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How to Play 3 Card Poker

Want to learn how to play 3 Card Poker and succeed in the game? This guide teaches you everything!

We cover the steps of a game round, hand rankings, sidebets, payouts, strategies and tips and tricks that lead to a better experience.

The Goal of the Game

The goal in 3 Card Poker is to beat the dealer by having a stronger hand.

The game is simple as no cards are exchanged, meaning that you either play or don't play the three cards you are dealt.

The 5 Steps of a Game Round

  1. Bet the Ante: the real money stake to put in before receiving your hand.
  2. Receive your hand: three cards dealt to you. 
  3. Choose to fold or play: evaluate if the cards are good enough to play or if you want to fold them. If you play, an additional bet equal to your ante is placed. If you fold, your ante bet is lost and the game round is over. 
  4. Watch the dealer receive its hand: 3 cards to compete against your hand. The value of these is then compared to yours. If you have the better hand, you win. Queen high or better is usually required for the dealer’s hand to qualify. Qualification affects payouts. 
  5. Get paid or go home: if you win, you will either receive a payout for your ante bet or a payout for your ante bet and your play bet. This is based on whether the dealer qualifies or not. Depending on the hand you win with, you are also able to receive a bonus payment.

The Hand Rankings

3 Card Poker uses standard poker hand rankings that determine which hands beat which.

Here are all the hands you can make, from best to worst:

  1. Straight Flush – three consecutive cards of the same suit, such as KQJ all Hearts.
  2. Set – three cards of the same value, such as KKK.
  3. Straight – three consecutive cards of any suit, such as KQJ in Hearts and Spades.
  4. Flush – any three cards of the same suit, such as K84 of Diamonds.
  5. Pair – two cards of the same value, such as JJ4.
  6. High Card – the highest card in your hand, such as A81 (ace high).

The Payouts

As mentioned earlier, the payouts in 3 Card Poker depend on whether the dealer qualifies or not by having Queen High or better. Here's the paytable:

Dealer QualifyHand ResultAnte Bet PayPlay Bet Pay
NoWin1:1Stake returned
YesWin1:11:1
YesTieStake returnedStake returned
The standard payouts in 3 Card Poker

In addition to the above, you receive a bonus payment on your ante bet if you manage to make a set, straight flush or straight. This paytable is slightly different between Evolution Gaming’s 3 Card Poker and Playtech’s 3 Card Brag:

HandEvolution PayoutPlaytech Payout
Set / Prial4:15:1
Straight Flush / Running Flush5:14:1
Straight / Run1:11:1
Bonus payments for winning with a strong hand in 3 Card Poker

Also note that in Playtech's 3 Card Brag, the above bonus payments are not made if the dealer doesn't qualify. However, in Evolution's version they are.

Sidebets

Two sidebets are also to be found when playing 3 Card Poker online; Pair Plus and 6 Card Bonus (also known as Poker Plus).

Pair Plus pays you for hands that you make with your own 3 cards, while 6 Card Bonus is taking yours as well as the dealer’s cards into account.

HandPair Plus6 Card Bonus
Royal Flush100:11000:1
Straight Flush40:1200:1
Four of a Kind100:1
Full House20:1
Flush4:115:1
Straight5:110:1
Three of a Kind30:17:1
Pair1:1
Payouts for the Pair Plus and 6 Card Bonus sidebets in 3 Card Poker

Three of a Kind pays much more on Pair Plus than 6 Card Bonus, because with 3 cards it's much harder to make a set than with 6 cards.

Strategies

Generally speaking, winning money from 3 Card Poker all comes down to luck as it is a casino game where the house has an edge.

However, it is true that the game can be played in a more or less advantageous way that affects the RTP (Return to Player).

Based on mathematical calculations, there's an optimal strategy that will maximize your winnings.

It’s very simple and we suggest you follow it. 

The optimal strategy in 3 Card Poker is to…

  • Place a play bet on any hand that is equal to or better than Q 6 4. 

When determining hand rankings, you should always start with the highest card.

This means:

  • Place a play bet on any Ace and King you receive regardless of the other two cards.
  • Place a play bet on any Q and 7 regardless of what the third card is.
  • Never place a play bet if you have Jack high or anything lower than Jack high.
  • Never place a play bet if you have a Queen followed by a 5 or lower.

Tips & Trix When Playing 3 Card Poker Online

Here are some valuable tips to keep in mind when playing 3 Card Poker online:

  • Play responsibly. Three Card Poker is a casino game based on luck. The maximum RTP is approximately 97%. Thus, you are expected to win ₹97 for every ₹100 staked if you play perfectly. You can get lucky and win, but always remember that the house has an edge.  
  • Playtech is the superior provider. There are two great platforms that you can use to play 3 Card Poker live against dealers; Evolution Gaming’s and Playtech’s. While the games are similar, the latter comes with a more advantageous paytable. Therefore, the optimal RTP in this game is slightly higher than that of Evolution Gaming.
  • Side bets generally cost money. They can add to the entertainment of playing 3 Card Poker, offering potentially huge winnings of up to 1,000 times your stake. However, the RTP is often lower than the base game. Some side bets go all the way down to 91.44%. 
  • The game has an optimal strategy. Playing 3 Card Poker online, you can make smart decisions or foolish ones. If you want to play optimally, you should always play Q 6 4 or better. This means playing any hand that’s Ace or King high and any hand with a Queen paired with a 7 or higher, regardless of the third card. 
  • Bonus offers can be valuable. They’re generally great for increasing your chances of profiting from casino games. However, not all bonuses can be efficiently used on table games – especially not when played live against real dealers. Be sure to read about wagering requirements to learn about their extent and the bonuses’ wagering contributions on 3 Card Poker. 

    To find suitable offers, check out the live casino bonuses we have listed.

FAQ

Is 3 Card Poker and 3 Card Brag the same thing?

Yes, more or less. When 3 Card Poker is played at online casinos these are just two names of two nearly identical games. You will find live 3 Card Poker offered by Evolution Gaming while Playtech has named their version of the game 3 Card Brag.

Is 3 Card Poker and Teen Patti the same thing?

It depends. When played online against a live dealer, 3 Card Poker and Teen Patti can be the exact same thing. You will find that Ezugi is offering a game known as Teen Patti which is 100% identical to the same game offered by Evolution Gaming known as 3 Card Poker.

What are the odds of winning at 3 Card Poker?

The odds of winning a single hand in 3 Card Poker is 44.91%.

What's the best hand in 3 Card Poker?

The best hand is generally considered to be a royal flush, in which the highest hand would be AKQ of the same suit. However, in Playtech’s 3 Card Poker it is a set that ranks the highest and not any set but a set of 3s. In other words, 333 beats AAA and any other hand.

Why does a straight beat a flush in 3 Card Poker?

Because it’s more likely to get a flush than a straight in 3 Card Poker. With 3 cards, the probability of hitting a flush is 4.96% while the probability of hitting a straight is 3.26%. In poker which is played with 5 cards it’s the other way around – here it’s easier getting a straight than a flush.

What happens if there are two royal flushes?

If the dealer and you both end up with a royal flush, all bets will be pushed. In other words, your stakes will be returned and no payouts will be made. This is what happens whenever a tie occurs in 3 Card Poker.

Is 3 Card Poker a better game than Blackjack?

That’s all a matter of opinion. In Europe, Blackjack is the more popular of the two. However, in India, 3 Card Poker (played as Teen Patti) is generally the preferred choice.

While potential winnings are about the same, long-term chances of winning are higher in Blackjack (99.50% RTP compared to 96.63%). If this is important, one could argue that Blackjack is the better game.

Blackjack is also a bit more complex than 3 Card Poker. And if you appreciate innovation, it comes with several unique versions that can be played in live casinos. If you ask us, both games are great and fit well into a casino session.

Does flush beat 3 of a kind?

No. Getting a 3 of a kind is very difficult in 3 Card Poker. The probability is only 0.24%. A flush, on the other hand, has a probability of 4.96%. In some variations of 3 Card Poker, a 3 of a kind is the highest ranking hand, ahead of a royal flush.

What is the house advantage in 3 Card Poker?

What is the house advantage in 3 Card Poker? If played with an optimal strategy, the house advantage in 3 Card Poker is 3.37%.

Mattias Fröbrant is a passionate iGaming journalist renowned for his comprehensive reviews of over 300 gambling sites in India. With a remarkable 17-year gambling experience and a background working for industry giants like Betsson Group, Mattias has earned recognition as a leading expert in the Indian online gambling field.

At GamblingBaba, Mattias’s commitment to providing accurate and easily digestible information shines through meticulously researched reviews, guides, and news articles. His strong belief in honesty and transparency ensures that readers receive the most reliable insights on the Indian gambling landscape.

To get in touch with Mattias, connect via Linkedin.

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