Three-card poker is a fun and exciting casino table game that is easy to learn and offers players a chance to win big payouts. In three-card poker, players make the best poker hand with only three cards. The game has become hugely popular both online and in land-based casinos thanks to its fast gameplay and reasonable house edge.
Three-card poker is played heads-up against the dealer. Both the player and dealer receive three cards face down. Players must then make the best possible poker hand with their three cards.
There are two main bets in three card poker:
- Ante Bet: This mandatory bet goes head to head against the dealer’s hand. If the player’s hand beats the dealer’s, the ante pays out even money (1:1).
- Pair Plus Bet: An optional side bet based solely on the value of the player’s hand. The pair plus bet pays out if the player gets a pair or better. The higher the poker value, the more it pays.
After seeing their three cards, players either fold and surrender the ante or make the Play bet, which doubles it. The Play bet allows you to continue and go up against the dealer. If the player’s hand beats the dealer’s, both the ante and play bets win even money. Winning hands in order from highest to lowest are:
- Straight Flush
- Three of a Kind
- High Card
The Pair Plus side bet is not dependent on beating the dealer. It pays out if the player makes any of the following hands:
- Straight Flush: 40 to 1
- Three of a Kind: 30 to 1
- Straight: 6 to 1
- Flush: 3 to 1
- Pair: 1 to 1
Three-card poker strategy to beat the house
The house edge in three-card poker ultimately comes down to the ante bet payout and 6 Card Bonus payouts.
- Play Q64 or better – Fold hands lower than Queen high. Only play Queens, straights, flushes, or better. It lowers the house edge on ante bets.
- Bet the Pair Plus wiser – The Pair Plus bet has a much higher house edge around 7%. Place this bet selectively and in lower amounts. Go for premium hands only.
- Learn optimal 6-Card Bonus strategy – Using an optimal strategy for the 6-Card Bonus side bet lowers the house edge dramatically from over 3% down to under 1%.
- Manage your bankroll – Set betting amounts for ante and Pair Plus bets at 1-5% of your bankroll to minimize risk and play through swings.
- Review the payout table – Some games pay even money on straights, while others pay 5 to 1. Higher payouts on straights and flushes improve overall odds.
- Play online for better odds – online casino za have less overhead and offer better odds through increased payouts on the ante bet and 6 Card Bonus.
- Don’t chase losses – Stick to your bankroll limits. Bigger bets trying to recoup losses lead to faster depletion of funds.