How To Play Three Card Poker

Three card poker is a simple card game created by British poker player Derek Webb in 1994.

The game made its debut at Grand Casino Gulfport in Mississippi before gaining listings at the top resorts in Detroit, Las Vegas, and Atlantic City.

Three card poker is now one of the most popular online casino games. This guide explains how to play three card poker and provides our top tips to boost your chances of success.

What is three card poker?

Three card poker is a poker-style game in which you compete against the house as opposed to rival players.

As the game’s name suggests, you will be dealt three cards at the start of each round. If you end up with a stronger hand than the dealer, you will win. There are also side bets, which offer payouts of up to 1000:1.

How to play three card poker

Webb established a company called Prime Table Games to market three card poker after he was granted a patent in 1997. Shuffle Master then acquired the rights to the game in the US market.

The prominent gaming company Light & Wonder now owns Shuffle Master. Thus, Light & Wonder is the exclusive supplier of three card poker to online casinos in Michigan. Follow these steps to play the game.

1. Select a three card poker game

You can play three card poker at most online casinos in Michigan. It is a virtual table game, so random number generators provide the results.

Some MI online casinos also offer a live dealer version of the game, which Light & Wonder created in partnership with Evolution Gaming. Head to the table games section or the live dealer section of your online casino to find those options.

Three Card Poker

2. Place your bets

When you enter the game, a blue table will greet you. There will be chips at the edge of the table, and you can use them to place your bets.

You have three options.

  • Ante | This is the standard bet when you play three card poker. You must lay chips on the ante square at the start of each round. The minimum bet is $0.10, and the maximum is $5,000 at some online casinos.
  • Pair Plus | This is an optional side bet, which you can place after laying chips on the ante section of the table. The Pair Plus side bet offers payouts of up to 200:1. We’ll explain how it works in the following section.
  • 6 Card Bonus | Another optional side bet, this bonus becomes available only after you place chips on the ante bet.

Three Card Poker place wagers

3. Receive your hand

When you have placed your bets, click the “DEAL” button. You will receive three cards face up, and the dealer will receive three cards face down.

In three card poker, hands are ranked from best to worst as follows:

  1. Straight flush
  2. Three of a kind
  3. Straight
  4. Flush
  5. Pair
  6. High card

Three Card Poker after the deal

4. Play or fold

After receiving your three-card hand, you have two moves at your disposal.

  • Click the 1x button to play. That means you must double your risk amount. For example, if your ante bet was $10, you would need to place a $10 play bet.
  • Click the “FOLD” button. This means you lose your ante bet, but you do not need to risk any more money.

The basic idea is to click the 1x button if you have a strong hand and fold if you have a weak hand.

Three Card Poker after bet

5. Dealer’s hand is revealed

When you have made your decision, the dealer’s hand will be revealed. If you decide to play and the dealer has a Queen-high or better, the dealer’s hand will be evaluated against your hand using the rankings listed above.

There are four possible outcomes at this stage.

Dealer’s HandYour Ante BetYour Play Bet
Worse than Queen-highWins and is paid out at 1:1Pushes; you get your money back
Better than Queen-high and equal to your handPushes; you get your money backPushes; you get your money back
Better than Queen-high and outranks your handLosesLoses
Worse than your handWins and is paid out at 1:1Wins and is paid out at 1:1

Queen-high means that the dealer does not have a pair, flush, straight, three of a kind, or straight flush. The dealer’s highest-ranking card must also be lower than a Queen (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, or Jack).

This means that you can still win even if you have a weaker hand than the dealer’s. For example, if the dealer’s hand is 10-high and your hand is 7-high, your ante bet will still be paid out at 1:1, and your play bet will push, as the dealer does not meet the Queen-high threshold.

Ante bonus

You will receive a bonus payout if you make a play bet and have a straight, three of a kind, or a straight flush. These are the payouts:

  • Straight flush (5:1)
  • Three of a kind (4:1)
  • Straight (1:1)

This bonus payout will be awarded regardless of the dealer’s hand. For example, if you end up with three of a kind and the dealer receives a straight flush, you will still be paid out at 4:1.

Side bets

There are two popular side bets for three card poker players to consider. These bets can only be placed in addition to the ante bet.

Pair Plus

You need to be dealt a pair or better for this optional side bet to succeed. These are the payouts:

  • Mini royal (200:1)
  • Straight flush (40:1)
  • Three of a kind (30:1)
  • Straight (6:1)
  • Flush (3:1)
  • Pair (1:1)

Note: A “mini royal” is a suited Ace-King-Queen.

This side bet is not affected by the dealer’s hand. That means you will be paid out even if your hand is weaker than the dealer’s. You will also be paid out even if you fold your hand.

6 Card Bonus

This is another optional side bet, which you can make after placing chips on the ante section of the table. It focuses on the best possible hand that can be created from your hand and the dealer’s hand.

These are the potential payouts you can receive:

  • Royal flush (1000:1)
  • Straight flush (200:1)
  • Four of a kind (50:1)
  • Full house (25:1)
  • Flush (20:1)
  • Straight (10:1)
  • Three of a kind (5:1)

Once again, this side bet pays out even if you fold or if the dealer ends up with a stronger hand.

Virtual three card poker vs. live three card poker

Virtual three card poker is available at all the best online casinos in Michigan. The random number generators (RNG) that dictate results are independently tested by the Michigan Gaming Control Board Gaming to ensure accuracy and fairness.

You can also play three card poker with a live dealer at certain MI online casinos. The game is identical, as both are owned by Light & Wonder, but there is no need for RNG tools. Instead, you watch as an actual dealer hands out the cards, and a chat box will allow you to interact with the dealer while the game unfolds.

Three card poker tips

  • If your hand is Queen-6-4 or better, opt for the play bet. Fold if your hand is weaker than Queen-6-4.
  • The ante bet has a 3.37% house edge. That makes it a more attractive option than the Pair Plus side bet, which has a 4.49% house edge.
  • The 6 Card Bonus side bet has a very high 8.56% house edge. It offers the chance to win a 1000:1 payout, but this bet should be avoided if you want to maximize your chances of success.
  • Claim bonuses and promotions at Michigan online casinos. The best deals allow you to play three card poker with house money.
  • If you would like to try out a poker-style game with a lower house edge, head to the video poker section of your online casino. Some video poker games have a house edge of just 0.28%.

Where to play three card poker for free

You can try three card poker for free in demo mode at Michigan’s top online casinos. These are the sites we recommend.

  • BetMGM | This online casino allows you to play three card poker with virtual credits for as long as you like.
  • Caesars Palace | The three card poker game at Caesars Palace Casino has broad betting limits, and it is playable in demo mode.
  • FanDuel Casino | FanDuel hosts virtual and live dealer three card poker, with an upper limit of $5,000 per hand on the live dealer game.
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