets placed before revealing your cards.
  • You can choose to fold or bet, based on whether the fourth card you get is a pair plus. 
  • In the case of no pair plus you’ll get another card. This continues until your poker hand is less than three of a kind but more than a pair. 

The point when players fold after the third card is called playing the board. At this point players with a higher value than a pair get the pot. Those with three cards of the same rank are paid for a flush or a straight.

Hand Rankings in 3-Card Poker

The hand ranking in 3-card poker games, from highest to lowest is as follows: straight flush, three of a kind, straight, flush, pair. This ranking determines the higher hand in the game. In the even of two hands of the same rank – it’s a draw.

Game Payouts

Payouts in 3-card poker depend on the ranking of your winning hand. Here’s the payout to bet ratio for each hand type:

  • Pair – 1 to 1;
  • Flush – 3 to 1;
  • Straight Flush – 6 to 1;
  • Mini Royal – 50 to 1;
  • Straight – 6 to 1;

For the Ante Bonus:

  • Straight – 1 to 1;
  • 3 of a kind – 3 to 1;
  • Mini Royal – 5 to 1;
  • Straight Flush – 4 to 1;
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Using Strategy to Win

Any casino game, whether 3-card or not, requires a bit of luck to win. However, implementing a strategy in your gameplay can really pay off in the long run. One of the easiest to learn and use is the Queen-6-4 strategy. Simply put, you raise when you acquire hands that have cards higher than a Queen-6-4. You fold in all other situations. But some players, regardless of their third card, choose to make the play wager with a queen-7 or higher hand. 

In addition to using a strategy, sticking to some basic tips for responsible gambling is also super important. Regardless of your experience level, you should always:

  • Get familiar with the rules of the game beforehand.
  • Have a set budget for both time and money before you begin to play. 
  • Know your limits and when to quit the game.

Wrapping Up

3-card poker is one of the simplest and most popular online poker variations that you can find in just about any real money online casino. Not only is it easy but it’s just as fun as the other kinds of poker and offers great opportunities for profit. Moreover, with 3-card poker, you can practice your skills and strategy before committing to a more advanced poker variation. If you want to give it a try but don’t know where to go, check out our casino reviews.


Three-Card Poker has a house edge of roughly 2%.

The Queen 6-4 strategy is the most simple to use to increase a player’s chances of winning.

To win, you must beat the dealer's hand, and you are paid according to the strength of your hand.

You can certainly try but frankly it’s impossible online. You’re better off making smarter bets using strategy.

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