How to Play Three Card Poker
Part 1: A Vegas Aces Guide
Three Card Poker is a popular carnival game that is played with a standard 52 card deck.
The first thing the player will do, when they’re ready to make a wager, is to decide how they’re going to bet. There are three options available to them. The 1st option requires only 1 bet, which the player will place on PAIR PLUS. When playing PAIR PLUS, the object of the game is to get a pair or better out of the 3 cards the player is dealt. The player is not betting against the dealer or any of the other players. The player is only betting on if he’ll get a ranking hand or not. The PAIR PLUS wager can be any amount between the table minimum and maximum.
The 2nd option available to the player requires 2 bets of the minimum wage. This means that if you sit at a $5 minimum table and you play this option, then your actual minimum bet per hand is $10. This is because both the PLAY wager and the ANTE wager must always be exactly the same amount. The Player will place their first wager on the ANTE betting circle to start playing. If they like their cards and they want to continue, then they’ll place their 2nd wager on top of their cards and in the PLAY betting area. The Player’s cards will be compared to the Dealer’s cards in order to determine who has the best poker ranking. The object of the game, when playing this option, is to get a better poker hand ranking than the dealer, in order to win.
The 3rd option requires 3 bets since it combines options 1 and 2 together. This means that if you sit at a $5 minimum table and you play all 3 bets, then your actual minimum bet per hand is $15. The ANTE and the PLAY must always be the same amount, but the PAIR PLUS can be any amount between the table minimum and maximum. The PAIR PLUS doesn’t have to match the ANTE or the PLAY. After the player has received their cards, they must place a wager on the PLAY betting area in order to continue playing. If the Player does not place a wager on the PLAY betting circle then the Player will automatically forfeit their hand, losing both their ANTE and PAIR PLUS wager. Keep in mind that when the Player is betting on both the PAIR PLUS and the ANTE wagers, they are playing with two separate pay tables. That is why the ANTE Bonus payouts are different from the PAIR PLUS payouts.
But, as always, every casino is different, so make sure you know your house rules. In Louisiana and certain California casinos, the ANTE wager is the mandatory bet that every Player must play, while the PAIR PLUS wager is an optional side bet.
You might notice some of the other Players playing “Blind”. Most casinos allow “Blind Betting”, which is when the Player wagers on all of his bets that are necessary in order to continue playing; without ever looking at his cards to see what he has. Normally when a Player bets “Blind”, they don’t see their cards until the Dealer turns them over.
One time, when I was dealing this game, I had a Player who had never played Blind before and decided to try it for his first time. On his first hand he got a 3 of a Kind, and then the 2nd time he played Blind he got a Straight Flush. He played Blind every single time after that and he always got a ranking hand. After an hour of doing this, he finally cashed in thousands of dollars ahead of what he started with, and he loudly proclaimed, “This Blind thing is great! I’ve got to do this more often!”
- In Three Card Poker, the poker hand rankings differ slightly. In tradition poker, a flush beats a
straight, but in Three Card Poker a straight beats a flush. I’ve provided a list of all of the rankings for Three Card Poker, starting with the best hand the Player can get.
The Straight Flush consists of 3 cards, in sequence, all with the same suit, and this ranking beats all other hands.
Next on the list is a 3 of a Kind, and this occurs when all 3 cards are of the same value. The 3 of a kind loses to a Straight Flush but it beats all of the other rankings.
A Straight is next and this occurs when all 3 cards are in sequence, regardless of what their suit is. Because the ace can be counted as high or low, the highest straight is an ace, king, queen, while the lowest straight is an ace, two, three. A Straight wins against a flush or lower but it loses against a 3 of a Kind or higher.
Next on the list is a Flush, and this consists of all 3 cards in the same suit. A Flush wins against a pair or lower but loses against a Straight or higher.
A Pair is next and this consists of two cards of the same value. A Pair wins against High Card but loses against a Flush or higher.
High Card is last on the list and this is referring to 3 unmatched cards, with the highest ranking card being the “High Card”. For example, if the player has a Queen,9, & 6, then she has a “Queen High”.
- When saying this phrase, put the card first and the word “High” second, otherwise there might be some confusion.