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A Guide to Playing 3 Card Poker Online

Invented in 1994, Three Card Poker is a fun and simple poker variant. The clue to the twist in the game is in the title; instead of a five-card hand, players are dealt three cards. This relatively new version of poker quickly became a favourite at brick-and-mortar casinos and is equally popular online. Three Card Poker is a deceptively simple game to play, but to master it online you’ll need some knowledge about the game, some tips for the best strategy, and a little bit of skill.

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The Basics: How to Play 3 Card Poker Online

The layout of any Three Card Poker table is the same; online, offline, wherever you go. The table includes three card spots in front of the dealer, a circular betting spot marked ‘Pair Plus’, a diamond betting spot called ‘Ante’, and the card spots labelled ‘Play’. There are two basic bets in three hand poker: Pair Plus and ante-play. In ante-play, players make their first bet in the ante spot and predictably in Pair Plus, players make their first bet in the ‘Pair Plus’ spot. The Pair Plus bet is a side bet that you don’t have to play. The Ante Bet is the main bet in.

The dealer then deals three cards to the players and him- or herself. If you’re playing Pair Plus, there’s nothing else to do. If playing ante-play then you’ll need to decide whether to bet or fold. To play, you must match your ante.  To place a bet, players simply click or touch the betting spots on the computer screen or touch-screen device. Generally, your credits will be displayed in a virtual chip stack at the bottom of the screen. You can then select the size of the bet you want to place and click in the betting spot. Each click will add additional bet of the same size as your first selection. To change the size of your bet you can change the amount of the bet increments you add.

Despite being based on stud poker, the odds in 3 Card Poker are different, largely down to the extra card. Consequently, the hand rankings in 3 card poker are slightly different. Straights, for instance, are less frequent than flushes and are higher ranked as a result. The ranking of hands in 3 Card Poker runs: straight flush, three of a kind, straight, flush, pair, and finally high card.

The pay out on both the ante and Pair Plus side bet is 1-to-1, so you double your money on both bets if the dealer’s hand qualifies. The dealer’s hand qualifies if the dealer holds a queen high or better. A hand lower than a queen high doesn’t qualify and will pay out on the ante bet only. Pairs and flushes will always win out over any hand with a single high card.  There additional bonuses for antes which are paid out for straights (1-to-1), three of a kind (4-to-1) and straight flushes pay out at 5-to-1. These bonuses are paid out even if you lose to a dealer’s hand.  Independent of the dealer’s hand, pair plus bets are paid out at 1-to-1 for a pair all the way up to 40-to-1 for a straight flush, so whilst the pair plus bet is optional it can make all the difference between a big win and a huge one.

Why Play Online? The Advantages of Playing Three Card Poker Online

Aside from the obvious advantages of being able to play from home in your pyjamas, there are plenty of other advantages to playing 3 Card Poker online. The following are some of the best reasons to play 3 Card Poker online. One distinct advantage of three card poker online is that there are plenty of social casinos and instructional sites where you can practice with the help of free online three card poker games. These kinds of sites will often provide new players with tips and free credits to help improve their game and learn the game rules. The opportunity to learn and improve your gameplay before risking any money is one that players should relish and take advantage of. The learning curve in competitive card game play can be steep, so it’s a good idea to get some practice in before you put real money on the table.

Of course, 3 Card Poker also has the advantage that you can play it pretty much anywhere and at any time. Many live casinos have a chat function that enables players to not only talk with one another but also with the dealer. Players from around the world come together to compete in virtual tournaments and form social clubs online. The social aspect of online gambling is often undersold, but it’s there and is one of the advantages of playing games like 3 Card Poker online. Though you might get teased a bit, you can always ask the dealer for a reminder of the 3 Card Poker rules or to explain the basics. If you want to try out other live casino games, check out our live casino games page here.

Three Card Poker Rules & Tips: Everything You Need To Master The Game

As you’ve seen above, 3 Card Poker is easy to play. In the following, we’ll provide you with an overview of the rules and some tips to improve your game strategy.  There’s only a moderate house edge in 3 Card Poker which means that players have a better chance of winning in 3 Card than in most poker variants. Given the two betting styles, the chances of winning big can be a lot higher than in some other poker games.

Depending on if you opt for a Pair Plus bet, strategies can wildly differ in this game. Whenever you bet on Pair Plus, you win whenever your three cards include a pair, flush, straight, three of a kind or straight flush. Given that the player’s focus is on pairs, Pair Plus strategy is relatively straightforward. You can’t change the odds of the hand you’re dealt in Pair Plus so much is out of your hands.

The basic strategy for an ante-play approach is to bet when you hold a Queen-6-4 or better. If your hand isn’t as high then you should fold. This means betting on any pair or better. Without a pair or better, then you can make a bet only when your high card is an Ace or a King. In such an instance, the value of your other two cards is irrelevant. With a Jack or lower as your high card then you should fold. This Three Card Poker strategy comes down fundamentally to whether or not your highest card is a Queen or higher and whether or not you have a pair or better.

Check Out These Variants and Our Best Three Card Poker Casino!

Ultimate Three Card Poker is probably the most popular and readily available variant of 3 Card Poker online and with good reason – the play bet can be up to three times the ante instead of equal to it, so the stakes and consequently the wins can be a lot greater. There’s no ante bonus to Ultimate 3 Card Poker, but the game does add a blind bet bonus in the ante play. Generally  the usual game strategy will work just as well in Ultimate Three Card, though the risks are higher. Instead of just starting with an ante, you have start with both an ante and a blind bet equal to the ante. Only after seeing their cards can players make a bet equal to their ante if they don’t have a pair or better. If the player does have a pair or better, then they can make a play bet that’s between one or three times the ante. No matter which variant you’ll, go for, you’ll be well entertained with Three Card Poker. You can play it for real money in our recommended Three Card Poker casino below, or check out our selections of the best casino operators on our homepage!

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