3 Card Poker Online Guide

December 18, 2019

3 Card Poker Online Guide 3 Card Poker hasn’t been around for as long as many other table games in the industry, but it holds up its own as a top-rated game that shouldn’t be missed! 

Simple to learn and designed with a decent return rate, Three Card Poker is enjoyed by many online and land-based punters around the world. This table game allows for decent wins and fast-paced action for anyone who doesn’t want to sit around and play an entire round of regular poker. 

History of 3 Card Poker

It’s not often that we can trace back the origin of a game to a specific person at a specific time, but 3 Card Poker gives us this luxury. 

Designed by Derek Webb in 1994, the purpose of 3 Card Poker was to combine the exciting side of standard poker games with the rush and speed for other casino games. For Webb, it was all about creating a game that could payout big, have easy to understand game rules, and provide a house edge that would appeal to casinos. 

The game goes by a number of names include Poker Three, Trey Poker, and Tri Poker. Three Card Poker is a trademarked table game and the other names mentioned above are used to avoid this trademark. 

What is 3 card poker called?

Three Card Poker was originally called Casino Brag as it was inspired by the 16th-century British card game, 3-card Brag. Only it was adapted from this game and modified so players can bet against the house rather than each other. ‘Three Card Poker’ was the name given to the game when it was first introduced to America. Others also refer to it as Tri Poker or Prime Poker.

In some 20th-century card gamebooks from America, you will find an older game also referred to as Three Card Poker. This refers to a Draw Poker game which was played with three-card hands and allowed players to bet against each other in normal poker style.

How to play Three Card Poker Online

The aim of 3 Card Poker online is a simple – Place your bet and attempt to make the best possible poker hand with only 3 cards. 

Doesn’t sound too difficult, does it? That’s because it’s not! The game isn’t designed to be one that will leave you scratching your head. Instead, it’s a simple game that even new players to the iGaming scene could pick up and enjoy with ease. The best news of all is that this table game can be played via a live casino or not – the choice is totally yours and the gameplay doesn’t change. 

The rules are as follows: 

The table before you will have a Pair Plus, an Ante, and a Play section. Before the game begins, you must place bets on the Pair Plus, Ante, or Both that equals the minimum bet requirements for the table. 

Placing a bet on the Pair Plus option means you are betting on whether or not you will be dealt a pair or better. The Ante/Play options are required for you to bet against the dealer to see who will win with a better hand. 

Once you’ve placed your bet, the dealer will shuffle a standard deck of cards and you will be given 3 of them. Now that you can take a look at your cards, you must decide if you want to keep playing by placing an additional bet in the Play option or fold. 

Now the dealer will receive his cards. If he his contains a Queen or better, the game continues. If it doesn’t, all players will receive their Play bets back and even money on their Ante wager. 

If the dealer’s hand contains a Queen or better, all of the remaining player hands will be compared to his. It is then determined who has the better hand and is therefore the winner! 

The following hands are ranked from best to worst when playing 3 Card Poker. 

  • Straight Flush 
  • Three of a Kind 
  • Straight 
  • Flush  
  • Pair 
  • High Card  

What are the odds of winning in 3 card poker?

As with any house game, there is always a risk of losing when playing 3 card poker online. When playing with the optimal strategy you can increase your winning chances. Playing 3 card poker with no strategy or plan means the house has an edge that goes as high as 7.65%.

With the optimal strategy or plan in place, you can lower the house edge and increase your winning chances to 5.29%.

The standards odds overall for 3 card poker

  • 44.91% odds of a player winning
  • 55.03% odds of the dealer winning
  • 0.06% offs of the outcome being a tie

3 card poker remains a game of chance and while a great strategy can drastically increase your winning odds, there is no guaranteed winning solution to this game. With uncontrollable variables to take into consideration, each hand should be played with a clear mind and careful consideration.

Basic 3 Card Poker Strategy

In three card poker, the basic strategy is to make a wager when you have a Q, 6, 4 or better. This includes any time your card is an A, K, or 7. If the hand is not that high or contains a Jack or lower as the high card it is better to fold.

When to change up your strategy

Always follow the basic strategy to ensure the lowest house edge possible when playing table games such as three-card poker online. Unless you manage to see one of the dealer’s cards.

If that card is a Jack or Lower make a play bet. Reason: The increased chance that the dealer’s hand will be lower than yours or won’t qualify.

If the card is a Queen only Play with a Q, 9, 2 or better. In this scenario, your second card needs to be stronger.

If the card is a King only Play with a K, 9, 2 or better. As with the Queen, you will need the same high card as the dealer and a stronger second card that’s better than the average card value.

If the card is an Ace only play with an A, 9 and 2.

As a new player you can always play the hand the “house way”, which is basically the way mentioned above only without the guessing. If you want to play according to the house way you only need to put up your Ante and Play bet, after which the hand will be played based on this strategy above. It could be an easier way to get used to the strategy if you’re new to 3 card poker and still in the learning process.

Then there are players who prefer to raise with a queen or better which many refer to as a Mirroring strategy as it copies the move of the dealer. (Dealers are required to have a queen or better before having the option to raise.)

Where to play 3 Card Poker Online 

Most top online casinos worth their salt with have a version of 3 Card Poker for you to enjoy under their table games category. 

Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for 3 Card Poker or any of the non-trademarked versions of the game and try your hand at this simple, but fun table game!