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3 Card Poker Guide: Rules, Strategies & Expert Tips!

Daniela López Written by Daniela López
Richard Grant Reviewed by Richard Grant

3 Card Poker

3 Card Poker (Also known as 3 Card Brag)

3 Card Poker Rules

3 Card Poker RulesFirst of all, you will need to place your bet. This can be an Ante bet, a Pair Plus bet, or both.

The Dealer will then deal you 3 cards that you can view, as well as dealing him/herself 3 cards face down.

If you have placed an Ante bet, at this point you need to decide whether to fold your hand or raise – place another bet equal to your first bet. A fold at this point will mean you lose any Ante bet.

The Dealer will then turn over their cards, you play directly against the Dealer so any other hands from other Players at the table are irrelevant to whether you win or lose the hand.

The Dealer needs a hand of Queen high to qualify. If the Dealer does not qualify, any Players still in the hand get even money on an Ante bet and all main bets will Push, so bets will be returned.

If the Dealer has Queen high or better and therefore qualifies, the higher hand out of the Dealers and the Players will win, the payout for the Player is shown below.

If the Dealer qualifies and has the best hand, the Main bet will lose. If you made an Ante bet and get a Straight or higher, you receive an Ante bonus regardless of what the dealer gets.

If both the Dealer and Player’s hands are the same, the bet will push and the Player will get their money back.

The Pair Plus bet pays out based on your own hand, see the Pairplus section below for payouts.

Ante Bonus Bet

There are several different pay tables around for Ante Bonuses so it is always worth looking at this before deciding on a site to play at.

For more details on Poker Hands, see our Poker Hand rankings page.

The most common are shown below.

HAND Payout
Straight flush 5
Three of a kind 4
Straight 1
House Edge 3.37%
Element of Risk 2.01%


Pair Plus Payouts

As with the Ante bet, the Pair Plus payouts can vary from casino to casino, the most common payout table is shown below.

A Pair Plus bet is on the Player 3 cards only and money is won depending on what this 3-card hand is worth.

Straight Flush 40
Three of a Kind 30
Straight 6
Flush 3
Pair 1
All Other Lose


3 Card Poker Strategy

Whilst there are several trains of thought when it comes to an optimum strategy in 3-card poker, we would suggest raising if you have Q/6/4 or better, irrespective of the paytable in use.

In a game of poker where hands are only a high card, hands are scored according to the highest card, then 2nd highest, etc.

Therefore, if your highest card is a Queen or better, 2nd highest a 6 or better and the 3rd highest a 4 or better, we suggest raising. This is the worst hand at which statistically you are likely to win more times than you lose, the next lowest hand, Q/6/3 is more likely to lose than win.

Related Articles:
Real Money Poker Rooms
5 Card Draw Poker
7 Card Stud Poker

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About the author

Daniela López
Casino Analyst
Daniela Lopez, a Casino Analyst for, excels in analyzing online casinos and game strategies. Her expert insights guide players in making informed decisions. Daniela's commitment to industry trends keeps the site a trusted resource, helping gamblers improve their play and success chances.
Last Updated: May 29, 2024

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What is 3 Card Poker?

3 Card Poker is a variation on one of the most popular and instantly recognizable card games in the world, Poker. It largely follows the rules of Poker, however, as the name would suggest, there are a few differences.


What are the basic rules of 3 Card Poker?

The game starts out with each of the players putting down a bet. When all is said and done, the dealer deals three cards to each player, and three cards to themselves, face-down. Once the wagering is done, the dealer reveals their hand. If their hand is weaker than the players, the dealer loses.


Is 3 Card Poker played against other players?

No. The dealer’s hand is the only one that matters to the individual players. In other words, 3 Card Poker is similar to Blackjack and Baccarat, in that the hands of the other players don’t matter.


What bets can I make in 3 Card Poker?

There are two different types of bets that a player can make in 3 Card Poker. Either you can put down an Ante Bet or a Pair Plus bet. If you are feeling lucky, you can even put down both.


What is an Ante Bet?

The Ante Bet is placed before the round begins. All Ante bets are rounded up together in a single pot and they all must be of equal value.


What is the Pair Plus Bet?

As the name would suggest, a pair plus bet is a bet placed on the strength of your hand. In other words, you can place a pair plus bet if you think you are going to get a pair or higher (hence the name Pair Plus). The bet then pays out if your dealt cards do, indeed, make a pair (or something better).


How good are 3 Card Poker odds compare to other games?

In terms of other poker games, the odds of 3 Card Poker are relatively solid. The house edge on the average game of 3 Card Poker is barely over 2%, making it an excellent game for gamblers. However, it is worth noting that Blackjack, usually, offers better odds at most casinos, online and land-based.


What is the best hand in 3 Card Poker?

The best hand that you can get in 3 Card Poker is a Jack + King + Ace.


What is the worst hand in 3 Card Poker?

The worst hand that a player can get in 3 Card Poker is 5 + 2 +2.


Can I play 3 Card Poker Online for real money?

Yes. 3 Card Poker is available in both land-based casinos and at many online gambling websites. It is usually played at Blackjack tables in brick-and-mortar establishments. At online gambling sites, it is also widely available and most of the time, you can win real money when gambling on matches.

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