Need to learn how to play three card poker online? This is the perfect place to start. Our expert guide will tell you everything you need to know – from the rules of three card poker to hand rankings, pay out tables, bonus bet options and three card poker winning strategies!
In our expert guide you’ll find out:
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Three card poker dates back to 1994, when Derek Webb invented it and started promoting his new game at some of America’s top brick-and-mortar casinos. It was a slow start which gradually built momentum, and today three card poker is a modern classic which is easy to play and widely available.
Three card poker is played against the house like pai gow poker – not against fellow players, like you’d see in traditional Texas Hold’em. After an initial round of betting, play is largely automated, which means there’s no need to bluff or outthink your opponent.
As its popularity grew, three card poker evolved into an online game, and is also available as a live dealer option at some of the best online casinos in Asia.
If you want to learn how to play three card poker online, there’s no big secret – it’s easy to get started. Follow our step-by-step guide below to set up your own account and play three card poker online for real money:
If you need to learn how to play three card poker online, we have good news – it’s pretty straightforward. This is especially true if you already know how to play other versions of online poker, as you’ll already be familiar with the general rules. There are one or two surprises, though, so make sure you check out the ‘3 card poker hands’ section below.
When you sit down at the table to play three card poker online, you’ll have to place either an ante or Pairplus bet. Then, you’ll be dealt three cards face up and the dealer will receive three cards face down.
If you want to proceed with your hand, you’ll have to ‘raise’, which means doubling your ante. If you choose to ‘fold’, you’ll forfeit your hand and the ante you already put in.
At this stage the dealer will reveal their hand. They need at least a queen high in order to qualify. If they don’t, the ante pays out at even odds and the raise (or ‘play’) will be a push.
If the dealer does qualify and beats you, you lose. But, if they qualify and you have the stronger hand, the ante and raise/push bets will both pay out at even odds.
In the event of a tie, the bet is treated as a push.
There are two types of pay out table you need for three card poker online. The first is the ante bonus pay out table, and the second is the Pairplus pay out table.
Ante Bonus Pay Out Table
This is the pay-out table for ante bonus bets. This is for players who place an ante, then proceed with the hand by raising/playing.
Ante bonus odds are usually displayed right on the table, so they’re hard to miss. But here are the most common ante bonus pay outs:
|Ante Bonus Pay Out Table|
Pairplus Pay Out Table
You’ll need to place a special side bet on Pairplus in order to win this bet. If you do place a bet on Pairplus and hit, the prizes will be paid out according to the strength of your hand.
The specific pay out tables will vary based on the software being used and the online casino you choose to play at. But here’s a typical example of Pairplus pay outs:
|Pairplus Pay Out Table|
Card hands in three card poker online are similar to Texas Hold’em, with a few key changes. If you’re wondering what is the best hand in 3 card poker, the answer is the same as Texas Hold’em – a royal flush. It’s a mini royal flush, of course, with only three cards instead of five.
Here’s a list of hand rankings for three card poker online:
|Three Card Poker Hand Rankings (Strongest to Weakest)|
There is definitely a lot of strategy involved in deciding which hands to play in three card poker. However, because there is no turn or river to bet on – and no option to bluff – it is not the same kind of strategy as Texas Hold’em. Once you have made your bets, you simply sit back and hope for the best.
If you remember nothing else, just remember this hand. Every time you get Q-6-4 or above, you should persevere with the hand and not fold. Anything lower, just let it go. It may be painful, but it’s the best option for a long term three card poker winning strategy.
That means that hands like Q-6-3 should be folded. Yes, it’s a tiny difference and you may be tempted to go with it, but sticking to this strategy will give you a statistical advantage over time.
We mentioned earlier in our three card poker guide that different casinos and software providers have different pay out tables. This means you should shop around to find the one you feel pays out the most. If you’re not sure where to start, check out any of our pre-approved Asian online casinos at AsiaBet.
The Pairplus side bet makes things exciting – there’s no denying that. And it’s also far from the worst side bet out there, as it actually offers a respectable house edge. But your odds are slightly better when just playing a straight up ante bet. If you do dip into the Pairplus pot, just make sure it’s not every hand.
Perhaps more than most online casino games, the house advantage in three card poker is dependent on the specific casino you play at. There is a lot of variance in terms of pay out tables – not to mention your betting pattern – such as whether you indulge in Pairplus bets, for instance.
Assuming you play with a winning strategy, a typical house edge for three card poker online in Asia would be just over 2%. For Pairplus, this could rise to 2.32%. Comparing this to some of the punishing side bets in three card baccarat and similar games, the Pairplus is not actually too bad in terms of value for money.
Understandably, some players want to try free online three card poker before they play for real money. There’s certainly merit to this – but playing three card poker online for free rarely holds long term appeal.
A lot of casino players will have the Texas Hold’em hand ranking drilled into their heads – a straight beats three-of-a-kind, a flush beats a straight, and so on. These are rules which are generally shared across video poker, live poker and more. When you look at the three card poker online hand rankings, you’ll notice the order is a little mixed up.
To make sure you’re used to the revised hand rankings used in three card poker online, you might want to try playing three card poker online for free. This will give you a chance to get used to straights beating flushes, for instance.
However, you’ll soon notice that knowing the hand order doesn’t have a tremendous effect on your gameplay. Because there’s no bluffing or subsequent rounds of betting after your initial raise, the game plays out automatically.
Once you’ve gotten to grips with this slightly unusual hand order, you’ll be ready to play for real money. Playing real money three card poker online is exciting because you can win real money, and every hand suddenly means something. The bonus bets develop a lot more importance as well – and a miniature royal flush can pay handsomely.
You can even play live dealer three card poker when you have real money on the line. This makes for a nice blend between traditional live poker and the automated online versions.
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The odds of hitting an elusive royal flush in three card poker are one in 5,525.
By following our three card poker strategy you can increase your chances of beating the house in three card poker.
Unlike traditional Texas Hold’em, straights are higher on the hand ranking than flushes in three card poker online.
Following a strict three card poker strategy will increase your odds of winning.