How to Play Three Card Poker

Part 2: A Vegas Aces Guide

Playing the Game

When everyone is done making their bets, the dealer will initiate the shuffle machine and a set of 3 cards will come out. The dealer will deliver these cards face down and to the dealer’s left hand side of the ANTE wager. Once the first set of cards comes out, no one is allowed to change or alter their bets. As soon as the Players get their cards, they’re allowed to look at them. They don’t have to wait for all of the cards to come out of the shuffler before they touch them. Some casinos allow players to show each other their cards & discuss their hand, while other casinos have a “No Sharing Policy” which means they can’t show their cards to any other Player.

Player is folding on 3 Card Poker

If the Player doesn’t like their hand, and they also have an ANTE wager, then they have the option to fold. When the Player folds, they forfeit all of their bets, and refuse to continue playing. In order to fold, the Player will do one of two things. They will either, gently toss their cards towards the Dealer or they will take their cards and push them under their bets and towards the Dealer. Normally, the Player would fold if they have three unmatched cards with the highest value being a 10 or a Jack. And even though that betting circle says Pairs Plus, it is not advisable to fold everything you have except pairs. Yes, I actually had a Player who did that. He folded hand, after hand, after hand and after a while I finally asked, “Do you mind if I check that?” and he replied, “Yeah, sure, it’s crap. No pair.” So I flip over his hand and he has a Straight Flush, the highest hand a Player can get. “Why are you throwing away a Straight Flush?!?” “Well, it’s not a Pair. I need a Pair to win on the Pair Plus.”

If the Player likes their hand, and decides to continue playing, then they will lay their cards in the square marked PLAY, and place their wager on top of them. Remember, the amount of the PLAY wager must be equal to the ANTE wager. Here’s a quick tip, Mike Shackleford from the Wizard of Odds told his readers that the best way to play this game is to bet on anything higher than a Queen, six, four and fold anything lower.

After all of the Players have made their decision, the Dealer will finally place the last 3 cards face down in front of him. The Dealer will turn them over and qualify with a Queen or higher.

Tipping the Dealer

Player tips the dealer

When tipping the Dealer, the Player will place the cheque to the right of the betting area. You’re allowed to place the tip on any wager you desire. Or you can just give the cheques directly to the Dealer. When trying to figure out how much to give, 10 % is normally a good place to start.

Determining a Winner

Once the Dealer’s cards have been revealed, it is now time to turn over the Player’s cards and compare the two, to see who has won. The outcome of your future winnings depends on whether the Dealer qualifies or not. If the Dealer’s highest card is a Jack or less, then the Dealer does not qualify and their hand doesn’t play. When this happens, everyone’s PLAY wager is considered a Push and no action is taken on this bet. The Dealer will pat the table, just as they would if they were dealing on a Blackjack table.

Some casinos will ask you perform a different hand gesture other than patting the table, so make sure you know your house rules.

After the PLAY wager gets pushed, everyone’s ANTE bet will get paid 1 to 1 or even money. If the Player qualifies, then the ANTE Bonus will be paid. The last bet is the PAIR PLUS and that will only get paid if the Player has a pair or better.

Getting Paid

Now, in order for the Dealer to qualify, they must get a Queen or higher. If this happens, then the Dealer’s hand is now in-play and it is the Player’s goal to try and get a better poker hand ranking then the Dealer.

So, if the Dealer qualifies and the Player’s hand beats the Dealer’s hand, then both the PLAY & the ANTE wagers would get paid 1 to 1, or Even Money. The PAIR PLUS would get paid depending on if the Player had a pair or better. If the Dealer qualifies but the Player’s hand loses against the Dealer’s hand, then both the PLAY & the ANTE wagers lose as well, and the bets are taken. However, the PAIR PLUS is not affect by the Dealer’s hand, so if the Player has a pair or better then they‘ll still get paid for it.

The ANTE BONUS is similar to the PAIR PLUS in that, these bets get paid regardless of the Dealer’s hand. So if the Player gets a Straight or better, then they will get paid on the ANTE BONUS even if the Dealer’s hand beats the Player’s hand and the ANTE loses.

If the Player’s cards and the Dealer’s cards are exactly the same, then this is considered a tie and the ANTE and PLAY will push, meaning no money is exchanged and the Player gets to keep their bet for another round. If the Player has a pair or better, then the PAIR PLUS will still get paid and the same goes for the ANTE BONUS, if the Player has a Straight or better.

If all of the Players fold, then they’re allowed to see the Dealer’s hand before the Dealer places it in the discard rack and starts a new hand.


The odds for the game are typically the same, however there are variations out there, so don’t fret if your casino has different odds then the ones I’m posting now. For the ANTE BONUS, if the Player gets a Straight then they’ll get paid 1 to 1, or Even Money. If they get a 3 of a Kind then the payout is 4 to 1 and if the Player gets a Straight Flush then they’ll get paid 5 to 1.

For the PAIR PLUS, if the Player gets a pair then they’ll get paid 1 to 1, or Even Money. If they get a Flush then they’ll get paid 3 to 1. However, remember when I said there were variations out there? Some casinos will pay you 4 to 1 on a Flush. For a Straight, you’ll typically get paid 6 to 1, however there are some casinos that’ll pay 5 to 1 for this rank. The 3 of a Kind pays 30 to 1 but in Great Britain, the casinos typically pay 33 to 1. And a Straight Flush will get paid 40 to 1, but in Great Britain it normally gets paid 35 to 1.

In Great Britain the house edge is 2.0% and the house edge on the PAIR PLUS is 2.7%. This is due to the odds that Great Britain offers, with a 3 of a kind paying 33:1, a Straight Flush paying 35:1, a normal Straight paying 6:1, and a Flush paying 4:1.

In Las Vegas, the house edge on the PAIR PLUS is 7.28%. This is due to the odds that Las Vegas offers, such as a Straight Flush paying 40 to 1, a 3 of a Kind paying 30 to 1, a Straight paying 6 to 1 and a Flush paying 3 to 1.

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