In 3 Card Poker, also known as Poker Three, Triple Card Poker and Poker 3 Cards each player is dealt three cards and you compete against the dealer and not the other players.
The hand rankings for 3 Card Poker are as follows:
- Straight Flush – 3 cards in a row of the same suit.
- Three of a Kind – 3 cards of the same ranking.
- Straight – 3 cards in a row, unsuited.
- Flush – 3 cards not in a row, but of the same suit.
- Pair – 2 cards of the same ranking, with 1 other card.
- High Card – 3 cards unsuited, not in a row and of different rankings.
There is no discarding or drawing cards in three card poker – you simply choose one of the following two options:
- Double your bet and allow your hand to compete against the dealer's hand.
- You can choose to fold, sacrificing your initial wager.
If you decide to play Poker Three and compete against the dealer's hand, you place a Play wager equal to your ante wager and the dealer's cards are exposed. The dealer needs Queen-high or better to qualify. If you choose to play against the dealer, one of four Poker Three scenarios will occur:
- Dealer does not qualify – player's ante bet wins 1:1 and Play bet is returned.
- Dealer qualifies and player beats the dealer – both ante and Play bet win 1:1.
- Dealer qualifies and beats the player – both ante and Play bets are lost.
- Dealer qualifies and dealer ties with the player – both ante and Play bets are pushed back to the player.
The player's ante bet has an extra bonus that does not depend on the dealer's hand. Different casinos will offer different pay tables for this bonus. Generally, if the player has a Straight or higher, a bonus is paid on the ante wager.
PairPlus is a sidebet you can wager on when you play three card poker. There is no skill involved, you simply place a wager and are paid according to the hand ranking of your 3 cards, with the big payouts coming if you hit a Straight Flush or 3 of a Kind.
Three Card Poker Strategy
The basic Poker Three strategy is to raise when having Q-6-4 or better and to fold with a weaker hand. As the hand value in any poker game is determined by the highest card, this also applies to 3 card poker. Therefore, better than Q-6-4 would be any hand with a Q and 7 or higher in it, for example Q-7-2 (the last card doesn't matter, because 7 beats 6). Wager strategies usually applied in Three Card Poker are to play Pair Plus and ante wagers for equal amounts, or to double either Pair Plus or the ante wager.