Invented in the ’90s, three card poker has since become one of the most popular and best table games currently in the casino. What makes this game special is that the game comes with great odds and high-paying side bets. To put it simply, a chance for more money to weigh your pockets down!

The objective of this game is to make the best possible hand, but you get only three cards to play with. In this game, you either play against the dealer or win based on how good your cards are. Are you ready to know more?

Ranking of Hands in Three Card Poker

While playing three-card poker, the odds are usually different from other poker games since the hands here consist only of three cards. Also, the hand rankings are slightly different because of the difference in the odds.

In three-card poker, you should know that straights are normally rarer than flushes and therefore outrank them. The ranking of hands in three-card poker are as follows from low to high: pair, flush, straight, three of a kind, and straight flush.  The full house is missing from the list, isn’t it? That’s because it would be pretty hard to get a 5 card hand with only 3 cards! There’s no four of a kind either for the same reason.

How to Play Three Card Poker

Just like any other casino game, you begin by placing a bet. In three card poker, you either play an ante wager, a pair plus wager, or both. Next, three cards are dealt face down to each player on the table and the dealer. But you should note that your business is only with the dealer, the other players hands don’t matter to you.

After this is done, the player (you) looks at their hand and decides to either place a Play wager, which is equal ante wager, and put their hand against the dealer’s hand or fold. The strategy for three card poker game is one of the easiest in the casino! You should play all hands that are a queen, six, and four or better and fold any hand that is worse.

The Pair Plus Bet

While the ante/play bet is based on your cards being better than the dealer’s, this bet is based solely on your own cards. It is pretty self explanatory as well, the wager wins if your hand is a pair or better and the better your hand, the higher it pays. There are several different paytables out there but if you can find one that pays 4-to-1 for the flush, this has the lowest casino house edge.

How this bet is separate from the ante/play bet so even if your hand does not beat the dealer, the pair plus still pays out.

How to settle the ante-play wager

The rules of winning or losing on this bet are as follows: If the player folds, the dealer collects the player’s ante wager. On the other hand, if the player places a play wager, the cards will be turned over to determine who has a better hand.

If the dealer’s hand is superior, both the player’s ante and play wager are collected. If the player’s hand is higher, the ante bet is paid at even money and if the dealer’s hand “qualifies” then the play bet is also paid at even money. The dealer hand qualifies if they have a queen high or better. If their hand does not qualify, the play wager is a push and is returned to the play.

These are parts of the tips you need to play three-card poker at any casino, but that’s not all. There is still one very important thing. Even if you know how to play three-card poker, you’ll still need a casino to test your mettle!

Once the casinos are open to the public, you can go and put all you have learned here to practice. Unsure which casino to visit? Then be sure to go to for more information on all U.S. casinos.