3 Card Poker Online – Play Free & 3 Card Poker Strategy

3 Card Poker is a popular table game that pits the player against the dealer rather than against other players. In this guide, we’ll cover how to play 3 Card Poker, its rules and odds, useful strategies, and more.

Play Three-Card Poker Online for Free

3-Card Poker

3-Card Poker

Give the game a try in free demo practice mode to become an expert before you risk your own money. When you’re ready to play for real, scroll down a bit to see some of the best options for US players.

How To Play 3 Card Poker

The game of 3-Card Poker is relatively simple: you want to build a stronger three-card hand of poker than the dealer. The tricky part is deciding whether your hand is going to beat the dealer’s hand before doubling your bet (or folding). Here’s how to play casino 3-card poker.


Place Your Ante Bet

Three Card Poker Screenshot Placing Bet

Start the game by setting your chip size ($0.10 – $50 in our demo, but the minimum and maximum can vary by casino). Place the chips in the “Ante” space, then click “deal.”

This step is also where you would play the bonus side bets, which we get into in the sections below. But you can set completely separate bets for the side bets, as depicted in the photo above.


Fold or Bet

Three card poker initial hand

The player and dealer are then dealt three cards each. The player’s cards are dealt face-up and the dealer’s face-down. It’s at this phase where you can either “fold” or “bet.”

If you choose to fold, you forfeit your initial wager and lose your chance at the side bets, but save yourself from placing another bet.

If you choose to bet, you place another wager equal to your Ante bet.

If you win on 3-card poker for the base game, the payout is 1:1 (double or nothing). For side bets, the payout can be as high as 1,000 to 1.


Win, Lose, or Both

Three Card Poker Win and Side Bet Win Screenshot

In the example of a win above, we won on the king high card against the dealer’s queen high card, which meant we won the base game and doubled our ante and play bets. Our hand and the dealer’s hand combined also created a straight, which paid out on the Six Card Bonus for an additional win.

It’s entirely possible to lose to the dealer but still win the side bet bonus, which is why it’s so popular among players. However, it’s much more likely to win the base game than the side bets long-term.

3-Card Poker Bonus Bets

As mentioned, the side bets on 3-card poker pay out separately from the base game, which means you can lose to the dealer but win on the Ante Bonus, Pair Plus bonus, and 6-Card Bonus. Check out the image below for the typical pay table for these side bets:

3 Card Poker Strategy

Poker is one of the most popular casino skill games, meaning that players can utilize strategy to increase their chances of winning. That being said, every casino game has a layer of randomness and luck built in, as well as a house edge, so practicing the most optimal strategy still does not guarantee success.

The primary strategy in 3 Card Poker is to play if you have a Queen-6-4 or better and fold if you have a worse hand. Below, we’ll discuss other strategic elements to consider.


Bonus Wagers

Generally, it’s a sound approach to avoid placing side bets in 3 Card Poker as they drastically lower the game’s RTP (return-to-player) rate. That being said, if you want the chance to snag some of the highest payouts in the game and don’t mind a lower RTP overall, you should consider placing them.

The first and most common side bet is known as “Pair Plus.” This side bet is simple and essentially exactly what it sounds like. If you’re dealt a three-card hand with a pair or better, you win. Payouts are based on the pay table seen above in the rules and odds section.

Some variations of 3 Card Poker also offer a 6 Card Bonus side bet. This side bet is a wager on hands created by combining the player’s and dealer’s hands. As for payouts, the 6 Card Bonus offers the largest available in the game, with a royal flush paying out 1000:1. From there, a straight flush offers 40:1, three of a kind 30:1, straight 6:1, flush 3:1, and pair 1:1. So, strategically, if you’re looking for a chance to win the largest possible payout, this is the side bet for you.


Money Management

Bankroll management is an important part of any casino game strategy. In 3 Card Poker, it’s relatively easy to stay on track with money management as there’s only one betting round with no option for raises. The most important thing is to place an ante you’re comfortable with, keeping in mind that you’ll be betting double that amount if you decide to play. Also, don’t be afraid to fold, as by folding, you’ll be losing only your ante and not a play bet as well.


Play with Bonus Money

When you claim an online casino bonus, 3-card poker is usually an eligible game. That means playing more 3-card poker for less of your own money, making it one of the best strategies for playing the game online.

Play 3 Card Poker for Real Online

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Gambling is for entertainment purposes only. Stay safe and ensure success when you gamble responsibly. Gambling problem? Call or text 1-800-GAMBLER for confidential support. Visit SAMHSA’s National Helpline website for resources that include a treatment center locator, anonymous chat, and more.

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About the Author

Craig Corbeels

Craig Corbeels

Craig Corbeels is a lead writer and gambling expert for Bonus.com. He has been involved in the online gambling industry since 2013. Previously, he worked for Gamesys and Bally's Interactive as a copywriter and social media strategist for multiple North American online casinos.
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