Skip to main content
Games and Rules

A Comprehensive Guide to Play Three Card Poker 2021: Rules & Optimal Strategy

22 Feb 2021

by Daniel Singh

Play Three Card Poker Online in India

Three Card Poker is one of the popular versions of poker game in casinos that you ca play online for free or real money from India. You can play Three Card Poker online at Skylive Casino, one of the best and trusted online casino platforms for Indian players.


Three Card Poker is the poker version where the poker hand consists of three cards only and not five cards like Holdem. This poker version is played against the dealer at online casinos.

As a player, your aim is to get the poker hand better than that of dealer. What’s more interesting in this game is that you also win based on how good your poker hand and it’s not just about beating the dealer.

Three Card Poker is a fun game and easy to learn. If you don’t know how to play this game, then this article will be a comprehensive guide for you. You can quickly go through this article and will be ready to play Three Card Poker for real money.

Three Card Poker Rules – How to Play Three Card Poker Online

Before playing Three Card Poker online for real money, it is important to know the rules of the game and how to play so that you make wise playing decisions.

Each round of the game starts and ends by following steps mentioned below:

  1. First, the player places an ante bet before the cards are dealt which is compulsory. The player has an option to place a pair plus bet as well wagering that their poker hand will be a pair or better than that.

    Ante bet and pair plus bet are different bets and are treated differently for payouts.
  2. Then, the three cards are dealt face up to the player and three cards face down to the dealer. In this poker game, player has to play against dealer and not against other players.
  3. After seeing his/her dealt cards, the player has two options: Bet or Fold. If the player thinks his hand is better enough to beat the dealer, he/she can hit the Bet button. If not, the player has the option to fold by hitting the ‘Fold’ button.

    If the player folds, he/she loses his/her ante bet and pair plus bet, and the round ends. If the player decides to ‘Bet’, he/she places a play bet equal to ante bet.
  4. After the player decides to place a play bet in addition to ante bet, then the dealer hand is revealed. Here, the dealer first needs to quality.

    To qualify, the dealer hand should be Queen-high or better. If not, the dealer doesn’t quality and the player gets even money payouts on the ante bet and the play bet is returned to the player.

    If the dealer qualifies and the player hand is better, both the ante bet and play bet are paid out at odds 1 to 1. But if the qualified dealer hand is better than that of player, then the player loses ante and play bets. However, the payout of pair plus bet is independent to the dealer hand.

Know Hand Rankings in Three Card Poker

You have to know how hands are ranked before you play Three Card Poker for real money. Here is the order of poker hand from highest to lowest in Three Card Poker.

  • Straight Flush: three consecutive cards all of same suit
  • Three of a Kind: three cards having same values
  • Straight: three consecutive cards
  • Flush: three cards of same suit
  • One Pair: two cards of same values
  • High card: hand with not even a pair. If the hand doesn’t form any hand mentioned above it is high card.

Pair Plus Payouts

Poker HandPayout Odds
Straight Flush40 to 1
Three of a Kind30 to 1
Straight6 to 1
Flush3 to 1
Pair1 to 1

Ante Bonus Payouts

Poker HandPayout Odds
Straight Flush5 to 1
Three of a Kind4 to 1
Straight1 to 1

6 Card Bonus Bet

Some online casinos also offer this bonus bet option on Three Card Poker called 6 card Bonus Bet. In this bet, the player can use his/her three cards and the dealer’s three cards to form a special combinations. This type of bet on winning pays high amount with the highest paid to the six cards from nine to Ace (9, 10, J, Q, K and Ace) all of same suit.

Apply Three Card Poker Strategy

It is not difficult to learn three card poker strategy. All you have to remember is what hands you should play and what not for optimal betting.

According to the optimal strategy, you make play bet only if your hand is Q-6-4 or better. If your hand is not better than that, then you fold. If the high card in your hand is Jack or lower, then you fold irrespective of the values of other two remaining cards.

Final Words

Now you know the rules of the game, you can play Three Card Poker online for real money. There are free versions of the game available that you can utilize for practice before playing for real money.

Always play real money three card poker game at a trusted and legitimate online casinos like Skylive Casino. You can apply the above discussed optimal strategy to maximize your chances of winning and minimize risks of losing money. We recommend you to set aside a budget for the game and play responsibly.

Interested in online poker games? Click this link to know about online poker games that you can play for real money in India.

Frequently Asked Question

Is 3 card poker a good game?

Three card poker is one of the trendy casino games popular among poker enthusiasts in India.

The card game has simple and quick gameplay and provides the same level of entertainment as you would find at a land-based casino. Plenty of top-rated casinos in India offer this enthralling game that you can play either from your computer or a smartphone. 

Is there any strategy to 3 card poker?

Poker veterans approach three card online poker with one or more strategy to improve their winning prospects.

Once the cards are dealt with, you have to apply a strategy of which cards to raise and fold.

It is best recommended to raise the ante when you have a Q, 6 and 4 cards. It is because the edge on these cards is much lower. You can fold any other card except these hands.

What is the house edge in three card poker?

The house edge for ante play is set at 2.01%, which is relatively lower.  Only if players make side bets, the house edge increases significantly.

Can you count cards in 3 card poker?

You can only count cards in multiple live poker games if one standard deck of cards is used.

While you can easily count cards in land-based three card poker, it isn’t quite possible to count online as the RNG (Random Number Generator) is used to determine the cards in play. But it is possible in multiplay live poker games as the dealer sets the table.

What’s the best hand in 3 card poker?

The best hand in 3 card poker is straight flush (three consecutive cards of the same suit), for which you will be paid out at odds 40 to 1.

What are the odds of getting a pair in 3 card poker?

Considering the probability of 0.169412, the possibility of getting a pair in three card poker is very slim. Although it is the second most improbable hand, it rewards you with a decent payout if it luckily appears on your side.

What is a full house in 3 card poker?

The only possible way to get a full house in 3 card poker is to get the highest hand combining the dealer and payer’s hand in a 6-card bonus play. It is a side bet that the player has to make to qualify for creating the hand. The full house reward in 3 card poker is 25 to 1.

Read More: Card Games Betting Tips

Written By,

Daniel Singh

Daniel Singh is a content writer & strategist from India providing his top-notch skills & expertise in the Sports and online casino industry for more than seven years. He is an avid reader and creative writer who is fond of words and uses them to teach others about online betting and trending sports news through his in-depth guides.