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Three Card Poker

: Game Rules & Strategy
Object: The object of Three Card Poker - also known as 'Poker Three' - is to have a hand that contains a pair or higher hand and/or have a higher-ranking hand than the dealer.

The Deck: This game is played with a standard 52-card deck that is shuffled after each round. The rank of the cards is: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, Ten, then Nine through Two in order. Suits are a consideration in the game (for making flushes and straight flushes), but the four suits of Clubs, Hearts, Diamonds, and Spades are equal to one another.

Hand Rankings: Hand rankings are as follows:

HandRanking Description Example
Straight Flush 3 cards in sequence and all of the same suit. 3 of clubs4 of clubs5 of clubs
Three of a kind 3 cards of the same rank. 5 of clubs5 of hearts5 of spades
Straight 3 cards in sequence, not all ofwhich are the same suit. Jack of clubsQueen of spadesKing of hearts
Flush 3 cards of the same suit, notall of which are in sequence. 2 of spades7 of spadesQueen of spades
One Pair 2 cards of the same rank, plus 1other card of another rank. 7 of spades7 of diamondsAce of hearts
High Card 3 cards, all of which aredifferent ranks and are not all the same suit. 5 of clubs7 of diamondsQueen of spades

Overview: There are actually two games that are played simultaneously in three card poker: Pair Plus and Ante Play. You can play either game or both at once; it is most common to play both at once. When playing Pair Plus, you simply need to have a pair or a higher hand in order to win; when playing Ante Play, you need to have a higher hand than the dealer.

After bets are placed on either or both of the Pair Plus and Ante Play circles of the game layout, all players and the dealer are dealt three cards. Players that only have a Pair Plus bet reveal their cards and are paid (according to the table below) on hands with a pair or higher; hands that do not contain at least a pair lose. Players that have an Ante Play bet can either fold (in which case the Ante Play bet is lost) or 'call' by making a Play bet equal to the size of the Ante Play bet. Once all players have called or folded, the dealer reveals the house cards and the Ante Play and Play bets are resolved according to the tables below.

Pair Plus: For the Pair Plus game, the dealer's cards do not matter; you simply need to get a hand that has a pair or better, and are (usually) paid as follows:

HandRanking PairPlus Payout
Straight Flush 40 : 1
Three of a kind 30 : 1
Straight 6 : 1
Flush 4 : 1
One Pair 1 : 1
High Card Lose

Ante Play: For the Ante Play game, you can either fold (in which case you lose your Ante Play bet) or play (in which case you must match your Ante Play bet with an equal-sized Play bet). If you decide to play, then you are paid as follows:

  • If the dealer DOES NOT have a Queen High-card hand or better, then you win even money on your Ante Play bet and the Play Bet pushes.
  • If the dealer does have a Queen High-card hand or better, then you either:
    • Win even money on both your Ante Play andPlay bets when you beat the dealer
    • Lose both your Ante Play and Play bets whenyou lose to the dealer
    • Push both your Ante Play and Play bets whenyou tie the dealer
      • If both player and dealer have High Card hands, the highest card wins.
      • If both player and dealer have the same high card, then the second-highest card wins.
      • If both player and dealer have the same two highest cards, then the third card is used to break the tie.

Ante Play bets also enjoy a bonus when the hand has a pair or better, regardless the dealer's hand; the bonus is (usually) paid as follows:

Hand Ranking Ante Plus Payout
Straight Flush 5 : 1
Three of a kind 4 : 1
Straight 1 : 1

Strategy:

  • Play both the Pair Plus and the Ante Play games at the same time.
  • For the Pair Plus bet, there is no strategy - you win if you get a pair or better.
  • For the Ante Play game, the best

    three card poker strategy

    is to call the Ante Play bet with a Play bet if you have at least a Queen-Six hand or better; otherwise, fold.
  • To have some fun when playing at a live table, when you look at your cards, look at only one card. If it is a King or an Ace, look at no more of your cards and call - you find out if you win when the dealer reveals your cards to determine your payout (if any).

Online Play: You can

play three card poker

at most online casinos. However, not all online casinos offer the same pay tables. The best pay tables you will find are those mentioned above and can be found at any online casino recommended below.

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