3 Card Poker Live CasinoThree Card Poker might not have the prestige and glamour afforded by some of its cousins, but as an online game, it has become increasingly popular. In fact, it is among the most popular live poker games at the live casinos. This is because of offering the core principles of other poker games, but packed into a fast-paced game that is entertaining and dramatic in equal measure.

The first big difference between live Three Card Poker and many other variations of poker is that you do not go up against other players. Instead, you pit your wits against the dealer. As for the other main difference, the clue is in the name of live 3-card poker. That’s right, rather than making a hand from five cards as you would in Texas Hold’em, 5-Card Stud, or Omaha Hi-Lo, you use just three to make your best poker hand.

Using fewer cards carries plenty of benefits. For one, it is the perfect introduction to poker games for beginners, as the rules are easy to understand. Second, even experienced poker players will enjoy a toned-down poker variation that offers faster action. Faster games mean more hands per hour, and for a serious player, more hands mean more opportunities to win!

Of course, if you have not played Three Card Poker at a live casino before, you will want to learn how to play before you do. There is no point sitting at a table and betting your hard-earned cash if you have no idea what you are doing. You might as well just throw your money down the toilet. That is why we have prepared this in-depth guide that gives you all you need to know before you sit down and play.

Our Three Card Poker Guide: If Three Card Poker is a live casino game you’re yet to play, this guide will tell you what you need to know. We will explain the rules, side bets, odds, and even give you a few tips and strategies at the end.

Three Card Poker Explained – Against the Dealer and With No Bluffing Required!

Poker is one of the oldest gambling games around. In fact, it is nearly as old as the classic table game roulette. Both games go back at least a couple of centuries but are still popular today. Poker was played in the days of the wild west when it was not only your money you could lose when playing. Win against the wrong guy and you could find yourself in a Western Duel. However, poker lost its appeal for a while after that, at least until it saw a big revival in the mid to late 1900s. The World Series of Poker is a big reason for that. This annual event featured tournaments that attracted the world’s best poker players and grew in popularity even more once it was televised. Once the internet became a thing, so did online poker. Thanks to the exposure that the WSOP brought this classic card game, the online poker industry boomed as players around the world sat to play against strangers online.

However, while famous classic poker games such as Unlimited Texas Hold’em are great fun, playing them can get tedious after a while. Whether you play in a long drawn out tournament for a few hours and then bust out before the paying places, or sit at cash games waiting for a handful of other players to make their move, sometimes you might want to just play a fast-paced game that lets you see many hands during your session. This is where live Three Card Poker comes in, as this is an action-packed but minimalistic variation of poker. You play directly against the dealer, receive just three cards, and do not have to worry about your poker face or bluffing, as there are no community cards or raising involved.

Differences between ‘offline’ and ‘online’ Three Card Poker: If you played Three Card Poker at home with friends, you will notice some key differences. First off, you all compete against each other rather than against the ‘Banker/Dealer’ in Live Three Card Poker. Also, when playing at home, you will generally find a larger selection of side bets when playing offline as well.

How to Play Three Card Poker Online

The first thing to realise is that as the name suggests, this game is played with three cards in each hand. You should not confuse it with other poker games such as Casino Hold’em and Texas Hold’em which involve making a 5-card hand from 3 hole cards and 5 communal cards.

The objective of Three Card Poker is simple, your aim is to beat the live dealer with your three cards versus his/hers. The game uses one full deck of 52 playing cards and once the player places his original stake, both the player and the dealer will receive three cards. Both the player and dealer will receive their cards face down. At this point, the player must make a decision whether to continue playing or to ‘Fold’ their hand. if the latter, it is the end of the round and the player loses his ‘Ante’.

If the player decides to play on, he/she must place an ‘Ante’ that is equal to the original stake bet. At this point, the hands are revealed and the best hand wins. The dealer must have a hand that is better than a Queen high to qualify. Should the dealer fail to qualify for the hand, the player receives his/her stake bet back and is then paid out 1:1 on the ‘Ante’ bet.

  • If the dealer’s hand does qualify and the player beats it, the player is paid 1:1 on both the original stake and on the ‘Ante’ bet.
  • If the dealer wins, then the player loses both the original stake and the ‘Ante’ Bet.
  • If the hand is a tie, it is a push which means both bets are returned to the player.

Three Card Poker Explained

  • Three Card Poker is played with a single 52 deck of cards
  • This live casino game has a base game RTP of 96.63%
  • Like other poker games, there are no community cards
  • The action starts by placing a bet and side bets (optional)
  • The player and dealer both dealt 3 cards face down
  • You look at your cards and decide to play on or ‘fold’
  • Playing requires placing an ‘Ante’ equal to the original bet
  • Dealer must have a Queen high to qualify (if not, the player receives the original stake plus is paid 1:1 on Ante bet)
  • If the dealer wins, the player loses both bets
  • If the dealer qualifies and the player wins, the player will receive 1:1 on both bets
  • Side bets are independent of the base game

House Edge: As with any casino game, there is a house edge that ensures that the casino makes money over an extended period of time. This is created by essentially requiring players to have to beat a Queen high on every hand. That is the qualifying hand for the dealer. Of course, many players will ‘Fold’ any hand that does not beat a Queen high. The only way to get a return if you do not beat Queen high is to hope that the dealer’s hand does not qualify. You will receive your original stake back and then 1:1 on your ante bet. However, that is not an optimal strategy. The house edge for the base game of Three Card Poker is 3.37% which is quite high for a casino table game. However, if you read our strategy and tips section, we will show you how you can reduce that to just 2.01%.

Three Card Poker – Hand Rankings

If you have previously played any form of poker in the past, you will probably have a bit of a head start in terms of understanding the hand rankings of Three Card Poker. However, while they are similar, there are still several differences between the hands used in this poker game and those used in others. For instance, as players make their hands from just three cards instead of five, there is no 4 of a Kind or Full House. Also, while the Royal Flush, Straight Flush, Flush, and Straight require 5 cards in other variations, you need just 3 to make them in Three Card Poker.

The player or dealer that has the highest hand in the accompanying table, will win the hand. Do not forget that the dealer has to have at least a Queen high to qualify, so your ‘High’ card should ideally beat that if you plan on playing on. Anyhow, we will look at strategy a bit later on. Also, note that you can still lose to the same hand as you’re holding. For instance, a 10-J-Q straight beats a 4-5-6 straight as it uses higher valued cards. The same goes for a 3-of-a-kind, flush, etc.

Three Card Poker Hand Rankings

  • Royal Flush (Q, K, and A of the same suit)
  • Straight Flush (any sequence of cards in the same suit, for example, 2-3-4)
  • Flush (Any 3 cards of the same suit)
  • Straight (Any 3 cards in sequence, for example, 5-6-7)
  • 3 of a Kind (3 of the same cards in different suits, for example, 7-7-7)
  • A Pair (Any pair of cards in different suits, for example, 10-10)
  • High Card (Your highest value single card)

Kicker Cards: Any spare cards not used for your main hand could still play an important part. Say both you and the dealer had a Queen high. Who wins will come down to who has the best ‘Kicker’ cards. So, a Q-J-2 will beat a Q-10-9 due to having the highest valued kicker card (Jack). This could also occur if you both have a pair of the same value, so K-K, for example. Whoever has the highest valued ‘Kicker’ card will determine the winner.

Live Online Three Card Poker Side Bets

For some of you, playing for a potential payout of just 1 to 1 on each hand may not sound too exciting. It might feel like a coin flip or betting on red or black at the live European Roulette tables. This is understandable and also the reason why there are side bets that you can place, which are independent of the result of your main bet. The side bets available will depend on the Three Card Poker game you are playing, so make sure you find out what these are before you start playing. Whether you lose, win, or draw your main hand, your side bets will payout should they come in. Your main result has no bearing on the success of your side bets in any way.

  • Ante Bonus Side Bet: An independent bet that pays out if your hand is a Straight, 3 of a Kind, or Straight Flush – This pays even if the dealer beats your hand.
  • Pairs Plus Side Bet: Similar to the above, this side bet pays out if your hand is a pair or higher.
  • 6 Card Bonus Side Bet: This side bet involves all the cards (player and dealer). If the six cards combined make a 3 of a kind or better, you win. Note: This side bet means making a 5-card hand like in traditional poker. So, a royal flush, straight, Flush, etc, requires 5-cards.

The payouts for each side bet are listed below. As you will see, this is where you can start to enjoy larger payouts, although the odds of winning are much lower.

Ante Bonus Side Bet

Hand Payout
Straight Flush 5 to 1
3 of a Kind 4 to 1
Straight 1 to 1

Pairs Plus Side Bet

Hand Payout
Royal Flush 100 to 1
Straight Flush 40 to 1
3 of a Kind 30 to 1
Straight 5 to 1
Flush 4 to 1

6 Card Bonus Side Bet

Hand Payout
Royal Flush 1000 to 1
Straight Flush 200 to 1
4 of a Kind 100 to 1
Full House 20 to 1
Flush 15 to 1
Straight 10 to 1
3 of a Kind 7 to 1
Three Card Poker – Tips, Tricks, and Strategies

In traditional poker, you go up against other players, so it is much easier to have a strategy in place. You could play aggressively (bet a lot), tight (wait for the best hands), or just bluff your way through hands (bet with poor cards) depending on your feelings about how your opponent plays. traditional poker is a game of wits and many consider it a game of skill as well. Three Card Poker, on the other hand, is definitely a game of chance just like any other live casino game. You cannot bluff the dealer as there are no community cards or betting rounds. The game will always play out if you choose to match your original bet with the ‘Ante’ bet. You have no control over what the dealer does, which is nothing other than revealing his/her cards. For that reason, there is no strategy that can guarantee you success when playing Three Card Poker.

You can, however, improve your chances by playing an optimal strategy. In fact, playing optimally will reduce the house edge of the base game of Three Card Poker to just 2%! The optimal strategy comes down to only playing hands where your cards are equal to or better than Q-6-4. The dealer only qualifies with a Queen high, remember, so by having at least a Queen and the mid-range (6) kicker, you should win around half of the hands when the dealer only has a Queen high. Obviously, that is the minimum hand you should play, so any hand you play that has a higher hand ranking will have a higher chance of success.

Although independent of the base game and offering the chance of bigger payouts, the side bets have lower RTP (higher house edge). For example, playing the Pair Plus side bet has an RTP of just 95.51%, so gives the house an edge of 4.49%. For your best chance of long-term success, stick to the base game and play the optimal strategy mentioned above.

Questions and Answers About the 3 Card Poker Live Casino Game!

Is there a safe 3 card poker strategy?

No strategy can guarantee success when playing any live casino game. However, you can reduce the house edge from 3.37% to 2.01% in Three Card Poker by playing an optimal strategy. Only play on when you have a Q-6-4 or higher. You will not always win, but this is the basic strategy that gives you the best RTP over the long term.

What side bets can be placed in Three Card Poker?

To give you the chance to place additional bets and have the potential to win larger payouts, many live casino Three Card Poker titles will offer side bets. You may come across side bets, including the Ante Bonus, Pair Plus, and Six Card Bonus. These side bets are independent of your main bet, so will payout even if you lose the hand.

What are the 3 Card Poker Probabilities of Winning?

Three Card Poker has an RTP of 96.63%, which on its own is quite low – especially compared to other casino games such as live Blackjack. However, as mentioned, you can at least close the gap by playing an optimal strategy. That strategy is mentioned above and also in the strategy section of the guide.

Are There Three Card Poker Tips for Starting Hands?

In traditional poker games, you can still win hands even if you have the worst hand. Aggressive betting strategies and bluffs can force your opponents to fold. However, you have no such control in Three Card Poker as the hand will play out regardless, as there are no additional betting rounds and you’re playing against a dealer rather than other players. For that reason, your starting hand is very important. As the dealer will not qualify unless they have at least a Queen high, never play anything lower than a Queen high. Ideally, go for the Q-6-4 minimum starting hand to ensure an optimal strategy.

What Does Ante Bonus Mean?

This is one of the side bets that you might find when playing live Three Card Poker. It is independent of the result of the base hand. You could lose the main hand but still win the side bet. You will receive 1:1 if your hand is a straight, 4:1 if it is a 3 of a kind, and 5:1 if you make a straight flush.

What Does Fold Mean?

After placing your original stake, you will receive your three cards. You have two options, you can either match your original bet with an equal ‘Ante’ bet to play the game until the end or ‘Fold’ your hand. Essentially, ‘Fold’ means to give up your hand and lose your bet.

What are the Payouts in Three Card Poker?

In three card poker, you will win 1:1 if you win your hand. That is 1:1 for both your original stake and your ‘Ante’ bet. If the dealer’s hand does not qualify, your original stake is returned, and you are paid 1:1 on your ‘Ante’ bet. Of course, losing the hand loses all your bets. Although to many, the payouts might not sound exciting, you do have the option of placing side bets that offer the potential of bigger returns.

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 1

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.