3 Card Poker uses the name "poker" because it uses the standard order of ranking of poker hands, but it is more of a casino game than a poker game per se.
You can modify your bets slightly to go after different premium or bonus hands, but there is no poker strategy, for example deciding which cards to hold or draw, placing bets against other players.
Simply choose between a couple of bets before the deal, see what 3 cards you are dealt and hope for the best.
However, there is one important exception to the standard ranking of poker hands:
Because it is more difficult to make a straight in 3-card poker than a flush, the sort order for straights and flushes is reversed.
A straight is MORE valuable than a flush in 3 Card Poker
Otherwise, there are no changes to the hand rankings, except for the elimination of hands that require more than three cards.
This makes things quite simple as there are only six possible 3-card poker hands you can make.
Here they are classified from highest to lowest:
When you take a seat at a 3 Card Poker table, you can generally choose between a couple of bets depending on the type of table you choose.
Before you receive any card, you must make a decision. Will you bet?
A) Just the Ante bet or
B) The Ante bet and the PairPlus
The Ante bet you must make to receive any card. The PairPlus is optional. Basically, you are simply betting if you think you will receive a pair or more in your 3-card poker hand.
Once everyone at the 3-Card Poker table has made that decision and placed their bets, the dealer deals 3 cards face down to everyone in the hand. Then you can look at your cards.
Once you've looked at your cards, you now make another decision: Do you want to go ahead and join your hand against the dealer and see which one is higher?
If you do, you now place a "Play" bet, which is equal to the ante bet. Here's a look at the basic order of the game.
Receive your cards
Choose to fold (lose all your already made bets) or make the Play bet (call the bet)
If you fold, you will lose your initial bet and your PairPlus bet (if you did). If you play (by matching the bet size), then you move on to comparing your hand to the dealers to see if they pay you.
Therefore, to win your initial bet, your 3-card poker hand must be higher than the dealer's.
However, the dealer must have a high queen or better to qualify.
In addition to the player vs. dealer payout, players who play Ante and Play receive bonus payouts regardless of the dealer's hand) for strong hands:
Possibly the easiest casino table game you can play, the PairPlus bet requires absolutely no decision on your part.
Place your PairPlus bet before the deal (bet must be between the table's minimum and maximum amounts)
If you hit a 3-card poker hand that is a pair or more, the pay scale is as follows:
If you only have one high card and don't have a pair, you lose your PairPlus bet but you can still win your Ante bet if your high card is higher than the dealer's (remember that the dealer must have at least one Queen for his hand to qualify ).
Similarly, you can still lose to the dealer and lose your Ante and Play bets, but click on your PairPlus bet and get paid. You do not have to win your ante or play to qualify for the PairPlus payment.
Because the game of 3-Card Poker is so simple, most players like to play 'blind', or play each hand regardless of what is dealt to them.
While that can be quite fun to be in the action all the time, it has a consequence: It basically improves the house edge to about 7% from the standard 3%.
Because of that big jump in house edge if you play every hand, the most experienced 3-Card Poker players adhere to a general rule of thumb of general strategy, also known as "Q64"
Only play hands that have a Queen, 6 and 4 or more
If you meet that requirement, you keep the house edge as low as possible, between 2-3% depending on the casino.
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