Three Card Poker

Three Card Poker is a variant of poker that you play against the dealer. You play with three cards. The goal is to beat the dealer.

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Popular table game

The casino table game Three Card Poker is an exciting game that contains elements of poker and Blackjack. In almost all poker games you play against other players, but in Three Card Poker you play one on one against the dealer. You sometimes see multiple players sitting at the Three Card Poker table in real casinos, but each player plays the game individually against the house.

The game principles of Three Card Poker are relatively simple and easy to pick up on for anyone who has ever played poker or blackjack. With Three Card Poker you can win big making it a popular game in real casinos and online casinos.

In this article, we'll explain how Three Card Poker plays and the best strategies to follow to win.
Three Card Poker cards

The popular table game Three Card Poker has gained popularity not only because it is fun, but also because it is easy to learn. The game is played with a standard deck of 52 playing cards without the jokers, and after each game the entire deck is shuffled again. The goal of 3 Card Poker is to make the best possible poker hand with just three cards.

How do you play Three Card Poker?

1. Bet the ante

You start the Three Card Poker game with an ante bet. On the poker table you will see 3 squares: Ante, Play and Pair Plus. Before the cards are dealt, place a bet in the ante box.

At this point you can also place a Pair Plus bet. The name of the bet refers to the fact that the player must have at least one pair to win this bet.

2. The cards are dealt

The dealer then gives you three cards, and the dealer also deals himself three cards that are placed face down. You can now look at your cards to see what kind of hand you have.

3. Fold or call

After viewing your cards, you can choose whether to fold or call. If you choose to fold, you withdraw yourself from the game. If you have bad cards, choose to fold. You do lose your ante bet if you fold.

Do you have good cards? Then you can choose to increase your bet which is called calling. You then place a bet that is equal to your ante bet.

4. Comparing hands

When you have called, the dealer also turns his cards and compares the hands. Whoever has the best hand wins.

3 card poker
Three Card Poker

Rules of the game

If you look at the Three Card Poker table you will see 3 squares: Ante, Play and Pair Plus. When the Three Card Poker game begins, the player places an ante bet in the ante box before the cards are dealt. The player can also place a Pair Plus bet. This bet is so called because the player must have at least one pair to win the bet.

Then the dealer deals each player and himself three cards. The dealer's cards are face down and the player can only view his own cards. After the player has looked at his cards, he can choose to fold or call.

To fold means to withdraw from the game. You do that if you think you have bad cards, and you lose your ante bet. If you think you have good cards, you can choose to increase your bet by calling. That means you must place a bet equal to your ante bet.

If you have bet, the dealer also turns over his cards and it is determined whether the player has a better hand than the dealer.

Winning card combinations

Three Card Poker's winning card combinations are slightly different from other poker games because you only play with 3 cards.

 Combination  Cards
 Straight flush  Three cards of the same suit and in consecutive values
 three of a kind  Three cards of the same rank
 Straight  Three cards with consecutive values ​​of different suits
 Flush  Three cards of the same suit
 Peer  Two cards of the same rank
 high card  The highest card value


If the dealer's hand is better, the player loses both ante and play bets. If the dealer's highest card is a jack, the play bet is returned to the player, and the ante bet remains for the next game. If the dealer has queen or better, both the game bet and the ante are paid 1 to 1 if the player has a better hand than the dealer.

Antebonus payouts may look something like this, but this may vary by casino:

 Ante payout  
 Straight flush  5: 1
 Three of a Kind  4: 1
 Straight  1: 1

The other bet you can place at Three Card Poker is known as the Pair Plus bet. Placing the bet gives you the chance of a significant extra payout if you happen to have a good hand. The pair plus bet is determined completely independently of what the dealer has based on the table below:

 Pair Plus payout  
 Straight flush  40: 1
 Three of a Kind  30: 1
 Straight  6: 1
 Flush  3: 1
 Peer  1:1

Three Card Poker Facts

png 3 card poker

Species Prime Three Card Poker
Invented by Derek Webb in 1994
Origin derived from 'Primero' or 'Primera' which means 'first'
Meaning 'first' First card game according to Italian literature


It's not just Three Card Poker rules that are easy to learn. The same also applies to the 3 Card Poker strategy. You really only have to remember one combination of cards on which you can decide whether it is wise to call or fold.

You only place a call bet if you have the combination of the cards below, or higher:

  • A woman, a six and a four.
  • Choose fold for everything lower.

Some players favor a strategy based on mimicking the dealer's action, or in other words calling on any hand where you have a queen or higher.

Gambling experts have found that this is generally a viable strategy that lowers the house edge to 3,45 percent, as opposed to 7,65 percent when played only instinctively.

However, the woman six four strategy lowers house edge more than any other strategy, so keeping the woman six four strategy as the minimum to call will save you money in the long run.

Types of 3 Card Poker

Some casinos in the UK offer a game known as Prime Three Card Poker. The Prime bet is optional and is placed before any cards are dealt. With this bet you bet on the suit of the player cards.

If all three cards are of the same suit, the payout is 3 to 1. If. Also. If the dealer's cards are the same suit, the payout is increased to 4 to 1.

Another variation is 'six card bonus'. With this variant you can also place a side bet at the same time as the ante bet. In doing so, you get a payout based on the best five-card poker hand you can make with any combination of the player's three cards and the dealer's three cards.


As attractive as it may seem, it is better not to place any Pair Plus bets too often - or even better. By betting on Pair Plus, the house advantage increases by more than 2,3 percent.

The large payout percentages on a Straight flush (40 to 1), for example, sound very lucrative, but you will undoubtedly lose more if you use this bet often.

Play Now

Playing 3 Card Poker is very exciting, but it requires some knowledge of the game rules. To master these before you real money You can play the game for free first at many online casinos in the instant-play or demo version of 3 Card Poker. With the free chips you can practice betting without the risk of losing real money right away.

Play online

3 Card Poker is one of the most popular table games you can play in a real casino, but nowadays you can also play it at online casinos. Please note the following if you want to play 3 Card Poker at an online casino:

  • Can you play it safe?

  • The most important condition you must set for a online casino is that you can play there safely. Make sure they use 128-bit SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption, which you can recognize by the green padlock in the navigation bar, and they use two-factor authentication (2FA).

    Another indication of a reliable online casino is a European one license and a Random Number Generator controlled by independent bodies.

  • What are the deposit and cashout options?

  • It is not pleasant if you have to use a different payment method for each casino. Check if they have the payment options offer that you regularly use, and do not forget to check which payment method you will be paid with and how long you have to wait for it.

  • What is the quality of the customer service?

  • The customer service determines whether you have a pleasant experience at an online casino or not. Check the reviews about the online casino where you want to play 3 Card Poker, and avoid the casinos with bad reviews. You only want to play at an online casino where customer service responds adequately to your questions as quickly as possible.

Where do you play 3 Card Poker?

3 Card Poker is a popular game in real casinos and is also offered by many online casinos. You can play it against the computer and some online casinos also offer a live version of 3 Card Poker. This page lists the best online casinos for playing 3 Card Poker.

3 card poker
3 Card Poker


Experts disagree exactly how 3 Card Poker came to be. Some claim that the origins of 3 Card Poker are derived from an Italian game called 'Primero' or the Spanish game of the same name 'Primera'. Literally translated, this game is called 'first' and, remarkably, it is referred to in Italian literature as the first card game.

Originally, it was played with 40 cards, instead of today's standard 52-card deck. The game combined elements of betting and 'calling' of someone's bluff, something often associated with poker.

The game grew in popularity in mainland Europe before making landfall in the UK. There the name changed changed to Bragg or Brag. Bragg is very similar to 3 Card Poker what we play today. A deck of 52 cards is used and the hand ranking is also comparable.

In 1994 the Englishman Derek Webb saw a gap in the market and started to convert Bragg into a suitable game for the casino tables. He wanted to make a game where a player would play against the house and for that elements like bluffing, checking and the double bet had to be removed.

Instead, he introduced the ante bet and pair plus. Due to gambling regulations in the United Kingdom, Webb was able to introduce the game here, and moved to America. The name 'Casino Brag' was not very recognizable to the American market because Brag was a European game. So to make the game a success, the name changed to Three Card Poker.


In a real casino you could count cards, but an online casino uses a Random Number Generator which makes it impossible to count cards. When it comes to a live casino game you could count cards again.

House advantage is approximately 3,3%.

The goal of 3 Card Poker is to beat the dealer by having a better one card combination.

It is best to stick to the queen-six-four strategy as described above when playing 3 Card Poker.

Our Verdict

Three Card Poker has been very popular in casinos for years and for a reason. It is perhaps the easiest poker variant to play, allowing you to get through the game quickly. And because you play directly against the dealer with only 3 cards, there is a fast pace in the game. That makes it extra compelling and exciting. If you like poker and you like a little pace in the game, Three Card Poker is highly recommended.