Strategy to Play 3 Card Poker

Strategy to Play 3 Card Poker

Even though 3 Card Poker is the most profitable proprietary table game ever, it is still a mystery to most casino gamblers. Invented in 1994 by UK native Derrek Webb, it wasn’t until several years later that his product eventually took off. Following dozens of unsuccessful pitches in industry hot-spots. Today, there are more than 2,000 3 Card Poker installations worldwide, and demand for it grows year-to-year.

Below we provide a quick explanation on how-to-play this game before going into tips and strategies that you can implement when enjoying it. If you do not find the guide below sufficient, you could also learn to play 3 Card Poker online via various tutorials. Regardless of where you get your education, make sure that you have a decent grasp on its rules before putting down hard-earned money and testing your luck.

How to Play

3 Card Poker is a fast-paced gambling game that features a relatively low house edge. It falls into a category called – casino-poker variants. These are player vs. dealer games that incorporate poker-like elements, such as similar hand rankings.

When playing real money 3 Card Poker, you start every round by making an ante bet, signifying that you wish to receive your three-card hand. Once you do, you decide if you want to make a play bet. If you do not make this wager, you forfeit your ante. However, if you do, you must place an amount equal to your ante. That signals that you are ready to put your hand against the dealer’s one. In that case, he flips over the cards, at which point he needs a queen or higher to qualify, meaning, to participate in this face-off. If he doesn’t have a queen or higher, you win the ante bet, and the play wager gets returned to you. If he does have such a card, then he implements poker-like hand rankings to determine the winner. If your card’s rank is stronger, you win even money on both wagers.

Main Strategy

In reality, there is only one mainstream strategy that all 3 Card Poker players utilize. That is the queen-6-4 system. It is easy to remember and simple to implement. When you receive hands that consist of cards that are higher than a queen-6-4, you raise. In all other instances, you fold. Never make the play bet when you have a hand with card values lower than a queen-6-4. Why? Because this is the line at which point your win probability jumps above 51%. So, once you have this kind of hand, you have the advantage. Some players also make the play bet with a queen-7 or higher hand, regardless of their third card.

As with all gambling games, you can also utilize progressive betting systems on 3 Card Poker. Positive progression is when you increase your stake following a win and decrease it after a loss. A negative one is an opposite pattern. You increase your wager following a loss and lower it following a successful round. A famous positive progression system is the Paroli strategy, while the most known negative one is the Martingale. Know that you should be extra careful when using progressive betting patterns. Research each one, and make sure that you have a budget that can accommodate them.

When to Make Side-bets?

In general, most casino veterans will tell you to avoid making side-bets on this game, except for the pair plus wager. It is a super-simple bet, where you only need a pair or better to receive a payout. Remember, when you make this bet, you are not going up against the dealer’s hand. His cards are irrelevant. You are only wagering if you will have a pair or better. The payouts for winning this wager depend on your cards. A straight flush pays 40 to 1, three-of-a-kind get you a prize that is 30 to 1, a straight provides a win of 6 to 1, a regular flush one that is 4 to 1, and a pair pays even money.

Some players choose to only make this bet without even considering a play one. In that situation, the house advantage drops somewhere between 2.32% and 2.14%, depending on the payouts. That is lower than the advantage that the casino has in the base game.

Some venues offer a slew of other side-bet options on top of the pair plus wager. Of these, the most famous one is the 6-Card Bonus. It pays out a win that is 1,000 to 1 for a royal flush, and three-of-a-kind will get you a prize that is five times your stake. It is a very popular bet because it is a mini-game in a sense. However, while the win potential may be there, your odds are not terrific. The 6-Card Bonus has a default house edge of 15.28%.

The prime bet is another additional side-bet that some establishments provide, and it has an edge of 3.62%. It is a color-specific bonus, so as long as all your cards are all black or red, you win. The Millionaire Maker and the Progressive bets provide jackpot prizes, but they also do not feature favorable odds.

As a rule of thumb, if you are out to make money, do not put down any side-bets aside from the pair plus one. If you want to have fun and hope for life-altering prizes, the kind that slot machines provide, then make progressive bets.

Bankroll Management

On average, you should play around 70 Three Card Poker hands per hour if you are going up against a veteran dealer. If there are few other players at the table, this number could go up to 90. So, things can move pretty fast at these tables, and you can get easily carried away. Knowing this, you should always budget your gambling funds wisely. Never risk losing more than you can afford.

You should set aside a specific amount per gambling session. What is a session? It is a fixed period that you will be playing your chosen game. In most gamblers’ cases, it is one night of gaming fun. Always have a mindset that you are likely to lose your whole budget for that evening and that you consider gambling paid entertainment. To set their limits, most people choose to multiply the minimum wager by a factor of x100. That means that if you sit down to play at a $5 minimum table, you plan on spending $500 that evening.

You can also budget monthly for this hobby. That said, the most important thing is to know when to walk away. To recognize that you have exceeded your budget and resists the temptation to chase after losses. At such a time, the best course of action is to leave the casino floor or shut down your mobile app.

Final Thoughts

Trying out a new casino can be scary. Nevertheless, thanks to technology, you can test new titles at gambling sites for free, utilizing a demo-play option. If you are new to 3 Card Poker, these platforms are the perfect tools to grasp these games. You can take advantage of them without even signing up.

Once you attain the necessary education, you can try your luck for real money. Note that it is recommendable that you study the pay-table of the game you are playing because some may provide 3 Card Poker variations that feature a different payout structure and rules. Also, stay away from side-bets, except the pair plus one, and always gamble responsibly. Proper bankroll management is a must.

About the Author

Shelly Schiff is an online gambling aficionado with eleven years of experience in this industry. She is a top contributor to but also provides content for other top interactive gaming info hubs. Her colleagues consider Shelly a slot maven, even though she claims that she is partial to table games. In her leisure time, Shelly enjoys walking her dog and reading detective stories.