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Three Card Poker

Three Card Poker, also known as “Tri Card Poker,” is one of the simplest table games that is offered at casinos online and across the world. There is basically just one decision for a player to make, and the rules which influence this decision do not change from one hand to the next. This makes it one of the easiest table games to learn. 

If you already know how to play any form of poker, you can likely learn Three Card Poker in just a few minutes. You can practice for free below, compliments of Bovada or read on to learn more about payouts and how to play.

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How to Play Three Card Poker

Players start out the game by choosing between placing two types of bets. There is an ante bet and also a Pair Plus side bet which is optional. Three Card Poker is one of the few games where you can place a side bet without making the bet pertaining to the hand, which in this case is the ante. A player that makes the Pair Plus bet without putting any money on the ante will have no decision to make once receiving his three cards. If this is the case, the player will win only if they make a pair or better, which we’ll go over in further detail below.

Once all bets and side bets have been placed, all players are then dealt three cards face up. The dealer also receives three cards, all of which are dealt face down. Players look at their cards to determine whether they will play the remainder of the hand or fold their hand and surrender their ante bet (and pair plus bet if they did not qualify). Players should raise on any hand of queen, six, four or better. This means any hand that does not include an ace, king, queen, pair, straight, flush, or straight flush should be folded.

Folding Your Hand

A fold gives the ante to the house and the hand ends for the player. A player that raises then matches the ante bet and tucks the cards under the chips on the felt.

Once all players have made their decision, the dealer will show his three cards. The dealer’s hand is then compared to the player’s hand. Players are only up against the dealer and not each other.

Dealer Qualifying Hands

The dealer must have at least a queen high to qualify. If the dealer does not qualify, the ante is paid 1:1 and the raise pushes. If the dealer qualifies, the best hand wins. If the player prevails, his ante and raise bet will be matched. One item to point out is that straights beat flushes in Three Card Poker. It is mathematically easier to make a flush than a straight when only three cards are dealt.

Ante Bonus Wins

There are three bonus hands that receive an additional payout when the ante bet is wagered. The bonus is paid regardless of whether the hand wins or loses. The video version of Three Card Poker in live casinos does not offer the ante bonus.

  • – Straight flush: 5-1
  • Three of a kind: 4-1
  • Straight: 1-1

Pair Plus Bet

The Pair Plus side bet wins on any hand of a pair or better. The bet wins, even if the hand loses to the dealer. There are also special payouts based on the strength of the hand which are outlined below.

Pair Plus Payouts

  • Straight flush: 40-1
  • Three of a kind: 30-1
  • Straight: 6-1
  • Flush: 3-1
  • Any pair: 1-1

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