How to Play 3 Card Poker – Blatt Billiards

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How to Play 3 Card Poker

by David Roeder |

A popular poker game played in casinos is called 3 card poker. This is a variation of traditional poker that is considered a poker table game. There are special tables designed for 3 card poker that outline the different play areas for each player.

What Is 3 Card Poker?

three aces with a poker chip on top

3 card poker is a casino table game played with a standard 52-card deck. It is also known as Three Card Poker, Tri Card Poker, or Casino Brag. Unlike regular poker, where you play against other players, in 3 card poker you play one-on-one against the dealer.

What Is the Objective of 3 Card Poker?

poker table with a pint of beer

The objective of 3 card poker is to beat the dealer’s hand by having a better three-card poker hand.

What Terminology Do You Need to Know for 3 Card Poker?

poker cards and chips on a poker table

  • Ante: The initial bet placed before cards are dealt
  • Pair Plus: A side bet made in addition to the Ante, which pays out if the player’s hand contains a pair or better
  • Play Bet: The additional bet placed equal to your Ante after seeing your hand
  • Fold: Surrender your Ante and give up any chance of winning that round of play
  • Raise: Place an additional bet equal to twice your Ante after seeing your hand

What Are the Different Hands in 3 Card Poker?

hand holding three ace playing cards

The different hands in 3 card poker from worst to best are:

  • High Card: The highest single card in your hand
  • Pair: Two cards of the same rank
  • Flush: Three cards of the same suit
  • Straight: Three consecutive cards in any suit
  • Three of a Kind: Three cards of the same rank
  • Straight Flush: Three consecutive cards in the same suit

As you may notice, a straight flush is the best hand in 3 card poker and is better than a flush. This differs from regular poker, where a flush is a better hand than a straight.

How to Play 3 Card Poker

man shuffling cards

The game is played between the player and the dealer and involves making three separate bets—the Ante, the Pair Plus, and the Play bet. In each round of play, players are dealt three cards face down.

Players must decide whether to fold (lose their Ante) or raise (place an additional bet equal to double their Ante). If they raise, they will compare their hand to the dealer’s to determine if they have won the round.

3 Card Poker Rules

Queen playing cards

  • The game is played with a standard 52-card deck.
  • All players must place an Ante before cards are dealt.
  • Once all players have placed their Antes, each player will be dealt three cards face
  • Players can then either fold, match their Ante, or raise.
  • If the player does not fold, they will compare their hand to the dealer’s hand to determine if they have won the round.
  • If the dealer does not qualify, Ante bets are met and all remaining bets are a push.

Order of Play

3 card poker is a fast-paced poker game that follows the same order of play for each round as follows:

  • All players place their Ante.
  • All players decide if they want to make a Pair Plus bet.
  • Once all bets are made, the dealer deals each player three cards face down to each player and themselves.
  • Now players look at their cards and decide if they want to fold or place a Play bet or raise.
  • For each player that folds, the dealer takes their Ante and any Pair Plus bet
  • For each player that does not fold, the dealer will then turn over their cards and the players’ cards.
  • The dealer must have at least a Queen high card to qualify for the round. If the dealer does not, then all players who did not fold are paid one-to-one on their Ante bets, and the Play bet is a push. No further action takes place for that round of play.
  • If the dealer has at least a Queen high card, then their hand is compared to each player’s hand to determine which players won the round.

3 Card Poker Payouts

The Ante and Play bets are separate from the Pair Plus bet. A player wins a Pair Plus bet if they have a pair or better hand. Even if they lose to the dealer, they still collect on their Pair Plus bet.

If the player has a better hand than the dealer, they are paid one-to-one on their Ante and Play bets. In addition, if there is an Ante payout bonus for a straight or higher, the player will still receive the bonus, even if they lose to the dealer.

3 Card Poker House Rules

It is essential to remember each Casino will have different 3 card poker house rules. For example, some casinos will require you to place the Ante bet to play, but the Pair Plus bet is optional. Other casinos will require you to place both the Ante and Pair Plus bet to play. Then there are others that will allow you to place either the Ante or the Pair Plus bet or both, but you must place at least one to play the round.

Enjoy 3 Card Poker at Home

poker table in game room

You can enjoy playing 3 card poker at home with a handcrafted, high-quality poker table from Blatt Billiards. Browse our Blatt Custom Elite and Blatt Select Game Table Collections today or contact us at 212-674-8855 to custom design and build your own poker table.

How to Play 3 Card Poker Infographic