For many online casino players, learning to play 3 card poker may involve knowing the rules and quickly jumping on the table. Its simple gameplay has made 3 card poker the easiest fast-paced game to play and win.
You can play this game with several hands in a short period due to its fast pace and the minimal skill required. However, you still need a bit of strategy to win here. The rules and strategies are simple, but you need to understand them, and that’s what we plan to do for you in this guide.
Whether you’re already a lover of poker or not, knowing how to win at 3 card poker seems like a good idea. There are more games than ever to choose from when you visit your online casino, but now you’ll now have some 3 card poker tips and tricks up your sleeve, too.
Let’s get down to business.
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Basic Rules for Three Card Poker
Before learning how to win 3 card poker, you should understand the basic rules governing this game.
As per its name, a dealer issues 3 cards each to every player at the table. Any single hand can be started with a player placing an Ante bet in the play circle and getting his/her own three cards.
For example, players can place either a Pair Plus or Ante bet or both wagers for the same game session. Both types of bets offer different outcomes.
A player can only decide to move from two different options. They can either:
- Fold – give up the Ante bet and get insured; or
- Play – continue in a hand and bid to match the Ante bet.
All players who decide to fold are willing to quit and leave the table. If an Ante bet was placed, they get insurance. If you choose to play, you can match the Ante bet currently on the table. If the Ante wager in the betting circle at the time was $10, for example, you’d need to match it by offering $10 extra to go higher.
The dealer can now reveal his/her hand, and all cards will be compared. Win against the dealer with a higher hand and you’ll get paid 1:1 for your Ante bet. If the dealer has a better hand than you, comprising maybe a queen-high or better, you also receive a payment of 1:1 for your Play bet.
Besides this, you can get a full refund of your money on the Play bet and hope on the Ante bet winnings.
Here are other winning sequences you should take note of:
- A dealer only needs a minimum of a queen to qualify and win. You can only use your Play bet after he/she has qualified.
- Players will win their Ante bets if the dealer lands with a jack-high or lower.
- If you are dealt a strong hand, you can also win good bonuses along with the payouts. An example of a strong hand is three-of-a-kind, where you can receive payouts of 4:1. A straight flush rewards you with 5:1 for your bet.
Top 3 Card Poker Strategies: The Best Three Card Poker Strategy
Now that we’re done with the rules, let’s check online casinos’ 3 card poker strategies. There are no complicated moves here because of the easy game style. In fact, you’ve done most of the hard work if you have an idea of which hands are good for you and what not to play. Let’s begin!
The Queen-6-4 3 Card Poker Strategy
The Q-6-4 strategy is often considered the best 3 card poker strategy. It is not complicated and it’s suitable to use at any time.
If you receive a hand with cards higher than a Q-6-4, you can raise. Otherwise, please fold. Playing when your cards’ sequence is lower than the Q-6-4 type is never a good idea.
Here’s the reason why:
The probability of winning with this sequence is, at a minimum, 51%. This gives you a huge advantage. You’re also mimicking the dealer’s hand and could land in a safe zone if the dealer also has this sequence. If both your hand and the dealer’s hand are the same, your Ante bet will be refunded.
Let’s break this down for a better understanding. In the game of 3 card poker, the winner is decided by ranking hands. When using this strategy, all hands that do not have a pair or better are rated the highest (queen). If you and the dealer have a queen, the tie is decided by the second highest card’s value. This goes on to the third card. If all cards are the same, your bet is returned.
|King-7-2||King-7-2||A tie. The bet is pushed.|
|Ace-8-5||Ace-8-4||Player since Ace-8s match, but 5 is higher than 4.|
|Queen-9-6||Queen-10-3||Dealer, since 10 beats 9.|
|Queen-10-4||King-8-7||Dealer, since King is higher than Queen.|
|Ace-7-3||King-Queen-9||Player, since Ace is higher than King.|
Some other players may decide to play once they notice a sequence of Queen-7, not minding what the third card is. You can play if you have a card sequence of Queen-6-4 or higher. This also includes scenarios where a better pair has been made a winner on the Pair Plus paytable, as decided by the online casino operator.
If the bet is good, use the ante-play. If you’re issued a lower value card sequence, you should use the Play bet only if the sequence consists of an ace or king as your high card, not considering the other high cards you might have.
Please fold if the highest card in your sequence is a jack or lower. Don’t consider the other cards in your possession. The probability of winning here is not great.
The difference in deciding when to fold or play with this strategy depends on the presence of a queen. This decision should be based on the second card and sometimes the third. Here are a few 3 card poker tips and tricks to remember.
- Wager with a queen-high card sequence if the second highest card is a minimum of 7 or higher, not considering what the third card is.
- Wager with a queen-high card sequence if the second highest card is a 6 and the third card’s value is either 4 or 5.
- Fold the queen-high card if the second highest card sequence is a 5 or below, not considering what the third card is.
- Fold the queen-high card sequence is a 6, and the third card’s value is either 2 or 3.
This simple table should illustrate it better.
|hand||Fold or Play|
|Jack-10-6||Fold (high card is not a Queen)|
|Queen-5-4||Fold (second card’s value is not 6 or higher)|
While this is not peculiar as a 3 card poker strategy, you can use it to bump up your chances of winning at the poker table. This positive progression strategy allows you to increase your stake as you win and decrease the next bet if you lose on the current one. The most common variant of the positive progression 3 card poker strategy is the Paroli method.
This 3 card poker strategy is not popular because it requires a wide and free budget in order to play for as long as possible. If you want to wager using this tactic, be prepared to have an open budget and stay longer in the online poker room.
The negative progression 3 card poker betting strategy is the opposite of the positive progression mentioned above. You increase your stake as you lose and reduce after a successful game round. A typical example used by most players here is the Martingale method.
Again, you need a big budget if this strategy is going to work for you. Research the different methods used for the positive and negative progression strategies before making a decision.
Rankings for 3 Card Poker Hand
To improve when learning to use a 3 card poker strategy, understanding which hands are beneficial can help you out. Most players of poker variants like five card draw and Texas Hold ’em may not have issues understanding how the hands work for 3 card poker. The difference here is that only three cards are dealt to the players and dealer, with no addition of community cards.
Our previous guide on how to play the 3 card poker online casino game offers an in-depth explanation of what you need to know. In summary, here’s the ranking from top to bottom.
- High card
- One Pair
- Flush (three cards of the same sequence)
- Straight (three cards of climbing rankings, e.g., 3, 4, 5)
- Straight flush (three successive cards of the same sequence)
When using a 3 card poker betting strategy, you should remember that having the highest card possible, like a straight or flush, is always a decider.
This simple tip is how to win 3 card poker. A queen-high will always lose to a king-high flush. A straight hand of 5, 6, 7 cards will bow to a 7, 8, 9 straight combination.
A suit sequence can’t be used to decide the winner in a game of 3 card poker.
How to Win at Three Card Poker Casino Online – the House-Edge Values
The popular phrase “the house always wins” is not a huge revelation. Every online casino game is billed to give an advantage to the house. While there are stipulations to ensure fairness, these may not necessarily favor you since you’re competing against the dealer and not other players.
A traditional online casino game of 3 card poker has odds of 96.7%. This means the house edge is just around 3.7%. While this doesn’t look bad statistically, it doesn’t look great, either.
You can overcome this edge by using the strategies explained in the previous section.
Check out the individual odds for all the bet types here.
Ante Bet Odds
Considering the Play or Ante bet using the Queen-6-4 strategy, the house-edge value is considerably reduced to 2%. As stated, if the dealer does not have this sequence, you can win 1:1, and the bet still pushes.
In addition, some bonuses are paid depending on your winning hand. The stronger your hand, the higher your chances of getting the bonus, even if you lose to the dealer.
If the dealer has the sequence, he/she can play, and you must win. If you lose, all bets are lost. Here’s a common paytable explaining the Ante odds of winning and the house-edge values.
|House-edge percentage per Ante bonus||2.01%||2.28%||5.26%|
|House-edge value determined by Ante||3.37%||3.83%||4.28%|
The 5-4-1 odds payoff is the original and most commonly used paytable. As you already know, the 2.01% value is what the house is expected to keep from a number of hands you wager every time, still giving you a good chance of winning.
This is lower than the house-edge values for double-zero roulette, Caribbean stud, craps one-roll bet, and single-zero roulette. It is, however, higher than the online blackjack value of <1%.
Pair Plus Odds
If you go forward with the Pair Plus bets and combine them with a good strategy, the house edge will be reduced to 2.3%.
3 Card Poker Tips and Tricks
If you’re ready to begin playing using the 3 card poker strategy, here are some tips to help guide you.
Don’t Play without a Three Card Poker Strategy
We understand that many online casino players want to learn how to win 3 card poker. They proceed to the tables as soon as they finish reading through the rules, but this is a bad idea. Doing this will set you up for failure.
As much as possible, try to understand and learn the Q-6-4 strategy so you know when to raise or fold. It makes things much simpler and less complicated.
As we’ve explained, any hand less than Q-6-4 reduces your probability of winning. Only this skillful 3 card poker strategy can tell you when to fold, saving your precious, hard-earned money.
In addition, playing without a strategy means you’re playing blind. A blind play increases the house-edge value to 7.6%, which is dangerous and higher than other types of online casino games combined.
The Pair Plus Bet looks Promising, but Don’t Fall for it
A common piece of advice when searching for tips on how to win at 3 card poker casino is to ignore the Pair Plus bet.
The Pair Plus bet is a bonus offer that makes you bypass the first and main round. Its only objective is to get a better pair for you. While it looks good in theory, it may not be wise to overlook the Ante bonus, even though its house edge (3.37%) is higher than the Pair Plus offer (2.32%).
When used with a strategy, the Ante bet’s house-edge value drops significantly to 2.01%, which is better than that of the Pair Plus.
Start with a Demo 3 Card Poker Session First
Now that we’ve determined how important a 3 card poker strategy is, you will need to learn and master it before wagering with real money.
Many professional poker players start with free 3 card poker sessions to master a winning strategy before proceeding. This is a good idea since the gameplay is similar to real-money 3 card poker, and you can even earn casino credits when you play with free money.
It’s a great way to familiarize yourself with all the cards and hand rankings. You can make as many novice mistakes as necessary here and it won’t cost anything.
Continuous practice will increase your confidence as you improve and master the bets.
Better to Start with a Single Hand than Multiple
A great 3 card poker tip is to learn how to discipline yourself and limit your hand to one. While some casinos let you play as many hands as you want and this may seem advantageous, it is highly risky.
Playing just one hand can give you a good idea of how the second hand will unfold. Playing multiple hands will only lead to you losing more money.
If you want to play double, triple, or multiple hands, start with the free version before any other to be safe. That way, you can get a better idea of how to move and calculate your returns before proceeding to the real-money version, where there’s a lot at stake.
Also, don’t forget to have a good bankroll system where you can control your budget. If you’re playing for a long time, setting a budget is a better and safer option.