Three Card Poker is a popular game at many casinos that uses a standard deck of cards. Whether in person or online, the table has room for seven people, and each player has 3 spaces labelled the ante, pair plus, and play in front of them.
To begin the game, make a bet on the ante, pair plus, or both. All bets throughout the game need to be in $5 increments, though your bets on pair plus and ante don't need to be the same amount. The 2 options do the following:
- Ante: When making this bet, you'll be trying to get a higher hand rank than the dealer.
- Pair Plus: In this bet, you're trying to get a pair or higher in your hand. What the dealer has is irrelevant for this option.
Hand rankings in this game are a little different from regular poker, but they're still simple. They’re from lowest to highest:
- High Card: Your cards aren't in consecutive order and aren't the same suit
- Pair: Two cards that are the same number and another card
- Flush: A hand with 3 cards that have the same suit
- Straight: When you have 3 cards in consecutive order
- Three of a Kind: All 3 of your cards have the same number or face on them
- Straight Flush: When your cards have the same suit and are in consecutive order
Playing The Game
The dealer will then give you and themself 3 face-down cards. Depending on your bet, you'll either be trying to beat the dealer or get above a pair. If there are other players at the table, their cards are irrelevant to your goal. Once you have your cards, you can do 1 of 2 things:
- Discarding Your Hand: If you choose this option, the dealer wins your initial bet.
- Playing Your Hand: To keep playing, you need to place a play bet that matches your first bet. You'll put your chips down after you've had a chance to view your cards and put them in sequential order. You'll also place your cards face down in the play area with your chips.
The game's final stage is to reveal your cards, with the dealer doing the same right after. Then, finally, each hand is compared, and the winner gets the collected amount of money:
- The dealer's hand doesn't qualify to be played if it’s a J-high High Card hand or a lower value. In this case, you and everyone else at the table with a qualifying hand will win their chips back but won't win any additional money. However, if the dealer's hand is better than yours but doesn't qualify, you'll still win your chips back.
- When the dealer has a hand of Q-high High Card or higher value, their hand plays and is compared to yours. If your hand has a higher value, you win an amount equal to your ante and play bets. But, if the dealer's hand has more value, they'll collect the money from your stakes.
Since the pair plus bet isn't dependent on the dealer, the dealer will collect your chips if they aren't a pair or higher. Thus, if you have a higher value hand, you’ll be paid the corresponding winning amount. In the next section, we'll go over the most common payout structures.