I guess when Three Card Poker was created they weren’t fixated on making the name cool, unique or brand able. They were just looking for a name that described exactly what it was. Success! Three card poker was born. You receive 3 cards to create a 3 card poker hand.
Three Card Poker is possibly the easiest of all the spin offs to play and understand. Of course, it’s a casino game so it can’t be that simple, they had to throw in optional bets, side bets and somehow give the house a slight edge. With that said, Three Card Poker is a fun game to play. If you’re into playing a fast paced poker game with big jackpot payouts, Three Card Poker might be for you.
How to Play Three Card Poker
Three card poker is a very easy to play poker version that involves three betting options. You can bet the ante, pairs plus (the side bet) or bet both. All of the regular poker hands are involved but with only three cards. For example a three card flush a three card straight or a three card straight flush.
The Ante is simply your 3 card hand versus the dealers three card poker hand. If you choose to play the ante, you will place the minimum up to the maximum on the ante. After this you will receive your three cards. After viewing, you then decide if you want to go through with your hand or fold. If you fold, you have forfeited your ante bet and there is no more play required. If you decide that your hand has good potential to win and want to play it through, you must now match the same amount of your ante bet, and place it on the “play” betting circle. If you do receive a premium hand of three of a kind, straight flush or mini royal you will get paid out on the ante bonus odds. They are as followed…
Three of a kind
The pairs plus is a side bet that only pertains to the 3 cards that you receive, on this bet you will win with a pair or better. If you choose to play this bet only, the dealers three card poker hand is irrelevant. Payouts are commonly as followed.
Three of a kind 30-1
Straight flush 40-1
Mini Royal 50-1
Playing Both Bets
You have the option of playing both bets in the same hand. It can be wise to do this because these bets can cover each other. For example, if you only play the ante you will not get paid out for premium hands on any of the pairs plus odds. Seeing as how the dealer has to qualify with a queen or better, you may gain that extra bet amount for pairs or better if the dealer does not qualify. If you only choose to only play the pairs plus you do not have the option of going forward or trying to “bluff” the dealer with a lesser valued hand. When covering the ante and pairs plus you get the best of both worlds. However, it will cost you double if you get stuck with a poor hand and are forced to fold.
The dealer only qualifies with a queen high or better.
If the dealers hand does not qualify you will be only paid on the ante bet, regardless of what your hand is.
If the dealers hand does qualify and your hand is greater, you will be paid on the ante and the play bet.
You can only bet the same amount of your ante on the play betting circle.
If you have a premium hand (three of a kind or better) that losses to the dealer’s hand, you will still be paid on the ante bonus bet.
Why the casino has an edge in Three Card Poker
The casino edge on the ante bet involves the dealers “qualifying” hand. The dealer only plays with queen high or better. With that said, anytime you might have a winning hand you will only be paid on one of your two bets. Any time you have a losing hand, both of your bets will be taken. Three Cards brother variant Four Card Poker is another popular casino game, at this table the dealer always qualifies.