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  The 3 Aces Guide to 3-Card Poker

   by Chris Miller, Dealer - 3 Aces Casino Parties


3-Card Poker is very simple to play and is actually two games in one.  Each player receives three cards. You are playing against the dealer, not the other players.


The Layout and the Bets

Pair Plus bet:  This bet pays if you have a pair or better. You’ll get 1:1 on a pair and a bonus amount for straights, flushes, 3 of a kind and straight flushes. We’ll talk more about the Pair Plus bet in the strategy section.

Ante bet: This bet is required to play a hand. After you make your Ante bet, the dealer will deal all players 3 Cards.

Play bet: After looking at the cards, players decide whether they wish to continue in the hand. If so, they place a Play bet equal to the Ante Bet.


After all players have made their bets, the dealer shows his or her three cards. The dealer must have at least a one Queen or higher to “qualify”.  If the dealer does not qualify, players are paid for their Ante bet and the Play bet is returned to the player.

If the dealer qualifies the game proceeds like regular poker, with the exceptions that straights beat flushes, and 3 of a kind beats both. If the dealer's hand is better than the player’s, the house wins the Ante and Play bets. If the player’s hand is best the player wins both bets. Bonus payouts are given for 3 of a kind and straight flushes. 

The Pair Plus bet is paid regardless of who wins the hand.

Game Strategy: Selecting a Table

First try to find a game with that offers the best payouts.  The best game is one that offers 4:1 on a flush and 6:1 on a straight. Here are some of the more common paytables for the Pair Plus bet:

Every player of course hopes to hit the straight flush bonus, but look for the better odds on the most likely hands.  Games offering the odds in our first two paytables would be our choice.

Now here’s the Ante Bonus:

Most casinos use the first paytable. We suggest you avoid any other game.

Game Strategy: Playable Hands


Because of the need for the dealer to qualify, the hands you should choose to play will make any regular poker player blanche. Basically you should play any hand Queen or better.  If you have a Queen-6-4, you are a statistical favourite to win. 


Game Strategy: Betting


For most of the games with side or bonus bets, the best strategy is to avoid the bonus bet due to the large house edge. This is not true for 3-Card Poker.  If you are going to play 3-Card Poker you should make the Pair Plus bet, otherwise why play? The dealer fails to qualify fairly often. The most common outcome is that the game ends up with the player losing their Pair Plus bet and winning the Ante Bet.  One effective strategy is to bet one unit on the Pair Plus and two units for the Ante. The overall house edge for 3-Card Poker is 5.32%


6 Card Bonus


Many casinos have started offering a 6 Card Bonus. With this bet, the player receives a bonus based on their three cards plus the dealer’s three cards. The bonus can often be $1 Million. Other bonuses can be over six figures.  The house edge on the 6 Card Bonus edge is over 15%. Don’t make this bet.


Remember, don't gamble on your next event, call 3 Aces Casino Parties.

Questions or comments? You can reach Chris here

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