Online Three Card Poker: Basic Rules and Strategy

In the last two decades, three card poker has been recognized as the most successful table game to be added to casinos, and today, with the advent of online gambling, you can play from within the comfort of your own home. Unlike other games, such as blackjack, there is little serious strategy surrounding three card poker, but it is simple to learn, fun to play and easy to understand.

Initially invented and introduced to casinos across the globe by the English poker player, Derek Webb, the game currently has over 1600 tables in various casinos, not to mention numerous online options. If you know the basic strategy, three card poker has a reasonably low house edge, which could make it the ideal game for having fun, and making easy money.

Placing Your Bet

The first thing to know about this game is the different hands you can play: Pair Plus and Ante. You can either bet both types of bet, or just one at a time. The Pair Plus bet is a wager that has been made independent of the cards that the dealers may have, and focuses solely on whether your three cards will provide a pair or higher. The Ante bet, on the other hand, is a wage that is placed against the dealer’s cards. To win with a pair plus wager, you simply need at least a pair in your cards, whereas to win with the Ante, you need better cards than the dealer.

Playing the Game

Once bets have been made, you will be dealt three cards, and if you have made the Ante bet, you will need to decide whether your hand is likely to be better than the dealer’s. You can either play, or fold, according to the cards that you have. Once everyone has received their cards, and you have chosen whether to continue playing, the dealer will turn his cards up. In order to play, the dealer needs a Queen or higher, otherwise he or she will not 'qualify'. Players earn 1 to 1 on their Ante bet, and can take back their play bet. If your dealer qualifies for the round, then his or her cards will be considered in comparison to the cards of the players to decide who has the best hand.

The Hands

From worst to best, the hands available in three card poker include:

  • High card
  • Pair
  • Flush
  • Straight
  • Three of a Kind
  • Straight Flush

If you win with a hand that is a straight or better, you may get a bonus on top of your standard payout. The basic strategy that most players are advised to remember with three hand poker is to play any hand that possesses a card that is a Queen or higher, and fold the remaining hands.