How to Play Three Card Poker

Play with three cards and win four ways


pdf.pngHow to Play Three Card Poker

Three Ways to Play—Four Ways to Win

Three Card Poker is one of the most requested games in the Casino today. It is a stud poker game using one deck of 52 cards. The table can accommodate seven players; each position has three spaces marked Ante, Play and Pair Plus directly in front of it. Players can bet the Ante, Pair Plus or both to begin the game. All bets must be in $5 increments, but the Ante and Pair Plus bets do not have to be the same amount. Then, each player—and the dealer—will be dealt three cards face-down.

The Ante and Play Bets

The Ante is a bet against the dealer's hand. After the player views his/her cards, he/she must decide if his/her hand can beat the dealer's. If so, he/she must make an additional wager equal to the Ante bet called the Play. The player's cards are placed face down in the box marked Play with the Play wager on top; this signifies that the player wishes to remain in the hand.

If the player does not believe his hand can beat the dealer's, he/she should push his cards forward alongside his/her bet, signifying he/she does not wish to make the Play. The Ante wager is then taken in forfeit.

Once all Play bets have been made, the dealer turns his cards over and arranges them in the best three-card hand. In order to qualify, the dealer must have a hand of queen-high or better.

If the dealer does not qualify, there is a push on the Play: no one wins, no one loses. The Ante pays even money, or 1 to 1.

If the dealer qualifies and the player beats the dealer, the Play pays 1 to 1, and the Ante pays 1 to 1.

If the dealer qualifies and the dealer beats the player, both the Ante and the Play lose. If the dealer qualifies and the dealer's hand ties the player's hand, there is a push on both the Ante and the Play.

Additionally, the following hands are always paid on the Ante bet, regardless of the dealer's hand. This is called the Ante Bonus:

Straight (3 in a sequence unsuited) 1 to 1
Three of a Kind 4 to 1
Straight Flush (3 in a sequence suited) 5 to 1

Pair Plus Bet

The Pair Plus is a bet on the hand value and does not play against the dealer. The Pair Plus will not be affected by the win or loss of the Ante and Play wagers. Therefore, the Pair Plus is paid or taken, whether or not the dealer qualifies. If the player is only betting on the Pair Plus, he/she places his/her cards face-down in the Play area if he/she has a winning hand, or simply folds if the hand does not have a pair or higher.

The following hands are paid on Pair Plus bets:

Pair (2 of the same kind) 1 to 1
Flush (3 of same suit) 4 to 1
Straight (3 in a sequence unsuited) 5 to 1
Three of a Kind 30 to 1
Straight Flush (3 in a sequence suited) 40 to 1

On any hand other than those described above, the Pair Plus bet loses.

Basic Three Card Poker Rules to Remember

  1. Original bets on the Ante or Pair Plus may not be increased, decreased or withdrawn after the first card has been dealt.
  2. Players may show their hand to each other and discuss the hand in progress, but the cards must be kept above the table, inside the rail and in their own area at all times.
  3. Ace is always high—except in the 3-2-Ace sequence; then, it is played as the lowest straight or the lowest straight flush (if suited).
  4. Each player can play only one table position and cannot bet on or against another player.

The following bets or combination of bets may be made for each hand:

  • Bet Ante to play against the dealer
  • Bet Pair Plus to play your hand only
  • Bet Ante and Pair Plus to play both

The order of Three Card Poker combinations is different than that of five-card poker games. The ranking of hands is as follows:

  1. Straight Flush
  2. Three of a Kind
  3. Straight
  4. Flush
  5. Pair
  6. High Card

Three Card Poker Progressive Wager

This side bet links our three Three Card Poker tables into one combined progressive jackpot—ideally to your benefit!

To get in on the progressive action, simply place the optional $1 side bet before the deal. You could win a share of (or the entire) jackpot!

The Three Card progressive pays for a straight or higher. And if you’ve got an Ace, King and Queen of spades, you’re walking away with 100% of the jackpot! Jealous? Don’t be. If you’ve placed the progressive wager at a table with a major jackpot win, you’ll receive an Envy bonus of $100 or $25 if an Ace-King-Queen of spades, hearts, clubs or diamonds is revealed.


Hand Pays Envy Bonus
Ace, King, Queen of Spades 100% $100
Ace, King, Queen of Hearts, Clubs or Diamonds $500 $25
Straight Flush $40  
3 of a Kind $30  
Straight $6