How to Play Three Card Poker and Win
Three Card Poker (also known as Casino Brag, or Tri Poker – invented in the 1990’s by Derek Webb) is an easy poker game to play, that’s now become very fashionable in land-based and online casinos. It’s much easier than normal five card poker games like Texas Hold Em Poker and Caribbean Stud Poker for new players to understand. It’s a fast game to play, and Three Card Poker even has an additional opportunity for players to win, thanks to the Pair Plus side bet. To win the Pair Plus bet you must get a pair or higher winning combination (like a straight, flush, triple etc). That’s it – simple!
There are three spots on the casino table betting layout of Three Card Poker that you can bet on: Ante (basic bet), Pair Plus (optional side bet that pays up to 40-1, so is advisable), and Play (only takes bets once the cards are dealt, and if you want to continue playing rather than folding your hand). Normally you’ll put a bet in the Ante and Pair Plus boxes to start.
From a standard 52-card playing deck, the dealer will draw three cards for each player, and three cards for the dealer’s hand. If the player’s cards contain a winning Pair Plus combination, that bet is paid (and if not, the Pairs Plus bet is taken by the dealer). The player must then decide whether to continue with their hand (in which case they put a bet equal to the Ante into the “Play” box on the layout), or fold their hand (in which case the dealer will take the Ante bet, and the hand will be deemed to be over).
Three Card Poker hand ranks differ slightly from the hand ranks in five card poker games. The highest possible hand rank is a Straight Flush, paying 40-1 on Pairs Plus, and 5-1 on Ante Bonus. The next highest hand is Three of a Kind, which pays 33-1 on Pairs Plus, and 4-1 on Ante Bonus. A straight pays 6-1 on Pairs Plus, and 1-1 on Ante Bonus. A Flush pays 4-1 on Pairs Plus (no Ante Bonus). A pair plays 1-1 on Pairs Plus (no Ante Bonus). If the hand does not contain these combinations, then it’s just a High Card comparison between the hands to determine the winner (no Pairs Plus or Ante Bonus). The Three Card Poker hand with the highest ranking card(s) wins.
Pair Plus winnings are paid out regardless of the dealer’s hand value. Ante bets and Ante Bonuses are only paid out if the dealer has a hand that “qualifies”. This means that the dealer must have at least a Queen-high card in their hand. This rule gives the casino a slight edge on the game. Actual odds depend on the cards dealt, and the player choice that is made – but can be from just a few percent upwards. I’m not normally someone who suggests playing side bets on casino table games – but I do think it’s worth playing the side bets on Three Card Poker. It’s the side bets that make the game worthwhile here.
Many online casinos offer the Tree Card Poker game, it’s fun to play and easy to learn. Good luck!