Beginner’s Guide on How to Play Three Card Poker Hands

If you want to learn how to play three card poker hands, you’ve come to the right place! In this guide, we’ll teach you about the different hands in the game, what beats what, and some tips on how to win. Let’s get started!

What is three-hand poker?

Three-Card Poker is a game that sounds like it could be played in a prison. Three-Card Poker is one of the most played table games in American casinos. The game of three card poker hands is easy to learn and fun to play.

Three-Card Poker was invented by Derek Webb in 1994. It is played with a 52-card standard deck. There are two games in the game.

First, there’s the Ante/Play version in which players compete against a dealer to get the best hand.

Second is the Pair Plus where players wager on whether they will be dealt a pairing or better. Players must place an Ante wager to place the Pair Plus bet at most casinos.

How to play three card poker hands

Three betting circles are placed in front of each player on a standard Three-Card Poker table. The top circle is called Pair Plus, while the two below it are labeled Ante or Play.

The player begins play by placing a wager in the Ante or Pair Plus circle(s), which must equal the minimum table bet. Each player is then dealt three cards by the dealer.

A player can choose to fold or play if they have a bet in an Ante circle. If the player chooses to fold, the Ante is forfeited. If the player wants to continue, they must place an additional wager in the Play circle equal to their Ante.

The dealer will then display the three-card hand after the betting has ended. The dealer must have a “qualifying hand” of Queens or higher. Otherwise, all players will be paid for their Antes and their Play bets.

If the dealer’s hand qualifies, it is compared with the hands of the players to determine a winner. If the hand of the dealer is stronger, the player will be paid for both Ante and Play bets. If the dealer’s hand wins, the player loses both bets.

All ties go to the player.

How to rank three-card poker hands

Because each hand has only three cards, the rankings are different from standard poker rankings. The Three-Card Poker hand rankings range from high to low.

three card poker hands

  • Straight flush: Three consecutive cards from the same suit.
  • Three-of-a-kind: Three cards of the same rank.
  • Straight: Three consecutive cards of mixed suits.
  • Flush: Three cards from the same suit.
  • Pair: Two cards with the same rank.
  • High card

Three-card poker bonus payouts

An Ante bonus will be paid to a player who has a straight, three-of-a-kind, or flush. It is based on the player’s ante and the paytable.

A straight bonus is 1:1, a three-of-a-kind bonus is 4:1, and a straight flush bonus 5:1. Even if a player loses to the dealer, they will still get their Ante bonus, if applicable. This bonus has a house edge of 3.37%.

You can also earn Pair Plus bonuses, depending on the casino.

  • Straight flush: 40 to 1
  • Three-of-a-kind: 30 to 1
  • Straight: 6 to 1
  • Flush: 4 to 1
  • Pair: 1 to 1

Some casinos offer a mini Royal hand, which is A, K, and Q of the same suit. The Pair Plus bonus for this hand typically amounts to 80:1. The house edge for the Pair Plus bonus is approximately 2.32% unless the casino lowers the flush bonus to 3:1.

This raises the house edge to 7.28%.


So, now you know how to play three card poker hands and what beats what. Good luck at the poker table.

Remember to always play with caution and never gamble more than you can afford to lose. Click To Tweet