You can play Three Card Poker online at most casino sites. While the game is less popular than blackjack, craps, and roulette, it draws more than enough action to motivate the top online casinos to offer it. At most gambling sites, however, the only way to enjoy the game is to download the casino’s software. We’ll give you a short list of casinos that let you enjoy Three Card Poker online directly through your browser. Moreover, each site lets you to play absolutely free however you can also play real money three card poker online.
Before we reveal that list to you, we’ll quickly go over the rules of 3 Card Poker, including a brief description of the Ante, Raise, and Pair Plus bets. If you have never played the game, the following will provide everything you need to get started and we have a more comprehensive section covering the best three card poker strategy to minimize the house edge.
KickAssPoker.com’s Online Three Card Poker Guide
- Basic Rules of Three Card Poker Online
- Download Three Card Poker
- Three Card Poker Odds
- Three Card Poker Strategy
- Real Money Three Card Poker
- Top Casinos To Play Three Card Poker Online
Basic Rules Of Three Card Poker Online
In a live casino, a single 52-card deck is used. You’ll see three circles on the playing table: they are marked Ante, Pair Plus, and Raise (we’ll describe the details behind each bet in a moment). Once you place your Ante bet, three cards are dealt to you face-up. Three cards are then dealt to the Dealer face-down.
Based solely on your cards, you’ll need to decide whether you want to raise. If you raise, the Dealer’s cards are turned over, and the two hands are compared (assuming the Dealer qualifies, which we’ll explain in the next section). If your hand has a higher value, you’ll win even money. If you don’t want to raise, you can fold, and thereby forfeit your Ante bet. Hands are ranked highest to lowest according to the following list:
- Straight Flush
- Three of a Kind
- Ace High or less
Those are the basic rules to play Three Card Poker online. Let’s now take a closer look at each bet.
Ante, Raise, And Pair Plus
The Ante is straightforward. As mentioned above, you place it before the cards are dealt. Once it is placed, your only remaining options are to fold or raise. If you decide to raise, you must bet an amount that is equal to your Ante. For example, if your Ante is $25, your raise must be $25.
The Dealer must have a Queen or higher in order to qualify. If the Dealer is unable to qualify, you’ll automatically win even money on your Ante. Your raise is pushed. If the Dealer’s hand does qualify, the two hands are compared (as mentioned earlier). If your hand beats the Dealer’s qualifying hand, you’ll win even money on your Ante and Raise. If the Dealer’s hand beats your hand, you’ll lose both bets.
At the time you place your Ante bet, you can also place an optional Pair Plus bet. This wager has nothing to do with the Dealer’s hand. You win or lose based solely on whether your hand makes a pair or higher. There is a separate pay table for the Pair Plus bet. Most online casinos pay out based on the following list:
- Straight Flush – 40:1
- Three of a Kind – 30:1
- Straight – 6:1
- Flush – 3:1
- Pair – 1:1
If your hand does not contain a pair or higher, you will lose your Pair Plus bet. Download three card poker casino software and start playing!
The Ante Bonus
Three Card Poker online also pays out an Ante bonus if your cards make a straight or higher. The pay tables vary by casino, but are usually consistent with one of the following:
- Straight Flush – 5:1
- Three of a Kind – 4:1
- Straight – 1:1
- Straight Flush – 4:1
- Three of a Kind – 3:1
- Straight – 1:1
The above bonuses are paid exclusive of your other bets. For example, suppose you place a $10 Ante bet, are dealt a 4-5-6, and win the hand. You’ll be paid even money on your Ante ($10); you’ll also receive the 1:1 Ante bonus (another $10) for your straight. In other words, you’ll win $20 total. Now suppose the Dealer’s hand contains a 7-8-9, and thus beats your 4-5-6. In this case, you would lose your Ante, but would still win an Ante bonus for your straight.
Download Three Card Poker
Most of the top online casinos offer at least one Three Card Poker download game, though many sites call it “Tri Card Poker.” It’s easy to play, but deceptively simple for novices. That is, the rules (which we’ll explain in a moment) are easy to learn. But keeping track of your bets, and whether each bet wins or loses, may be confusing if you’re new to the game.
Below, we’ll give you a brief overview of the game to help get you started. You’ll learn how to play 3 Card Poker as well as a couple of important tips for preserving your bankroll. We’ll also describe our top online casino recommendations where you can play Three Card Poker. And if you’re ready to get in the real games, click here for a list of Real Money Three Card Poker Games.
Three Card Poker Odds
As with all card games, payouts for specific Three Card Poker hands are based on the odds of those hands appearing on any given deal. That is, what are the chances you’ll be dealt a straight? How likely are you to receive three of a kind? And how often do straight flushes appear? These and other questions can be addressed by taking a closer look at Three Card Poker odds.
What follows is not meant to be a rigorous statistical critique of 3 Card Poker. Instead, our goal is to arm you with the data you need to better understand the game – not only the rules, but also the numbers that drive the action. With this in mind, we’ll first provide an overview of Three Card Poker odds, and then explain how to leverage them.
Three Card Poker Odds Explained
For any given hand, there is a specific probability attached to each 3-card combination. If the deck is reshuffled following each hand, this probability will remain constant. For example, the likelihood you’ll receive an A-J-9 would be the same from one hand to the next.
Assuming the deck is only reshuffled after the shoe has been exhausted, you can expect Three Card Poker odds to fluctuate slightly as the shoe is played. The change is minimal, however. To provide context, here are the probabilities for each of the paying hands, along with the number of combinations that can make those hands:
- Straight Flush – 0.00217 – 48
- Three of a Kind – 0.00235 – 52
- Straight – 0.03258 – 720
- Flush – 0.04959 – 1,096
- Pair – 0.16941 – 3,744
- Ace High or Lower- 0.74389 – 16,440
The above table shows there is a 3.258% chance you’ll receive a straight, and 720 ways to make that straight. Similarly, the odds you’ll receive a pair are 16.941%. There are 3,744 different hands that can contain a pair.
These Three Card Poker odds play a key role in determining the casino’s house edge. The probabilities don’t change (aside from minor fluctuations as the shoe is dealt, as already mentioned). But the casino can boost their edge by modifying the pay table. Here is a breakdown of the house edge for each of the three most common tables used for the Ante and Raise.
Straight Flush – 5:1
Three of a Kind – 4:1
Straight – 1:1
House Edge: 3.37%
Straight Flush – 5:1
Three of a Kind – 3:1
Straight – 1:1
House Edge: 3.61%
Straight Flush – 4:1
Three of a Kind – 3:1
Straight – 1:1
House Edge: 3.83%
Note that all three tables (A, B, and C) are constrained by the same Three Card Poker odds. The element that shifts the house edge is the payout structure.
How To Leverage Three Card Poker Odds
Given the above information, what is the best 3 Card Poker strategy for leveraging the odds? Mathematically, the most effective approach is to raise whenever you’re holding a Q-6-4, or better. Anything else, fold. It may sound overly simplistic, but it is widely considered the optimal strategy for 3 Card Poker.
Three Card Poker Strategy
Three Card Poker (sometimes called Tri Card Poker) is technically two games in one. There is an Ante bet, which you can fold or raise, and a Pair Plus bet. The two bets are played exclusive of each other, though their outcomes are based on the same hand.
Those who are new to 3-Card Poker are often intimidated by it because it doesn’t follow the same rules as other poker-related casino games. Once you learn the rules and odds, Three Card Poker strategy will become much clearer.
We’ll focus on 3 Card Poker strategy so you’ll have confidence when you play the game at your preferred online casinos. We’ll spend most of our time addressing the Ante bet, and offer a few tips regarding the Pair Plus. If you’re uncertain regarding where to play Three Card Poker, you’ll find a list of our recommended online casinos lower on this page.
Basic Strategy For Three Card Poker
The strategy for real money Three Card Poker is simple and easy to remember: Raise if your hand has a ranking value of Q-6-4, or higher. Score your hand beginning with the highest ranking card. For example, a Q-8-9, Q-7-2, and K-3-2 would each demand a Raise since each has a higher rank than a Q-6-4. By contrast, a J-8-9 should be folded.
Another tip: before betting the Pair Plus, take a look at the pay table. Some tables, like the one listed above, carry a house edge of only 2.32% (the lowest we have seen online). Other tables carry a house edge that climbs toward 7.30%. It is an enormous difference, and worth noting.
Optimal Three Card Poker Strategy
The best strategy you can use in 3-Card Poker is to raise with a Q-6-4 or better, and fold everything else. The Q-6-4 does not have to be in the same suit. Nor should it matter what your previous hands showed. There is probably a statistical element to exploit toward the end of a shoe, but the advantage to doing so would be extremely small. So small, in fact, it would be a waste of time to pursue.
Now, let’s clarify a few points about the Q-6-4 strategy. Whenever you rank hands, do so from highest card to lowest. In this case, if your first card is a Queen, use the second card to determine whether you should fold or raise. Likewise, if your second card is a 6, use the third card to make your decision.
As an easy example, suppose you have a Q-6-5. This would obviously beat a Q-6-4, and thus you should raise. But suppose you have a Q-5-9. Since your Queen matches the first card of our “litmus test” hand (i.e. Q-6-4), move to your second card: the 5. Because it is lower than a 6, you should fold.
By using this Three Card Poker strategy, you’ll essentially be able to put the game on autopilot. Plus, by doing so, you’ll know that you’re maximizing your chances of winning, and taking advantage of the lowest possible house edge.
Should You Make The Pair Plus Bet?
A lot of 3-Card Poker players are unable to resist making the Pair Plus bet. It pays out according to a separate pay table with a Straight Flush paying 40 to 1. Given the high payouts, it’s understandable that people feel drawn to this bet.
Our recommendation? Avoid the Pair Plus. Here’s why…
Based on where you’re playing Three Card Poker, any of five or six pay tables might be used for this particular bet. The lowest house edge we’ve seen is 2.32%. It’s rare. (Bodog uses it). The worst house edge we’ve seen on the Pair Plus is an atrocious 7.28%. If you are playing at Bodog, it’s worth making the bet. Otherwise, be wary of the Pair Plus.
Real Money Three Card Poker
A lot of people think real money Three Card Poker has been around for decades. In reality, it was invented in 1994, and has since become a popular game played in casinos throughout the U.S. Most online casinos that cater to U.S. players offer the game in their software.
Below, we’ll explain how to play 3 Card Poker, and offer a few tips to help you get started.
Rules For Playing Three Card Poker Real Money
Three Card Poker is actually two separate games played at the same time. The first part involves an Ante and Raise. The second part involves a bet called the Pair Plus. We’ll start by explaining the Ante and Raise.
Once you post an Ante, you’ll receive three cards face-up. The dealer will receive three cards face-down. The only decision you’ll need to make at this point is whether to Raise. If you choose to do so, your Raise must equal your Ante.
Your initial three cards are the only cards you’ll receive in the hand. If you’re confident they will beat the dealer’s hand, raise. Otherwise, fold. If you fold, you’ll lose your Ante.
Cards are ranked according to normal poker hand values. The one notable exception is that a straight beats a flush. However, before your hand can be compared to the dealer’s hand, the latter must contain a Queen or higher. If it does not, you’ll be paid even money (1:1) on your Ante, and your Raise is pushed back.
Thus far, we’ve ignored the Pair Plus bet. Let’s address this bet now.
The Pair Plus bet is not a wager on whether your hand will beat the dealer’s hand. It is a bet on whether your hand will contain a pair or better. If it does, you’ll be paid out according to the casino’s Pair Plus pay table.
If your hand does not contain a pair or higher, you will lose your Pair Plus bet. It is possible to be paid even money on your Ante and Raise, yet still lose your Pair Plus. For example, this would be the case if your hand contains a A-Q-J (different suits) and the dealer’s hand contains a K-Q-9. The dealer qualifies, and thus you would win the Ante and Raise. However, lacking a pair or better, you would lose the Pair Plus.
Top Casinos To Play Three Card Poker Online
If you’re new to 3 Card Poker, the rules described above may be intimidating. They’re actually simple, and will seem like second nature once you play a few hands. We’ve chosen the following online casinos based on several criteria. Their bonuses are important, but so is their software, other promotions, and game selection. Each of these also have an “Instant Play” environment; as we mentioned, you can enjoy Three Card Poker online within your browser.
- Bovada Casino – (used to be Bodog Casino) They enjoy as close to a perfect reputation in the online gambling industry as you’re likely to see. You’ll find a straightforward, instant and unlimited 10% sign-up bonus when you visit their site. Plus, because Bovada also maintains a full-fledged poker room, sportsbook, and racebook, you’ll have plenty of options to enjoy. Visit Bovada.com to claim your 10% sign-up bonus.
- Casino Titan – You’ll find a sign-up bonus for newcomers to be an extra perk as you get in on the action at casinotitan.com. Their selection of slot machines, table games, and video poker will be an added advantage as well. Head over to Casino Titan now to get Tri Card Poker real money.
You’re the only one who can decide whether a given online casino meets your expectations. This is the reason we encourage you to test drive the gambling site listed above. In addition to the bonuses, promotions, and other benefits, it will let you enjoy real money Three Card Poker for free.