Three Card Poker Rules & Tips for Online Play

Three Card Poker (it is sometimes also known as Tri Poker) is one of the latest card games added to land-based and online casinos. Read our comprehensive 3 card poker guide to learn how to beat the dealer and win.

3 card pokerThree Card Poker is a card game invented in 1994. It was offered for the very first time in Atlantis Casino Resort in Reno, Nevada. Although it is one of the newest games in the casino industry, it is becoming one of the most popular games both in land-based and online casinos due to its quite simple rules. The main objective of the game is to create the best poker hand with three cards and beat the dealer.

Combining two card games, Blackjack and Poker, Tri Card Poker has easy betting options and it requires the basic strategy. Before you start wagering real money on this game, you should look for online casinos which allow you to play Tri Card Poker for free with no strings attached.

This is how you will learn the ropes and get prepared for the real money play. Stay tuned for more information on the Tri Card Poker rules and strategy.



How to Play Three Card Poker

Before you are dealt the cards you have to place your bet. The player can place an Ante bet thus wagering that their hand will be higher in rank than one created by the dealer. Another bet the player can place is Pair Plus, an additional bet that qualifies any hand from a pair to a straight flush for a win. So, you have placed your bet and you are dealt three cards. Your goal is to create the best poker hand with only three cards. If you have a hand higher than Queen, 6 and 4, you should “play” or place a Play bet. If your hand is worse than that, play “fold”. The Play wager is equal to the Ante wager you have placed before you are dealt three cards.

If the player opts for “fold”, the dealer collects the player’s wagers. Otherwise, the player places a Play bet and the cards are revealed. Provided the dealer has created a hand consisting of Jack-high or worse, the player gets the Play bet back. If the dealer has a better hand, the player’s bets are collected. Player can also place a Pair Plus bet. If the player has made the Pair Plus wager, the result of the game does not depend on the dealer’s hand. This wager allows the player to win with a hand consisting of a pair or of higher ranking combination.

Three Card Poker uses a table which looks like a Blackjack table. It consists of three circles on which the player should place bets. Due to the number of cards hand rankings in Tri card Poker differ to those in the traditional Poker variants. To create a straight flush hand you need three cards of the same suit in sequence, for three of a kind hand you need three cards of equal rank. A straight hand is created with three cards of mixed suits in sequence while three cards of the same suit create a flush hand. To have a pair hand you need two cards of equal rank and a high card is the highest card in the hand.

3 Card Ante-Play Odds and Strategy

When you place an Ante-Play combination, you bet that your hand will be better than the dealer’s. You start the game by placing an Ante bet and after you have seen your cards, you either place a Play bet or fold. If the dealer’s hand does not contain Queen or better, the dealer does not qualify and you win a 1-1 payout based on your bet. If the dealer has Queen or better, you have to create a better poker hand. Beating the dealer means that you are paid 1-1 on both your Ante and Play bet. If your hand is worse, the dealer wins and takes both your bets.

Ante Play Strategy

The basic strategy for the Ante-Play combination includes placing bets when you have a hand which contains Queen, 6 and 4 or better. If your hand is worse, you should fold. When you don’t have a pair or better but you have a Queen, your next move should depend on your second and third card. Here are some suggestions how you can make use of such a hand. If your second highest card is 7 or higher you should bet on a Queen-high hand. You should do the same if your second-highest card is 6 and your third card is 4 or 5. If your third card is 2 or 3 or if your second-highest card is 5 or lower, you should fold.

Three Card Poker: Pair Plus Odds

If you place a Pair Plus bet, you will win whenever your hand includes a pair, flush, straight, three of a kind or straight flush regardless of the dealer’s cards. In addition to these combinations, at certain casinos you can also create a mini-royal hand consisting of Ace, King and Queen of the same suit. Payouts from these hands are different and the lowest is delivered for creating a pair hand. You will be paid 1 for 1 when you create a pair hand. The most lucrative combination is mini-royal which can pay up to 200 for 1. When it comes to a straight flush and three of a kind, you can win 40 for 1 and 30 for 1 respectively.

About one-fourth of hands out of 100 will have a pair or better combination. Today you can find Tri Card Poker with different paytables, so choose a game with the most favourable paytable with lower house edges. What you should keep in mind is that when you play a Pair Plus bet you don’t have to beat the dealer to get paid, but you have to create a good poker hand.

Winning at Tri Card Poker and the House Edge

Any time you create a straight, three of a kind or straight flush hand you will win an Ante bonus. This bonus is paid based on your Ante bet, regardless of your Play bet. You can win the bonus even if you don’t win when you create a good hand. If you play the basic strategy Queen-6-4 which includes placing a Play bet of the same value as an Ante bet about two-thirds of the time, the house edge will be 2.01% which makes the Ante-Play combination a good bet.

To win at Tri Card Poker you should use the optimal strategies and know what decisions you have to make at a certain moment. To maximise your winning chances you should place a Play bet whenever you have a Queen-6-4 combination or better and fold when your cards are worse. There are potential 22,100 combinations of a player’s hand which can result in a better hand than the dealer’s and winning.

You have to be also prepared to fold when your hand is worse than that. Though you will loose your Ante bet, you don’t have to lose more than that, so be patient and wait for a better hand of cards to increase your bet. If you keep placing Play bets when your cards are worse than Queen-6-4, the casino edge will increase which means that your winning chances are lessened.

Three Card Poker Tips and Tricks

Here is a list of tips and tricks you should apply when playing Three Card Video Poker:

  • Play in Practice Mode: Try out Tri Card Poker in practice mode before you start risking your own money. This is the best way to understand the game and practice the optimal strategy.
  • Play Ante Bets: When placing Ante bets the game has the lowest house edge which means that you have the best odds of winning. Whenever you are dealt Queen-6-4 or higher, increase your stake by placing a Play bet. Otherwise, fold.
  • Set Your Bankroll: Just as with other casino games, when playing Tri Card Poker you should set your bankroll as well as the win and loss limits. Check out the stake when you launch the game as it may be set at the maximum value.
  • Have Enough Money to Raise Your Wager: Don’t forget that you should have enough money to place a Play bet once you get a hand better than Queen-6-4.
  • Some Casinos Are Better Than Other: If it happens that both the player and the dealer get the same poker hand when playing the Ante bet, this situation is a tie. Look out for online casinos in which this is a winning hand for the player.
  • Use the Optimal Strategy: Tri Card Poker is a fast paced card game which does not allow you to make many moves. However, increasing your wager at the right moment, choosing a favourable paytable and risking every now and then by placing Pair Plus bets are moves which can help you beat the player in the long run.

3 Card Poker in a Nutshell

Three Card Poker is a game with simple rules to learn. Follow our tips and you can beat the dealer and win. The most important thing is to resist placing side bets very often and to know when you should “play” or “fold”. Most online casinos today offer Tri Card Poker. Sometimes the name of the game will be different due to trademark rights, but the rules of the game are same.

Choose a trusted online casino which offers Tri Card Poker with favourable paytable and start playing it today. Don’t forget to play the game in practice mode first until you feel you are ready enough to wager real money. You can also find gaming venues which offer the mobile version of Tri Card Poker you can enjoy on the move.

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