Strategy for 3-Card Poker Games

3 Card Poker, Light Bulb, Cards, Table, Chips

3-Card Poker is a fun and easy game accessible in most online and land-based casinos. The goal of the game is to beat the dealer by obtaining the best possible hand with the three cards you’re dealt.

Many people also love to play this particular variant because you don’t need a lot of experience to implement a basic 3-Card Poker strategy. Here’s how you can increase your odds of winning:

How to Play 3-Card Poker

Getting good at 3-Card Poker requires you to learn the game’s rules and other basic elements. It’s a variant of traditional poker that consists of a 52-card deck. However, you’re playing two games in one.

You can bet on a Pair Plus (having a hand that’s a pair or better), or you can simply make a normal ante wager. Ultimately, your goal is to beat the dealer with every hand, but betting on a Pair Plus creates more opportunities to win.

Futher Info:

Once you place your initial bet, you’re dealt three cards face down. The dealer will receive three cards as well. The game always begins with the player to the dealer’s left.

Next, you’ll decide to play or fold your hand. If you want to stay and play the next round, you’ll have to pace a bet equal to your ante. When you fold, you only lose your ante bet.

The dealer will then reveal their three cards. If they have a queen high or better, they’ll continue playing. Next, all remaining hands are compared. If you beat the dealer, you win.


If the dealer didn’t have a queen high or better, the players still in play will receive their ante and play bets (no profit). Hand rankings follow the normal hierarchy, and the best hand you can earn is a mini-royal flush (queen, king, and ace of the same suit).

The best online casinos typically offer a few 3-Card Poker tables. Some don’t cover the game because the house edge is very low (around the 2-3% mark), and casinos won’t turn a huge profit from running it.

Basic Tips for 3-Card Poker

I now want to offer you a few tips and tricks to improve your 3-Card Poker basic strategy. Incorporating these changes will go a long way in improving your odds of winning, even if they seem to be minor. Here’s what you can do on a more basic level.

  • Take Advantage of Special Offers and Promotions: Online casinos provide many opportunities to earn extra rewards. Special offers allow you to maximize your bankroll and extend your gaming sessions.
  • Stick to Reputable Casinos: You don’t want to join shady gambling sites. Stick to safe casinos that won’t run with your money.
  • Study the Paytable: The 3-card poker paytable determines your returns. Learn what the different hands can bring you, and adjust your decisions.
  • Bankroll Management: You should always limit what you can spend when gambling, and once you exceed that limit, you should stop. Bankroll management prevents overspending and helps you develop self-discipline when gambling.
The tips above aren’t groundbreaking, but I’ve seen way too many people ignore them and pay the price.

Advanced 3-Card Poker Strategy

Now, I want to discuss some of the more advanced methods that can greatly improve your 3-Card Poker betting strategy. Remember, regularly winning will make your experience much more fun and enjoyable.

Avoid Side Bets

Every veteran 3-Card Poker player knows that side bets are a waste of money. I understand why they’re enticing, but that’s exactly how the casinos want you to feel. The truth is that the house edge increases significantly when you make side bets.

Know When to Raise Your Ante

After you place your ante bet, you’ll have to decide if you want to raise or fold. You should only consider raising if you have a hand higher than a queen, four, and six. For example, if your hand contains a jack, eight, and six, you should fold.

Never Play Blind

Playing blind is another type of side bet that’s also very appealing because it’ll increase your earnings. However, you can’t look at your cards, and you’re essentially guessing that you’ll beat the dealer. Ultimately, you need a lot of luck on your side when playing blind.

More Tips for 3-Card Poker

If you want more help with 3-card poker, I have a few suggestions. If you like tournaments, check out my post on 3-Card Poker tournaments strategy, which requires a lot of self-discipline and composure.

You should also take a look at the most common mistakes in 3-Card Poker that you should avoid. Like with any casino game, your goal is to maximize your earnings over time. Eliminating these mistakes ensures consistently higher returns when you hit the 3-Card Poker tables.

Petko Stoyanov
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About Petko Stoyanov
My name is Petko Stoyanov, and I've been a gambling writer for more than ten years. I guess that was the natural path for me since I've loved soccer and card games for as long as I can remember! I have a long and fairly successful history with English Premier League betting and online poker, but I follow many other sports. I watch all big European soccer leagues, basketball, football, and tennis regularly, and I keep an eye on snooker, volleyball, and major UFC events.