Playing 3 Card Poker Online

The Complete Guide to Playing Real Money 3 Card Poker Games Online

3 Card Poker is an entertaining and relatively straightforward card game which is very popular at both brick and mortar and online casinos. Each hand plays quickly and the optimal strategy of the game is quick and easy to understand. In this article I start by looking at the rules of the game, detailing both of the opening bets you can place, as well as the additional raise on offer. I then explain exactly how you’ll win and describe what a ‘dealer qualified hand is’. I move onto  look at the perfect strategy you can employ when playing 3 card poker, finishing up with a look at how you’ll be able to play the game in a live casino environment.

How 3 Card Poker Works - The Rules

On the card table, you’ll find three betting options available at the start of the game. Firstly, there is the ante, which is the opening bet you’ll place to start a hand. Secondly there is the Pair+ bet, which works as a side bet – you’ll also place this at the start of a hand. Finally there is the raise bet, which can only be placed during the hand after your cards are dealt.

Having placed the ante and/or the Pair+ bet (I say and/or because the pair+ side bet can be played in isolation) you will be dealt 3 cards face upwards, while the dealer will be dealt 3 cards face down. You’ll now have a decision to make – in fact the only decision you’ll make at the game. You can now fold or raise. A fold sees you lose the ante bet, as well as the pair+ side bet if you have placed it. If you raise, you’ll place another bet the same size as the ante. Now the dealer’s cards will be turned over.

Now the dealer’s hand is compared to the players, and if the dealer’s hand is better, both the ante and the raise bets will lose. If the player’s hand is better, the player will win the ante bet 100% of the time, but will only win the raise portion of the bet if the dealer’s hand is qualified. A qualified hand is any which has a Queen or better in it. If the player wins and the dealer’s hand isn’t qualified, then the raise portion of the bet will be a push. Alongside any winning hand you will receive an even money bonus win in relation to the ante bet if hitting a straight, a 4 to 1 bonus win if hitting 3 of a kind and a 5 to 1 bonus win when hitting a straight flush.

The pair+ side bet has a different payout chart. By the name of the side bet, you might have worked out that you’ll need a pair or better to win here. You’ll get even money if you do indeed land a pair, 4 to 1 for flush and 6 to 1 for a straight. The real big money comes for the two biggest hands with a 30 to 1 payout for 3 of a kind and 40 to 1 for a straight flush. Having made the pair+ side bet, this will only pay out if you continue in the hand by raising (although as detailed below in the strategy section, if you have a pair or better, you certainly shouldn’t be folding!).

3 Card Poker Strategy

Some casino games such as blackjack or video poker require a little bit of brain work when it comes to strategy, as you might have to consult a table or a chart. 3 Card Poker has a much more simple optimum strategy – simply raise if you have been dealt Q, 6, 4 or better and fold if you have worse.

Live Dealer 3 Card Poker

In addition to the virtual game, you’ll find a number of live dealer casinos which offer the game. When playing at a live dealer site, you’ll place your bets in exactly the same way as you would at a virtual table, but that is the only similarity to the virtual game. The action is streamed from a live casino, so you’ll be betting on the turn of real cards, dealt by real life dealers. These dealers are usually both friendly and attractive, ensuring a pleasurable gaming experience, as the dealer will welcome players and interact with them – the dealer audibly while the player can chat through a chat box.

Generally you’ll find the minimum table limits at the live dealer games slightly larger than at the virtual tables.

More Casino Table Game Articles:

- Real Money Baccarat Online

- Real Money Table Games (main page with links to many other articles)