Three Card Poker is one of the popular table card games, it is not only easy to play but it is also a lot of fun.
The game is played with a single deck of 52 cards. It is actually two games in one.
- There is the Play/Ante game where you are playing against the dealer to see who has the highest hand.
- There is also the Pair Plus game where you are wagering on whether or not you will be dealt a pair or better. (this is a winner regardless of dealers hand can also be referred to as bonus game)
You can bet on either of them individually or bet on them simultaneously.
There are three betting circles in front of each seat.
- The top betting circle is labeled Pair Plus where the player puts a wager on the pair plus game.
- Beneath that are two circles labeled Ante and Play for the base game.
- The game starts with the player making a wager in the Pair Plus and or Ante circle equal to the table minimum.
- After all the players have made their bets the dealer will deal each player (including the dealer) a three card hand all face down.
- Play begins with the first player to the dealer’s left and continues clockwise around the table.
If a player has made a bet on the Ante they must make their decision to fold or play after looking at their hand. If the player folds he forfeits their Ante wager. If the players want to continue they must make an additional bet in the Play circle equal to their Ante bet.
After all the players have made their decisions, the dealer will turn over their three card hand. The dealer needs to “qualify” with a hand of Queen or higher for play to continue. If the dealer’s hand does not contain a Queen or higher all players still active in the hand will be paid equivalent pays on their pair plus wager and even money for their Ante wager and their bet on the Play will be returned to them.
If the dealer’s hand does qualify then their hand is compared to the player’s hand. If your hand beats the dealers hand you will be paid even money for your Ante and Play bets. If the dealer’s hand beats your hand you lose both bets. In the rare event of a tie then it’s a ‘standoff’/ ‘push’.
The Hand Rankings
Straight Flush. Three cards of the same suit in sequence.
(Example 6-7-8 of spades.)
Three of a Kind. Three cards of equal rank.
(Example Three queens, Three 3s.)
Straight. Three cards in sequence of mixed suits.
(Example 6-7-8 of any mixed suits.)
Flush. Three cards of the same suit.
(Example 6-7-Ace of same suit.)
Pair. Two cards of equal rank.
High Card. The highest card in your hand.
Ante Extra Bonus
There is a bonus payout on the Ante bet for certain hands and the bonus does not require an additional wager. If you have a straight, three-of-a-kind or straight flush, you will be paid a bonus if you are beating dealers’ hand.
The bonus payout is paid based on the pay table posted at the table and dealer opens or has a minimum qualification.
For a straight flush you will be paid 5 to 1.
For three of a kind you will be paid 4 to 1.
For a straight you receive 1 to 1 for your Ante bet.
The Pair Plus wager is based only on whether your three card hand has a Pair or higher. It doesn’t matter if the dealer qualifies or even beats you or if you have a bet on the Ante Game.
If your hand has a pair or better you win. If it does not have at least a pair you will lose regardless of dealer’s hand.
The Pair Plus wager is paid based on the pay table posted at the table.
Easy and Fun
Much of the popularity of Three Card Poker comes from the simplicity of the game. Since you are not playing against the other players a camaraderieship can develop amongst the players as they root and cheer for each other to beat the dealer.