Online Three Card Poker


First of all, what is Three Card Poker? It is a game of many names, Three Card Poker, Tri Card Poker, Tri Poker etc. Three Card Poker is actually two games in one. When you sit down at a Three Card Poker table you are offered two different games in one.

These games are “Pair Plus” and “Three Card Ante and Play.” In Pair Plus there are bonus payouts for three-card poker hands of one pair or better. Three Card Ante and Play is played directly against the dealer. Both games are based on hands consisting of three cards. You may play either game individually or both at the same time. If both games are played at the same time, players are usually able to wager different amounts on each game.

As with standard poker rules, Three Card Poker is played with a standard 52-card deck. The cards are usually distributed to the dealer in sets of three by an automatic shuffling machine. This course will give you the basic Three Card Poker rules and optimal Three Card Poker strategy for each game based on odds.

Pair Plus

Pair Plus is a simple game in which you are dealt three cards and are paid according to the value of certain three-card hands. The dealer’s hand is not involved and there is no raising or discarding. Since the only decision the player has to make in this game is how much to bet, there is really no strategy involved in the Pair Plus.

However, at full payout the low house advantage of less than 3 1/2% makes it about as attractive as any table poker game you can find. The win/loss swings in Pair Plus are more volatile than in Three Card Ante and Play. A conservative betting strategy would be two units on Ante and Play and one unit on Pair Plus, or equal bets. Many good players prefer to gradually increase their conservative ratio bets when they are running good, to get ahead before they get aggressive and load up on the Pair Plus side.

The table below shows the payoffs for Pair Plus three-card hands.
Poker Hand Payoff
Straight Flush 40 to 1
Three Of A Kind 30 to 1
Straight 6 to 1
Flush 4 to 1
Pair 1 to 1

Three Card Ante and Play

The play for Three Card Ante and Play begins with a wager on the ante. The ante can be any amount within the posted table limits. After you view your three cards you may either raise by putting an equal bet on Play or fold and lose the ante bet. If you fold you also lose the Pair Plus bet if one was made. You should not fold if the Pair Plus bet would have paid off.

When you raise, you pit your hand against the dealer’s hand. The dealer then turns over his cards. If the dealer does not have Queen High or better, he doesn’t “qualify” to play and pays the active players even money on their ante bets and those with a straight or better are paid an additional Ante Bonus. Players get a push on their play bets. If he does have a qualifying hand, those who cannot beat it lose their Ante and Play bets, but can still win the Ante Bonus with a straight or higher. The optimal Three Card Ante and Play strategy is to always play Q-6-4 or higher and never play anything lower.

The table below lists the possible outcomes and their respective payoff.
Outcome Payoff
Dealer does not qualify Ante wins 1 to 1, Play bet is returned
Dealer qualifies and player beats dealer Both Play and Ante win 1 to 1
Dealer qualifies and dealer beats player Both Play and Ante lose
Dealer qualifies and dealer ties player Both Play and Ante push
In addition, the Ante Bet has an extra bonus that does not depend on the dealer’s hand. The following table describes the extra bonus payoff on the Ante Bet.
Poker Hand Payoff
Straight Flush 5 to 1
Three Of A Kind 4 to 1
Straight 1 to 1