Three Card Poker is actually two games rolled in one. You can opt to play either the standard game on its own, or you may wish to combine it with the Pair Plus game. Equally, you can just play this Pairs Plus game on its own.
The aim of the base game is to simply get a better valued hand than that of the dealer, out of the three cards you are both dealt. The Pair Plus game plays independently and pays out based on the value of your hand, regardless of whether or not it beats the dealer.
How To Play
You first need to choose whether you want to play the standard base game, the Pairs Plus game or both games simultaneously. In front of you on the layout you will see three different betting boxes; two of them are for the base game (the ante and bet boxes) and the Pair Plus betting box is obviously for the Pair Plus bet.
If you wish to place a standard game wager then place your chips on the ante box. If you wish to place a bet on the Pair Plus, then place your wager in its respective box. Next click on the ‘Deal’ button, and the dealer will then deal you both three cards.
The Standard Game
For the base game you need to decide whether your hand could beat the dealers unseen hand. If you think it will, then a second wager must be placed equal to the first; when playing online this is done by clicking the ‘Play’ button. If you have a weak hand, then you can choose to fold and forfeit your ante.
When playing on, the dealers hand will be revealed. The dealer needs to have at least a queen or higher to play, and if they do not then you win the ante bet and your play bet is returned.
If the dealer qualifies then the two hands are compared and the best hand wins. Normal poker hand rankings apply, except for the fact that a straight beats a flush in three card poker – this is because there are less combinations of straights than there are flushes when playing with three cards (the opposite is true for five card poker). If the dealer wins you lose both your ante and your play bet, and if the dealer loses you win both bets at a rate of 1 to 1.
There is also an ante bonus bet that is paid out for a straight or better. The payouts for the bonus are as follows:
- Straight – 1 to 1
- Three of a Kind – 4 to 1
- Straight Flush – 5 to 1
The Pair Plus Game
When playing the Pair Plus game, the value of the dealers hand does not matter (including whether or not the dealer qualifies) and the bet is paid out if you manage to make a pair or higher. The full payouts are as follows:
- Pair – 1 to 1
- Flush – 4 to 1
- Straight – 6 to 1
- Three of a Kind – 30 to 1
- Straight Flush – 40 to 1
The Pair Plus bet is completely independent of any ante bet, so you will still be paid out on the bonus bet even if you fold against the dealer.
Hints and Tips
The main strategy for playing the ante game is to only play with a queen or higher – just as the dealer does. Whether you wish to play the ante bet, Pair Plus, or both is entirely up to you; and there are plenty of players in each category of play.