A Quick Guide to Three Card Poker

Three Card Poker or Tri Poker is a popular casino table game based on poker which allows players to bet against the house/dealer rather than with each other. This modern casino game is played with fifty-two (52) card pack at a special table where the cards are distributed and placing of bets takes place.

You either play an Ante or Play plus, but some casino made Ante bet mandatory. Three cards are distributed to the dealer, and each player after bets has been made. Aside from being simple to learn, easy to play, it is also fun in the way the fingers/hand is put to use in playing it and generate handsome money when you win your game.

How to Play Three Card Poker

Knowing the rules and following it is essential to winning. Here are the rules of playing Three Card Poker game.


  • The player makes an Ante Bet
  • Three cards are given each to the player by the dealer; all the cards are faced down, players can only examine theirs.
  • If your bet is Ante, you will either fold or raise your card. When folded, your Ante wager is forfeited. But when raised, you will make an additional play bet the same as your Ante bet.
  • The dealer/house turns up their cards.
  • If the dealer has queen-high or better cards, he wins.
  • If the dealer does not qualify, you are the winner of the money on the play bets and Ante.
  • If the dealer qualifies, both dealer and player hands are compared, and the best hands win.
  • If player hand is better than the hand of the dealer, the player wins both the play bets and Ante.
  • If dealer’s hand is higher than the player’s own, the player loses both play bets and Ante.
  • In case of a tie, both play bets and Ante are a push.
  • If a player has a straight or better, you will get an Ante bonus regardless of the value at the hand of the dealer.
  • If you place a pair plus bet, it is paid on the value at the hand of the player.

Playing the Game

The modern Three Card Poker game is played with Fifty-two card pack at a special table. The cards are dealt and bets placed on the table.

The types of bets/wager are:

  • Ante and play. A bet that player’s hand will be better than the dealer’s hand.
  • Pair Plus wager. It a bet that player hands will be a pair or better. It is paid independently of what the dealer is dealt.

Each player must place an Ante bet before the deal to be served three cards each. This will inform each player on going further even to pair plus bet.

Hand Ranking

The hand ranking for this game is stated from the lowest to the highest below.

High Card

3 cards that have not the same ranks, have not the same suit, and not consecutive. When comparing two hands with a high card, the highest cards are compared first, if both equal the middle cards are compared and lastly the lowest cards.

The pair

Two equal rank cards with a lone different rank card. When comparing two hands with a pair, the rank of the pair is considered. If hands have equal pairs, the hand with a better kicker (odd card) wins.


Three cards of the same suit. It compares as the high card hands.


Three cards in sequence. The decision between two straights favors the higher ranked cards.

Three of a kind

Three cards ranking same. The higher ranks win against the other.

Straight flush

Three suited cards in sequence. It is compared to straights while ace counting high or low.

The Procedure

Place your bet in the triangular Ante space for the Ante-play; you can decide to play or fold; if you decide to play, your bet must be equal to your Ante bet, it can’t be lesser or higher. For pair plus, you must place your bet in the circular Pair Plus space. You are then dealt three cards facing down by the dealer; you may look at yours after all cards are dealt.

Ante-play wager

The dealer takes your Ante and clears your cards if you have seen your cards and fold. After players have made a decision to fold or play; the dealer reveals his cards. The dealer will play if his hand is queen-high or better. It means play bets and the Ante is all in action. For you to win your hand must surpass the dealers’. The dealer gets both bets if you lose, but if you win, you get the play wagers bets and Ante.

Ante bonus is paid to Ante wager for a straight or better. You don’t have to beat the dealer to get this. This bonus includes 5 to 1 for a straight flush, 4 to 1 for three of a kind, even for a straight.

Pair plus Wager

You are not playing against the dealer but for the better hands among players. The pair hands or better hands win the game; you lose if you don’t hold a pair or a better. Winning pair hands gets to pay even if the player folds so it better to place a play bet for such. The winning hand payment formula is even money for a pair, 4 to 1 for a flush, 6 to 1 for a straight, 30 to 1 for a kind, 40 to 1 for a straight flush.

Variants exist at different casinos

Some casinos allow players to place a Pair plus wager without Ante. This has a disadvantage on the player. Variation of the pay tables also exists for play bet and Ante and also of the pair plus which impact the House edge badly.

The addition of wager called Prime is seen in United States casinos. The game is known as Prime Three Card Poker. It is an optional game place before cards are dealt and pays on the color of the player’s card. If three cards color matches, pay is 3 to 1. However, if dealer’s hand is involved and all six cards are of the color, then the payoff is 4 to 1.

Another variant is six card bonus. The payout is given based on the best five cards poker hand that can be made combining the player and the dealer’s three cards. Payoff ranges from five to one for three of a kind to one thousand to one for a royal flush. Bets are given to winner irrespective of whether the pair plus or Ante bets play.

Final Words

Three Card Poker is a game that provides a chance at some big playoffs and a reasonable shot to win. If you understand and apply the perfect strategy, it can lead to a nice winning section.

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Three Card Poker or Tri Poker is a popular casino table game based on poker which allows players to bet against the house/dealer rather...
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