Three Card Poker is much newer than other online casino games, such as roulette and blackjack. Derek Webb first introduced the came in the 1990s, and its only since 1997 that the game we know and love was officially patented. Since then, this popular poker game has made its way into many casinos, and is available across a range of online operators, too. Whether you’re a complete poker newbie, or just want to try out this exciting, fast-paced form of the game, you’ll find everything you need to know, including where you can play the game, right here.
Everything you need to know about online three card poker
Three card poker is played using a standard 52-card deck. It’s classed as a form of casino poker as it’s played against the dealer, rather than Texas hold’em or Omaha, in which players play against one another. The objective is for your three cards— known as the poker hand— to rank higher than the dealer’s. The different rankings of poker hands are as follows:
- Straight flush – 3 cards in sequence from the same suit
- Three-of-a-kind – 3 cards all with the same face value
- Straight – 3 cards in sequence. Any suit
- Flush – 3 cards from the same suit. Not in sequence
- Pair – 2 cards with same face value
- High card – if none of the above hands, the best hand is determined by the highest value card
If you’re familiar with poker you’ll notice that, in three card poker, the rankings of a straight and a flush have traded places.
Now you know the winning hands, let’s go through some of the rules.
- To enter each hand, you must make an ‘ante’ bet. You can also place a ‘Pair Plus’ bet, but this is optional (discussed in more detail below).
- The (virtual) dealer deals you three cards and itself 3 cards. You’ll be able to view your own cards but the dealers will be face down.
- After assessing your hand, you must decide whether to ‘fold’ or ‘play’. If you fold, the hand is over and you lose your ante bet. If you play, then you must make another bet equal to the size of the ante.
- The dealer reveals its cards. It needs a Queen high or better to qualify.
- If the dealer doesn’t qualify, meaning it is holding less than Queen high, you’ll be paid 1:1 on your ante bet and the play bet is pushed, which means it’s returned as-is.
- If the dealer does qualify, both hands are compared to see which is better-see three-card poker hand ranks above.
- If your hand is of higher value, you’ll win 1:1 on both the ante and play bet. If the dealer’s hand wins, you lose both bets. A tie results in a push.
- If your hand is a straight or higher, then you receive a better ratio payout on the ante bet, regardless of what cards the dealer has. This is called the ante bonus and the paytable for it will be provided on the game interface.
- If you made the Pair Plus, this is also paid out in accordance with its own paytable.
The Pairs Plus® bet
Part of three card poker is the trademarked Pairs Plus® bet. As the name suggests, it pays out if your three cards— not the dealer’s— are ranked higher than a pair. By placing this extra side bet, the odds are as follows:
- 40:1 for a straight flush
- 30:1 for a three-of-a-kind
- 6:1 for a straight
- 4:1 for a flush
- 1:1 for a pair- this bet is paid regardless of the dealer’s hand. Bear in mind that it comes with a house edge of 7.28%, so we don’t recommend you place it too often!
The six card bonus
Six card bonus is a variation of three-card poker where, even though you’re only dealt three cards, you still try to make a five-card hand. You do this using a combination of your own cards and the dealer’s, and payouts are made depending on how good of a hand you can make.
Three of a kind will give you the lowest payout for this variant, with 5:1 and a Royal Flush will give the highest, at 1000:1.
Even if the ante bet isn’t paid out, the six card bonus bet still gets paid out.
Prime three card poker
This is standard three card poker, but with an additional prime bet that’s placed before cards are dealt. This particular bet has a return to player (RTP) of 96.38%. Payouts for prime three card poker are as follows:
- 3:1 if the player’s cards are all the same colour
- 4:1 if both the player’s and dealer’s cards are all the same colour
Three-card poker strategy
A three-card poker player essentially has one decision to make— fold or play— and this strategy relies upon these two options. It’s simple: only raise your antre bet if your hand is higher than Queen-Six- Four.
Let’s take a look at some poker hand examples to see how it works:
Q-6-4 versus Q-7-2
In this situation, the Queens cancel each other out. The seven is higher than six, bet on this hand.
Q-6-4 versus J-10-8
In this situation, the Queen beats the Jack, which means you must fold. It doesn’t matter that the second and third cards are higher because the Queen has already won the hand.
Using this strategy, the casino has a lifetime house edge of 3.45%. This means a player can expect a payout of $99.55 from every $100 wagered over a prolonged period. As with all tips for betting and gambling, you can’t always guarantee a win.
How to play:
- Choose a top online casino
To begin playing three card poker online, you’ll need to find a casino that this increasingly popular game. We’ve saved you the hard work and our expert review team has found the best online casinos offering three-card poker. Whether you’re looking for live dealer variations of the game, a big welcome bonus or a casino that accepts PayPal, we’ve got you covered.
- Sign up
Once you’ve picked the best casino for you, follow our link to sign up. You’ll be taken straight to the registration page where you’ll need to enter some personal information. This will only take a minute or two.
- Deposit & claim bonus
You’ll need to deposit some money to start playing real money three card poker. Just head to the cashier and select the deposit option- most featured operators accept a range of different payment methods, including options such as Instadebit, Neteller and Skrill. You’ll also be able to claim your welcome bonus— which might include free bets— at this point, if one is on offer.
You can start playing as soon as the funds are available in your account. Think about how much you want to wager before you jump into the game- bankroll management is a crucial part of playing at online casinos, so set yourself a realistic budget and stick to it. Casinos implement a range of different methods to protect players from spending more than they can afford to lose.
- Try out live dealer three card poker
Once you’re comfortable with three card poker, why not try your hand at live dealer variations of the game? Evolution Gaming offers fantastic live dealer three card poker games, which are great if you want a more realistic and immersive poker experience.
Ready to play? Compare and bet!
We’ve covered all bases with fast and furious three card poker, so are you ready to challenge yourself on the real money poker table? Take a look at our list of the top gambling providers offering this exciting poker game to pick your favourite, sign up and start playing! Remember that, unlike other games of chance, poker is about skill, so it’s unlikely you’ll become a poker pro overnight, and don’t forget to look out for demo games if you need a little practise before gambling real money!