3 Card Poker – How To Play | Strategy & Tips To Win | Variants
Guide to playing three card poker online for real money
Table Of Contents
- Variations Of 3 Card Poker – Teen Patti Mini Flush Slots 21 “n” Done
Fast-paced card games like 3 Card Poker are high on the favorite list for many poker fans who like to play casino games on the side. Some might say it’s the easiest casino game to win at.
The ‘3 Card Poker’ name is patented, you will see many versions of this game – both single and multiplayer – at online or land-based casinos with names such as ‘tri card’ or even ‘trey card poker’. It’s also known in Asian regions as Flash or Teen Patti, and at the time of its invention in the mid 1990’s was originally known as 3 Card brag.
Actually it’s two games in one – an ante bet and a pair plus – with options of wagering against the dealer with the ante bet, betting on whether you will get a pair or better in the pair plus bet irrelevant of the dealers hand, or playing one or the other or both bets in the same hand. Many players love its simplicity, with fans often just calling it 3 card.
Three card has straightforward rules and is a lot easier to play than other poker card games such as Texas Holdem. The rules, optimal strategies, secrets and tips involved in learning how to play and win are straightforward and easy to understand.
You’ll play plenty of hands per hour, there are many ways to get low value wins using optimal playing strategies – and winning side bets get generous payouts for strong hands like three of a kind or a straight flush.
Most likely you won’t be winning enough cash to buy a car, but the enjoyment level is high.
There are no real secrets to playing well, but by playing correct 3 card strategy you’ll get regular payouts (around 25% of hands), and with the only critical decisions being how much to wager and whether to fold or play it’s all pretty straightforward.
The key to the game is understanding Probability, and any description you read should force home that point.
Of course there are plenty of other real money games to play – but if you want a casino-based one that gives a low house edge of between 2% and 4%, then three card is a great choice provided you play carefully. With the correct approach, you can get plenty of playing time for your money and maybe a good pay day in the casino. Land three big cards when you have a bonus side bet and you could win a jackpot-type sum on one hand.
On this page you’ll find an easy to read guide exploring how and where to play, where to get some practice, the odds of making winning hands, and what the best playing strategies are for winning….
If you already know how to play and want to dive straight in and play, try these online casinos.
Here we’ll cover a fair number of the high level most frequently asked questions about the game. Many of them will be answered in other sections on the page, but this will be a collection of FAQs that’ll most likely cover anything you’ll want to know.
For more specific questions and answers you’re unlikely to find a better resource than the Wizard of Odds 3 card FAQ page.
What is 3 card poker?
It’s a casino card game played one on one against the dealer. Player and dealer each receive 3 cards and the player makes a bet without seeing the cards. It’s actually 2 games in one where you can bet on the ante which plays your 3 cards against the dealers, or on pair plus which wins or loses irrelevant of the dealers cards, or on both.
What wins in 3 card poker?
In the ante bet, your 3 cards need to be stronger than the dealers to win.
In the pair plus bet, you win if you have at least a pair in your 3 cards
What are the odds of winning at 3 card poker? | What are the odds of 3 card poker?
See Probability for a full explanation, but it’s worth noting that approximately 25.6 percent of hands will be winning combinations of a pair or better.
What does it mean to fold in 3 card poker?
After placing a bet and receiving your cards, you need to decide on the strength of your hand whether you have realistic chances of beating the dealers unseen hand. If you decide the odds are in favor of the dealer, you fold. This means you surrender the hand without having to make a further bet, and the dealer wins your original ante stake.
What is queen high in 3 card poker?
Queen high means that both player and dealer have a highest card of a queen (but no pair) and either of their next lowest cards is higher in value than the others.
What’s the best hand in 3 card poker?
The best hand is a straight flush. That’s three cards in the sequence Queen-King-Ace all of the same suit. Examples Q-K-A of Hearts. Q-K-A of Diamonds, etc.
What is 3 cards of the same suit called?
Three cards of the same suite but not in running sequence is called a flush.
What is the best online casino for Three Card poker?
In theory the odds of winning are the same whichever casino you play at, assuming the casino is certified fair and has a valid licence. The best is therefor a subjective term and depends on multiple factors.
What is the house edge in Three Card poker?
The house edge is obtained by the casino by forcing the player to always make the first play. Therefore if the player folds, the casino wins as well as winning their share of fully completed hands. House edge percentages vary dependent on the pay-tables of the casino concerned, full details here.
What’s the best Three Card poker strategy to use?
Basic strategy for playing the ante game is to bet if your cards show Queen-6-4 or better and fold if your hand is not at least that good (ie if you have a jack or lower and irrelevant of what the other cards are other than a pair)
Clearly if you’ve bet on ante and pair plus – and have a pair – then you bet on the ante and have two chances to win.
Play any hand where your highest card is an Ace or a King even if you don’t have a pair.
For more info see the strategy and how to win section on this page.
What is the 6 Card Bonus in Three Card poker?
You’ll only find this side bet at specific casinos, most likely those owned and run by Caesars Entertainment. It’s basically a combination of the dealers and the players hands making 6 cards, and with its own pay table with odds for different hands in that 6 card combo.
What is 3 card poker progressive?
Progressive jackpots in 3 card poker can take different forms, depending on where you’re playing. As you play the standard game there is an option of playing an extra bet on any progressive jackpot that has been building up. This extra bet from all players goes into this pot and if you land a straight flush or 3 of a kind you’ll normally win it, although the exact winning hand may vary in different casinos. Check local game rules if you decide to play.
What is a 3 card poker royal flush?
A royal flush is a hand consisting of Q, K, and Ace of the same suit.
When to fold 3 card poker?
You should fold if your hand is lower that Q-6-4.
Where can I play 3 card poker online for real money?
Virtually all online casinos will have a version available to play. See the ‘where to play’ section on this page that lists a few places to play.
How many decks in 3 card poker?
The game is normally played with one 52 card deck.
How many 3 card poker hands are there?
There are 22100 combinations of potential hands that you could receive as a player.
How often does the dealer qualify in 3 card poker?
The dealer will qualify in 69.59% of hands.
Is there any strategy to 3 card poker?
Yes good strategic play can lower the inherent house edge and improve your chances of winning. Strategy is covered in depth in this section on this page.
Is three card poker a good bet?
You may be lucky and have a winning streak or land a series of good hands in a session and come out ahead, however the house edge inherent in all casino games means that over time the casino always wins. That said, and compared to other casino games, 3 card is among those that offer the best chances to players of winning.
Is pair plus a good bet?
The house edge when only playing pair plus is around 2.32%, making 3 card one of the better games to play in the casino. Note that over time though the odds are still against you.
Is 3 card poker better than blackjack?
From a house edge perspective the blackjack edge of around 0.5% is much more in favor of the player. From an entertainment perspective you’d have to say that both games are equally enjoyable.
Is 3 card poker beatable?
No casino games are beatable in the long run. 3 card poker is no different. There is an inherent house edge that means the casino always wins in the long term, although you may get lucky in a game session and overcome the odds against you. There are no known ways to beat that house edge other than using optimal strategy to lower it.
Is 3 card poker a good game?
For all the reasons we’ve seen in FAQs, yes it is one of the better casino games.
Is 3 of a kind better than straight?
Assuming a 52 card deck is in use there are 54,912 possible ways of seeing three of a kind in a hand, and 10200 ways to make a straight. It’s clear that a straight is the least likely hand therefore it will be ranked higher than three of a kind.
Is 3 card poker rigged?
Only in that the house edge is always naturally in favor of the house. In general it’s extremely rare to find any occurrences of casinos deliberately manipulating dealt hands. They don’t need to – because they win regularly anyway – and to do so risks getting labelled as a heating casino and going out of business.
Can you make money playing 3 card poker? | Can you beat 3 card poker?
Sure you can make money playing three card….but only if you’re very lucky or can walk away after winning hands early in a session. Over time the house edge will ensure the casino keeps more of your money than you started with. You cannot beat the house edge, you can only try to reduce it as far as possible with optimal play.
Should you bet the pair plus in 3 card poker?
The house edge in pair plus is around 2.32%. You can play if feeling lucky. You may win. Like all casino games there is a very high chance you will lose over time, but you can get good in pair plus that makes it a fun bet as long as you are cautious with your bank.
Does 3 card poker have good odds?
Compared to other casino card games, three card does offer reasonable odds of getting winning hands. You very likely won’t win in the long run, but along the way you can expect to get plenty of winning hands.
Does 3 of a kind beat a flush in 3 card poker?
Three of a kind is a much rarer hand than a flush so yes it will win.
Does straight beat flush in Three Card poker?
It’s harder to make a straight than a flush therefore a straight is the stronger hand.
Practice & Free Games
Most online casinos offer 3 card poker games in their library, and a fair few of them give you the chance to practice free. They will be simple to use, and offer a great way to practice without the risk of losing any cash.
When you’re ready to play for real cash you can take advantage of their welcome bonus. Be cautious though, winning in a practice game does not necessarily mean you’ll win when the chips are really down.
As a starter you can play for free at VegasSlotsOnline, but in the ‘where to play 3 card poker’ section below you’ll see a few other recommended online casinos that do have practice games.
Aside from the casinos there are a few other apps or websites that’ll let you play for free:
The dedicated games area at AOL has the best free games selection I could find, including a version of 3 card.
This page at TableGamesOnline has an easy to use practice version.
3 Card Poker – How To Play Explained
OK let’s take a look at the mechanics of the game:
Two bets are made before any cards are dealt, these are known as the ‘ante’ and ‘pair plus’ bets.
Playing The Ante In 3 Card Poker
The ante bet is played against the dealer, while the ‘pair plus’ bet is independent and pays out for poker hands of 1 pair or better. After your bets are placed you and the dealer are dealt 3 cards and you must decide whether to play or fold. The dealers hand is dealt face down so neither you or the dealer see it, so you must make your decision based just on just your own.
If you choose to play your hand in a 3 card poker game you must place another bet equal to the ante. Your hand is then compared to the dealer’s 3-card poker hand. If you fold, you lose and all money goes to the house. If your hand is better you win that hand.
Playing Pair Plus
In Pair Plus you’re not going up against the strength of the dealers hand, and whether you win or not is determined entirely by the strength of your own. If it’s good enough, you win. And a winning hand is achieved – as the name Pair Plus implies – by landing at least a pair in your three card hand and hopefully three of a kind, a flush, or a run.
Remember that if you’re playing both games and you fold, you’ll also lose the pair plus side of the bet. Though of course it would be a poor decision to fold with a pair or better already showing.
Winning Hands & Easy Ways To Remember 3 Card Payouts
1-to-1 is paid on both the ante and raise bets if you beat the dealer and the dealer’s hand ‘qualifies’. That is, you double your money on both bets. To qualify the dealer must hold queen high or better
A non-qualifying dealers hand (lower than a queen high) pays you 1-to-1 on the ante bet only (the ‘play’ bet is a push or returned) regardless of who holds the best hand.
In addition an ‘ante bonus’ is paid for straights (1-to-1), 3 of a kind (4-to-1) and straight flushes (5-to-1). These bonuses get paid even if you lose to a dealers qualifying hand.
Pair plus bets are paid independently of the dealer’s hand. This side-bet pays 1-to-1 for a pair, 4-to-1 for a flush, 5-to-1 for a straight, 30-to-1 for 3 of a kind and 40-to-1 for a straight flush. The pair plus bet is optional – though you would not be happy to see a straight flush if you decline this bet while playing!
All very well you might say, but I want an easy way to remember the card rankings, hand strength, and payout table – a sort of cheat sheet in fact.
Fortunately you won’t have to worry too much. All of the online casinos I’ve seen either display or have a quick link to the payout list. In most circumstances you’ll only ever be one click away from knowing what you can win with which hand and which hands to play.
Where To Play
All online casinos listed here offer practice and real money gaming, and are well recognized as secure and trusted. Each one welcomes players from around the world (though of course you should check that gambling is legal where you live before playing). All offer good value bonuses which will help increase your starting bankroll and give the maximum playing time.
If you don’t want to play at a real money casino, you may want to take a look at the options for playing 3 card in social casinos like Chumba Casino.
OK let’s see a few real money casinos which have three card games:
Bet365 also offers the game in their online casino. US players not accepted.
The Unibet Casino is a great place to go for live games.
But probably the most well known place to play is at 888. You can play 3 card poker for free online or with the risk of winning or losing cash at the popular 888 online casino, which accepts players from all over the world. There are download and no download versions to play.
888’s online casino offers a wide variety of well known casino games,but many discerning players flock straight to the 888 version of 3 card poker.
888 3 card poker rules are pretty much the same as any other casino operators, but you do of course get an opportunity to sign up and get one of 888’s bonuses to increase your starting bankroll and give you a chance to try and beat the banker.
How To Play 888 3 Card Poker
888 lead into their version of 3 card poker with the words ”Heads up! Triple Card Poker is two games in one, the ‘Pair Plus’ and the ‘Ante Game’. You can play them together in a single hand or bet on each one separately”.
Of course that’s exactly right. It’s really two games in one – you’re either playing against the dealers 3 cards to get the best hand, or betting on getting a pair in your hand.
3 card poker is simple to play, fast paced, and profits or losses can swing rapidly either way. There is no skill really (other than sensible betting), it’s a typical casino game designed for enjoyment rather than as a guaranteed path to magnificent riches. Definitely one where you’ll want to have availed yourself of any betting bonuses on offer.
So here’s a walk through of the mechanics of how you do actually play 888 3 card.
You place a bet by clicking on any value chip and then clicking on Ante and/or Pair Plus. Your chosen value chip will be placed on whatever you clicked.
- Hit the Deal button to start the game.
- Before the hand is dealt, you do have the chance to change your bets either by clicking on Undo (to remove the last bet you made), Clear all bets (which takes everything off the table), or Double bet (obviously this doubles up all of your bets currently on the table).
- Both you and the dealer then get 3 cards.
- If you bet on pair plus (and your hand shows a pair or trips or a run or a flush), you win. It doesn’t matter what the dealer’s hand is. The higher your hand, the better odds you get on the payout.
- If you did not bet any chips on the Ante button in addition to Pair Plus, the hand is over and a new game is ready to begin.
- If you bet on Ante, you’re playing against the dealer.
- Look at your 3 cards. If you think your hand is a good one – and will beat the dealer’s -then click on Play to place another bet which will automatically be equal to your original Ante bet. Basically you are doubling up.
- If you think your hand is unlikely to beat the dealer,then fold. You don’t want to be risking more cash at this point.
- At this point, the dealer shows his cards and you compare the two hands.
- The dealer must have a high card queen or better to play.
- If the dealer does not have a queen at least, your original Ante bet pays double, but your Play bet is a ‘push’ and is returned to you with no winnings.
- If the dealer plays (has at least a queen), but your hand is a better one, both your Ante and Play bets pay back double.
- If the dealer plays, and his hand beats yours, you lose all bets.
888 3 Card Poker Payouts
All payouts are always written on the table view itself.
- Ante and Play – pays 1-1.
- Ante pays an additional Ante bonus for certain hands: a straight pays 1-1, a set pays 4-1, and a royal flush pays 5-1.
- Pair Plus pays 1-1 for a pair, and up to 40-1 with a royal flush.
Aside from these there are plenty of others. If you have any difficulty finding the game listed at any online casino you’re visiting, it’s worth remembering it may be known under different names. Different casinos operate on different platforms ( the casino software that runs the games). 3 card poker may also be known as Tri Card Poker or Trey Card Poker on different software platforms.
3 Card Poker Strategy – How To Win
It’s no fun playing casino games if you don’t ever win, right? And if you do want to win playing 3 card poker you’re going to need to know how to play using the the optimal strategies. Knowing what to do (and when) might keep you winning small amounts, and increasing your chances to ultimately hit a big winning hand.
These strategies are fairly straightforward, so let’s take a look at what you can do to maximize your chances.
Strategy For The Main Game – Against The Dealer 3 Card Poker Strategy
The basic strategy here pretty much makes the basis of a 3 Card betting system. Optimum player strategy against the dealer is to make the play or raise wager with Queen-6-4 or better and fold with anything lower, though the simpler strategy of playing queens or higher will give similar results. In fact, the dealer himself plays with the latter strategy of those two. This has been proven by a computer program which analysed all potential combinations of a players hand (22,100) against all combinations of the dealers cards (18,424).
Basically this means playing:
- Any pair or higher
- King or Ace high
- Queen high, when your second highest card is a 7 or higher
- Queen high, when your second card is a 6 and your third card is a 4 or higher
Of course, only playing bets made with those higher hands means folding all others, so you need to be patient and prepared to let a number of hands pass by without playing. If you don’t do this, the casino edge rises to around 7.65% from about 3.37 % with the optimal strategy.
You can see that as with all negative expectation gambling games there is no definite strategy that can overcome the built in house advantage which exists in all casino games. For this reason it’s very difficult, unless you’re extremely lucky, to come out ahead over a period of time. This leads to many players treating 3 card poker as a form of entertainment, rather than a money making enterprise. Exactly the way you should treat all casino games in fact.
Pair Plus Strategy
If you’re looking to get the occasional big win at 3 card poker, you’ll want to be making regular use of the pairs plus bet. The ante bonus on the regular play does offer the chance of reasonable wins too – though you won’t walk away a millionaire. And it’s worth noting the house advantage of 2.32% when you only play pair plus means you’ll struggle to find other casino card games giving you potentially as much value for money.
One thing to bear in mind about pair plus is that your wins and losses can be more volatile than in ante play. That does of course make it the riskier way to play meaning your expected losses over time will be higher than in ante play.
As far as strategy for pair plus goes, there’s not a great deal to think about. The odds are against you, but you’re going for the bigger wins. It’s going to be down to pure luck on whether you’ll get dealt a winning hand, so the only real strategy you can follow is one around staking or betting.
Basic Betting Strategy
The most common wager strategies are to play Ante and Pair Plus wagers for equal amounts, or for one of the Ante and Pair Plus wagers to be double the amount of the other one of the Ante and Pair Plus wagers.
The best way to bet in 3 card poker is to place 100% of your total bet on the Ante, because that’s where the lowest house edge is. But we’ve seen that Pair plus gives the higher odds – and in the rare circumstances where you get paid on the ante game but with a three of a kind hand you’re going to feel a little put out if you didn’t collect on it with a pair plus bet. Even so, if you can avoid the temptation then the best strategy is to do so. In the long run you’ll have more chance of coming out ahead.
Bankroll Strategy – Protecting Your Bankroll In 3 Card Poker Games
The only real decision you’ll need to make in pair plus play is on how much to bet, so other useful strategies to employ revolve around money and bankroll management. You want to preserve your betting bank for as long as possible. More money means more games, and more chances to hit those 3 cards that will give you a big win.
One good way to preserve your bank is to be fully aware of how much you have won, or lost, in your current sitting. Putting aside small amounts if you’re on a winning streak is a good idea.
Clearly it’s worth shopping around and making use of any valuable betting bonuses you can find too.
What Else Can Help?
If you get involved in any game where the dealer shows one of his cards, there’s a chance to gain a 3.5% advantage. Of course you’ll need to be able to work out the best way of using that information and this is not something you’ll come across in most three card games you’ll find.
FAQ What are the odds in 3 card poker?
This section covers how to calculate the probabilities in 3 Card Poker – the likelihood of you receiving any particular winning or losing hand. Probabilities are not so important to understand here as they are when playing optimal poker strategy in other poker games.
There are 22100 ways to draw 3 cards out of a 52 card pack, so to find out the mathematical probability of getting any hand you can just divide any of the numbers denoting how many ways to get dealt that hand (below) by 22100.
With 4 possible suits for a straight flush, you can get any combination from A23 to QKA, or 12 different straight flush hands. So the total number of straight flushes is 4*12=48.
Three Of A Kind
There are 13 options for getting a three of a kind hand. There are 4 ways to get 3 suits out of 4. So there are 52 potential three of a kinds.
There are 12 possible hands for a straight flush, but a straight in 3 card poker can be a hand with any suit. A straight has 3 cards, each may be one of any of the four suits. However if all three cards are of the same suit then you’ll have a straight flush. 720 possible straights.
There are 4 possible suits for a flush hand. For each of the suits there are 286 ways to get 3 out of 13. But we know from the straight flush section above that there are 12 combinations which give us three connected cards, giving you a straight flush. So the hand combinations that land you a straight which isn’t a straight flush is 274. So the number of flush combinations is 4 x 274, or 1096.
There are 13 possible pairs, which gives you 156 ways to land one. Within the pair there are 6 ways to get 2 suits out of the possible 4. So the total number of different pair combinations is 3744.
Nothing in 3 Card Poker Hands
The number of ways to get a nothing hand (ie less than a pair) is 16440.
Playing in cash tournaments is one of the best ways to enjoy real money games for a number of reasons. Playing 3 card tourneys would be great. Unfortunately 3 card poker tournaments are not so easy to find online, though you will find them in some land based casinos.
If I come across any online contests I’ll be sure to point them out here.
Progressive jackpots in 3 card poker can take different forms, depending on where you’re playing.
Some casinos offer a mini bonus on the Pair Plus bet with a payout which can be as high as 50-1 on a suited QKA.
Others make good use of a progressive pot to add extra spice for players. This progressive tends to be a $1 a go optional bet that you make by selecting a button before each hand is dealt. You get the chance to win a progressive bonus if your hand comes up 3 of a kind or a straight flush. The progressive jackpot gets won if your hand turns up as a mini royal flush in spades.
Hands & Payouts
• Royal Flush in Spades – Gets the progressive Jackpot
• Royal Flush in hearts, diamonds, or clubs – normally $500
• Straight Flush – normally $100
• 3 of a Kind – normally $50
The great thing about when a progressive is won is that all other players at the table get a share too. Known as an Envy Bonus payoff, this can be around $25 for any Royal Flush and $100 for one landed in Spades.
Clearly it’s not easy to land this bet, with the percentages well against you. Not one to play regularly, but can offer a little extra excitement if you’re well up on a session. With 22100 different hands possible on any draw, only 100 of these would net you the progressive payout.
If you do want to play in a progressive the best strategy is to keep an eye on the amount in the pot, and the number of players.
With a jackpot starting at $5000 the house has an edge of 70%. As the pot increases, each additional $1000 adds an extra 4.5% advantage to you, the player. At a pot of $10,000 the odds are pretty much even, at over $11500 they start to load in your favour. If you take into account other players and the way the Envy bonus works, each other table player adds another 0.79% to your chances.
Live Dealer 3 Card Poker Games
Interest in live dealer casinos has been growing. After many years of online casinos offering their games in the standard format, the industry needed to start looking at ways to present games in new and innovative formats. Live dealer games were born in an attempt to replicate the excitement of a live casino and many of the big operators now offer them.
So where to play live dealer 3 card poker?
Try these well known casinos for starters:
• William Hill
• Mr Green
Playing any game using an app is a perfect way to enjoy your gaming on the move – anywhere or any time. Apps of all kinds are hugely popular, so it’ll be no surprise to learn that there are apps for playing 3 card poker too. Using one to learn and practice is a great way to use up a spare few minutes while you’re on the move.
Some that are worth looking at include Ace 3-Card Poker – for Android and found at the Google store. For a whole bunch of different variants the App list at Softonic is a great resource, and you’ll find apps designed for Android or iOS devices. Here’s another app at the Google Store that’s worth a look.
More Info & Valuable Resources
The Wikipedia page on 3 card poker presents the history, playing rules, and some simple strategies in an easy to read format. It also contains a useful table showing the probabilities of achieving specific winning hands.
If you want to practice before stepping up to real money games at an online casino, there are free practice games on the WizardOfOdds website while the dedicated 3 card page at the long running Pagat.com website also carries some easy to follow info.
The useful site at 3CardPoker.com covers the game in depth, and also mentions the subject of tournaments – which can add a little extra spice to playing the game.
Forums are always a great place to get some real player viewpoints, and this Casinomeister thread has some useful info.
Reading through a list of Frequently Asked Questions is always a good way to learn about the intricacies of any subject. Check out this link for the best list of 3 card poker FAQ. We do of course answer the most frequently asked three card questions above.
3 Card Poker Variations
Here we’ll look at a few of the variants, starting with Teen Pati.
An interesting variation to be aware of is the Indian version of 3 card known as Teen Patti (also known as Teen Pathi or Flash). The main difference between this version and casino 3 card poker is that Teen Patti is played against other players rather than a dealer. It’s been a highly popular form of the game in India for many years.
This variant works best (for gambling purposes) when played with between four and seven players, with an objective of either betting in a way that makes your opponents fold (ie bluffing), or betting because you have a great winning hand.
Hand rankings and the betting process are explained on the Wikipedia Teen Patti page, while the strategies and winning techniques of Flash are similar to those shown above in the best playing strategies section.
Online Teen Patti
It’s clear that Teen Patti has been played for hundreds of years on the streets of India, so it won’t be a surprise to know that online versions are available. They’re becoming highly popular with Indian and other Asian region families, who are increasingly being drawn to the ease of playing online games.
For Indian players who want to play online one of the best options will be the fast growing Junglee TeenPatti, however there are plenty of 3 card poker casinos that cater more for western players but which also accept Indian registrations.
Also popular across the Indian subcontinent is another version of 3 Card Poker known as Mini Flush. They’re essentially highly similar, and the main difference between Mini Flush and its better known counterpart is in the betting.
Mini Flush Bonus Bets
In Mini Flush there are two optional bonus bets that can be placed alongside the main ante bet – a High bet, and a Low bet. You win the High bet by getting a high hand ( flush upwards) and the Low bet from a low hand starting from a maximum of a 9. Just as in 3 Card, you’ll be paid out on High and Low bets irrelevant of what happens in the main ante game.
Mini Flush ‘High’ Bet Payouts
• Pair: Push (No win, the original bet is returned)
• Flush: 2 to 1
• Straight: 4 to 1
• Straight Flush: 75 to 1
• Three of a Kind: 100 to 1
Mini Flush ‘Low’ Bet Payouts
• Highest Card 10: Push
• Highest Card 9: 1 to 1
• Highest Card 8: 2 to 1
• Highest Card 7: 4 to 1
• Highest Card 6: 15 to 1
• Highest Card 5: 50 to 1
There are some drawbacks which will become apparent from these payout tables.
1. There is no payout for a pair.
2. Payouts for flushes and straights may be lower than in standard 3 Card (make sure you check the rules before playing).
3. The bonus bet effectively entails you placing double the money (ie on High and Low, rather than just on one bonus overall).
4. Some operators of Mini Flush will force you to double your initial ante if you want to continue playing after the flop of your 3 cards and to see the dealers hand.
Ultimate Three Card Poker
This is a version of 3 card which you may also see named as Face Up. The key aspect of Ultimate/Face Up is that the dealer only reveals one card in each head to head game rather than all three. Standard rules generally apply, but the big difference is in the betting process.
In an Ultimate game you need to make an additional blind bet that’s the equivalent of your Ante. Of course you can choose to make a pair plus bet too.
If you show at least a pair in your 3 card hand, you can make an additional bet of up to three times the ante instead of the normal double. Clearly this 3 times bet is allowed because you can only see one dealer card. Anything less than a pair, and you can only double up on a bet as in standard games.
The blind bet is a loser if lower than the dealers, a winner if higher, and a push if your hand is lower than a flush.
From a house edge perspective this version offers roughly the same winning chance in percentage terms, but of course there are some additional elements thrown in that could increase the volatility. You’ll need to take the extra risks into account and it’s suggested that you fold any hand lower then J-7-4. Also be wary of raising the full 3 times your wager unless you’re holding at least a pair.
Bets on the pair plus in this game can be worthwhile. With higher odds payouts the house edge sees a reduction to just over 2%.
Three Card Slots
I found this slots version of 3 card at the William Hill online casino. It’s a unique slots game based firmly on the card game version we know and love. William Hill offer the option of either playing it for cash or for free.
The slot features both Hold and Nudge options which help improve on potential winning line combinations. Each reel is made up of symbols showing all 52 cards in the deck. Operation is straightforward – select your stake, press the spin buttons, and stop each reel individually to stop it spinning. You’re obviously trying to line up a good 3 card hand on the win line.
Holds are awarded randomly and can be applied across any of the reels, nudges are awarded when a 4th reel to the right of the normal winning three stops on the same number as any of those three. When this happens you get one free nudge. If the number matches and the suit matches, you get two nudges.
Seems like a good option to me for any players who are also keen on slots. I think this one would work well as the subject of an online slots tournament. Sadly as we’ve seen before , it’s hard to find 3 card tournaments though playing a 3 card type game in a slots tourney could be a good alternative.
Three Card 21 “n” Done
This variation of the game has only recently been introduced to Nevada casinos, and it may not be long before we see it in the online casinos game list.
21 n Done is part blackjack and part 3 card, providing an interesting variation for of sets of fans. It pays good odds on strong hands of 3 cards, but if you land a weakish hand that totals over 21 you’re able to split it into three separate hands.
It takes a bit of concentration to get your head around the rules at first.
Each round begins by players placing two bets – one for the standard 3 hand and another for the 21 bonus game. Three cards are then dealt to each player, with payouts for the 21 bonus as follows:
21 total: 1 to 1
Pair: 1 to 1
Flush: 3 to 2
Straight: 2 to 1
Trips: 5 to 1
Straight Flush: 15 to 1
3 Card Royal: 50 to 1
3 Card Royal in Diamonds: 200 to 1
If your hand shows a total of 21 after the deal, you’ll collect on the bonus wager plus be paid at evens on the Three Card 21 bet too.
Now we move to the bit where blackjack comes into play.
If the dealer is showing an ace, each player has the option to buy insurance which pays out 2 to 1 (just like normal). If the dealer does have blackjack then all insurance bets are paid out.
If the dealer does not show blackjack and the player shows a total that’s more than 21 there are two options for the player – they can either surrender the hand and lose half of their three card wager amount in the process, or they make two additional bets of the same amount, splitting the three card hand into three distinct blackjack hands.
Some additional rules to note:
- If a player has an ace it can be counted as 11 to take the hand count to over 21
- If a player has a pair – irrelevant of whether the total count is over 21 – their 3 cards can be used to make 3 blackjack hands. Note that this is not a forced decision, you could still just hold the hand you have and stand or draw another card.
In any round where hands are split, each hand plays like a normal blackjack hand except for any hand total of 21 is paid 1 to 1 automatically plus pairs cannot be split twice.
All in all, if you find 21 n Done on the games list wherever you’re playing it’ll be worth taking a second look. The odds should be more in your favour provided you play optimal general strategy.
Strategy For Live 3 Card Poker Games
You won’t see too many articles on the techniques used to gain an advantage in live games, so here I’ll try to fill the gap.
As you’d expect, it’s not easy, and is limited to either gaining some knowledge of what other cards are in play, or using promotions to increase benefits and/or playing time.
Knowing What’s In Play
Clearly if you have knowledge of one or more cards being held in the dealers hand, you are better placed to make a decision on how to play your own.
It’ll be extremely rare to ever be in this position legally, though there are remote chances of using your eagle eyes to watch as an inexperienced dealer deals out the cards.
Promotions for casino gaming are widely used in live casinos. They’ll come in the form of VIP or comp points or bonuses which can normally be used in exchange for goods, services, or occasionally rebates on losses.
None of these of course give any added info about the hands, and the reality is that the strategies for live 3 card are really limited to those for online games.
The way to play 3 card poker and the strategies you can use to improve your chances are fairly basic, but that doesn’t stop the game from being a favourite of many casino regulars. For safe gaming, making sure you play at respected and trusted casinos is of course a sensible step to take, plus keeping an eye open for the payout percentages of any casino you do play at. These can vary from casino to casino.
Always remember that just as with all casino games, it’s not going to be easy for you to win. Especially if you’re looking for a guaranteed long term profit. What you will find though, is that intensive practice and playing the correct strategies will ensure you get a sufficient number of wins to keep your money going as long as possible.
It’s a game where you don’t need to spend too much time thinking. There’s no real worry about table etiquette, and if you play online the electronic software that drives casino games will make playing easy.