Why You Do Not See Better Three-Card Poker Results

Three-Card Poker and Player

Three-card poker is one of the most exciting games to launch in recent mystery. The game combines chance with strategy as players try to beat the dealer’s hand.

The acceptable house edge is part of what makes three-card poker so alluring for players. At under 3%, you’ve got an easy game that has much better odds than slot machines.

Most players run into trouble playing three-card poker as they try to take maximum advantage of the bonus plays. These wagers carry a heavier payout but raise the house advantage significantly.

Luckily, there are several easy steps you can take to become a tighter and more successful three-card poker player. Here are 5 reasons you do not see better 3 card poker results.

Why Three-Card Poker Has Been So Successful

Three-Card Poker has enjoyed tremendous success since it first hit casino floors over 25 years ago. A quarter of a century is a fabulous run of success.

However, the game is still a new kid on the block for all intents and purposes. So, how does a game break onto the scene and become a casino success?


The first thing it needs is an ability to make the casino money without players feeling like they’re being gouged. Three-Card Poker has a house edge that’s low enough for players to feel like they have a chance but remains higher than classics like baccarat or blackjack.

Another aspect of the success that Three-Card Poker enjoys is due to the game’s simplistic nature. The entire premise of the game is having a hand better than the dealer.

Most hands start with the player placing an ante bet and getting three cards face down. Once the player has looked at their cards, they either place an additional wager to play or fold the hand.

This allows players to use strategy, which tends to make games more enjoyable.

There’s also a social aspect of Three-Card Poker. In typical poker games, players are squaring off against each other for their piece of the pot. Each hand is a winner take all battle to the river.

When playing Three-Card Poker, your only opponent is the dealer. So, you’ll find that most players at the table will be rooting for one another to best the dealer on every hand.

It’s pretty enjoyable and makes for some entertaining nights at the tables. Any game that can combine these elements so well is destined to be a tremendous mainstay on casino floors.

So, why are so many players struggling to get their footing in a game that offers players a chance to enjoy extended gaming sessions?

1 – Sucker Bets Galore

The main reason why players are losing more money than they need to and doing it quickly is because they’re chasing the big payouts offered by the sucker bets.

Three-Card Poker has a variety of additional side wagers that suck players in by promising significant returns. There are several side bets you’ll see in Three-Card Poker, and each one is draining your bankroll.

The first is the jackpot or progressive. The progressive bet is the least offensive of the side wagers, and it’s only a borderline sucker bet.

For only $1 per hand, you can get into the progressive that offers substantial payouts for different hands and the jackpot for a mini royal in spades.

When the jackpot grows large enough, you may even see advantage gamblers at the table who feel like they have a positive expectation of the game.


The millionaire maker gives players a chance at $1 million for only a $5 wager. So, it’s easy to see the reason why a high density of players happily toss a $5 chip on the table in hopes of hitting it big.

Even if a player doesn’t trigger the massive 200,000:1 payout, some significant smaller payouts could make your trip a huge success.

However, at $5 per hand, you’re hemorrhaging your bankroll and trying to take down the game in one fell swoop. The house edge on the millionaire maker is over 18%. That high of a house edge makes slot machines look like a great bargain.

The bonus bet is the downfall of many recreational Three-Card Poker players. The bonus bet allows you to take your hand and the dealer’s hand to build a five-card poker hand.

The better the hand, the more you can win. This bet is a lot of fun for the table and adds a little more time to hands, which helps slow the pace.

Unfortunately, the house edge on the bet is nearly 16%, and at those odds, the math doesn’t justify the entertainment.

2 – Using Multiple Hands to Beat the Edge

You’ll see many players at the three-card poker table playing multiple hands. They assume that seeing double the number of hands will give them an edge over the casino.

In theory, seeing two poker hands makes it feel like you’ll win more often and cancel out a ton of your losing hands. However, you’re going to lose both hands far more than you’ll win both hands.

When a player plays two hands, the house edge is hardly moved at all; I’m talking tenths of a percentage point. So, you are essentially losing your bankroll twice as fast.

Each hand is an independent result, and the house accounts for all hands on a table when calculating their advantage.

If you’re playing two hands at a time and wondering why you see such severe losses, I hope you know where you went wrong.

I do have some fantastic news for you; it couldn’t be a much simpler solution to your plight. In order to start seeing better results immediately, you merely need to stick to one hand at a time.

3 – Focusing Solely on the Pair Plus Bet

One of the primary wagers in Three-Card Poker is the pair plus bet. The pair plus bets allow players to forgo the original game and bet on whether or not they’ll be dealt with a pair or better.


The pair plus also uses a different payout scale than the ante bet, which reduces the game’s house edge to 2.3%. It also draws a lot of players because it negates the need to place an additional play bet like the ante wager.

I’ll admit that when you sit down to a table and see a bet offering 30:1 and 40:1 payouts and a similar house edge, it seems enticing.

Don’t be fooled by the fuzzy math. When the proper strategy is involved, the ante bet still has a lower house edge. It’s critical to stop overvaluing the pair plus bet if you want to begin to see better results.

4 – Believing in the Gambler’s Fallacy

It really doesn’t matter what game we’re talking about for this one. Too many gamblers buy into the “gambler’s fallacy,” and it costs them money.

The gambler’s fallacy follows the notion that because one result happened previously, it is less likely to occur on the next hand.

There’s zero math behind that reasoning. Every hand is an entirely independent result.

Still, there are countless betting systems that involve shifting your bet amount based on the hand before winning or losing. The idea behind these is to ride a hot streak as far as possible or negate losses by doubling up on the ensuing hand.

All this will accomplish is losing your money faster than you ever have before. I’ve watched someone with a sizable bankroll sit down to the Three-Card Poker table and believe they had it figured out thanks to a betting system.

They bet $50 and lost, then doubled their bet to $100. They then lost again and doubled to $200, then $400. The table limit was only $500. And after only four losing hands, they couldn’t continue chasing their losses.

More importantly, they were out $750 in less than five minutes. Clearly, the system had let them down.

So, it goes in casinos around the globe; players frivolously toss money into a system that holds zero merits. Break the cycle, and you won’t be able to not have better results in the casino.

5 – Ignoring Basic Three-Card Poker Strategy

Not every game in the casino allows players to use a strategy to slightly diminish the house’s advantage and even the playing field. Three-card poker will enable you to cut the edge as much as possible.


That will accomplish two things for the player. First, players will be able to gamble for longer because they aren’t losing money as quickly. Next, the strategy allows players to walk away more often with house money.

By cutting the edge as much as possible, players have a chance to hit a hot streak and make money in the short term.


Use these five reasons why you do not see better Three-Card Poker results to change the game and your fortunes. You won’t find any advantage gambling techniques that promise sustainable success.

However, you’ll have much more fun at the tables by playing the game as efficiently as possible. Occasionally, you’ll even leave with some extra cash in your pocket.

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.