Casino Backgammon

3 Card Poker Strategy


3 card poker is an easy type of playing poker. Ideally played, one achieves a payout percentage of 97,99%, all dependent on the payout percentages of the particular casino. It is two games in one (see rules of the game in the next section), and the player decides himself, if he wants to play only one or both of them. One is not playing against the other players, but against the dealer and as the name suggests, does a poker hand in this game consist of only 3 cards. It is very easy to learn, as there are only two options of acting, namely Play (playing the dealt hand) or Fold (quit he game).

In the following scheme you see the possible poker hands at 3 Card Poker and their ranking. Please note that a Straight (a street) has a higher rank than a Flush, which is not common in poker. That's because it is easier with 3 cards to form a Flush than to form a Straight.

Poker hand Example
Straight Flush Straight Flush
3 of a Kind 3 of a Kind
Straight Straight
Flush Flush
One pair One pair
Queen to Ace as highest card Queen to Ace as highest card
Jack or less Jack or less

It is played with one single deck, and every player is dealt three cards. The dealer gets three cards as well, which are all covered.

As said before, does the game consist of two games, that is to say you can place two bets in one round: Ante (basic stakes) and Pair Plus. Ante works like with normal Poker. It has to be placed to play the hand. Pair Plus is a bet where you have to have at least a pair or higher to win. Both bets are placed before one is dealt the three cards, and they both refer to this poker hand. It is not necessary to make both bets but the player has to execute at least one.
3 Card Poker at Yukon Gold Casino
3 Card Poker at Yukon Gold Casino

Rules of the game:

After you placed the Ante- and Pair Plus bet or only one of the two, the cards are dealt. You have now to choose between Play and Fold. If you choose play, you have to bet the same amount again like the Ante amount. If you choose Fold, you are loosing all of your stakes – thus the Ante as well as the Pair Plus (if you made both).

The Ante bet: Taken for granted, you decide for Play. Now the dealer exposes his three cards. He has to have at least a Queen as highest card or a better hand (see above) to qualify. If this is not the case, you are always winning. Here are the possible results of the game:
  • Dealer doesn't qualify himself. Ante wins 1:1, Play is paid out
  • Dealer qualifies himself, but looses: Ante and Play win 1:1
  • Dealer qualifies himself and wins: Ante and Play lose
  • Dealer qualifies himself, but the game ends in a draw: Ante and Play are paid out
Except these payouts you're getting an extra prize for the Ante bet on top, if you have at least one Straight in your hand
  • Straight Flush: Ante wins 5:1
  • 3 of a Kind: Ante wins 4:1
  • Straight: Ante wins 1:1
The Pair Plus bet: With this bet, the dealer's hand doesn't play a role at all; it is about your hand only. You need to have one pair at least. If you have less you're loosing your stakes, otherwise you win as follows:
  • Straight Flush: Pair Plus wins 40:1
  • 3 of a Kind: Pair Plus wins 30:1
  • Straight: Pair Plus wins 6:1
  • Flush: Pair Plus wins 4:1
  • One pair: Pair Plus wins 1:1
With Pair Plus, you don't have to bet the same amount as in the Ante bet. You can bet more, but also less.


Now you already know how to play 3 Card Poker. To play it ideally, you only have to remember one thing, namely: If your Poker hand consists of at least Queen, 6 and 4, then play it (Play). Don't play anything that's below this (Fold).
3 Card Poker at Kiwi Casino
3 Card Poker at Kiwi Casino
For Poker beginners: A hand with Queen, 7 and 3 is better than one with Queen, 6 and 4, because one compares the highest card of both hands first (here both Queen), then the second highest, thus 7 and 6. 7 is higher than 6, and therefore the third highest cards of both hands doesn't interest us at all, and the Queen, 7 and 3 hand wins.

The last hint, which admittedly affects the attractiveness, is: never play the Pair Plus bet. The explanation is, that the house edge with the combined Ante and Play bet is 2,01%, but only 2,32% with the Pair Plus bet. Therefore it's just not worthwhile to make the Pair Plus bet, because one can achieve a higher payout percentage without this bet.

Please notice, that the payout percentage mentioned in the beginning can only be achieved, if the Pair Plus bet is not made, and if the casino applies the described payout percentages above.

Have a good time!

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