Casino games fans that value speed and simplicity in card games are quick to understand the appeal of 3 card poker. The original Three Card Poker title was invented in 1994 by game developer Derek Webb, and casinos using the game under that name still have to pay royalties for it. Some operations avoid this by creating their own slightly different rules for 3 card poker, and hosting the game under names like Trey Poker, Poker Three or similar.

3 card poker is thus now a popular card choice in several incarnations, whether at land-based casino card tables or in digital formats using RNGs in online and mobile casinos. While the different variations usually tinker with the payout structure, dealer qualification rules and available side bets, most maintain the core structure of the original game. Derek Webb designed 3 card poker to fulfil three criteria: it had to be a fast-moving poker-based game, easy to understand and play, that offered the players a shot at substantial wins at any betting level.

How 3 Card Poker Works

A single 52-card deck is used in 3 card poker, with the player pitted only against the dealer. Winning combinations and the related payouts mentioned below relate only to the original, licensed version of 3 card poker available at many land-based, online and mobile casinos. Results may therefore vary, according to the casino offering the game.

The player must place an ante bet, and any side bet, after which dealer and player are each dealt three cards. Most online versions allow an ante and side bet from $1 to $500. The dealer’s cards remain face-down, and the player must assess their hand and decide whether to bet or fold. If they fold, they lose the ante and any side bets. If they bet, their ante stake is doubled and the dealer’s hand is assessed.

Dealer May Need to Qualify

In many versions of 3 card poker online , especially table versions in land-based casinos, the dealer may need to qualify before competing against the player’s hand. Queen-high or better is the usual standard; if the dealer does not have at least a Queen or higher in the hand, the dealer does not qualify. If the player does not fold and the dealer does not qualify, the player is paid even money on the ante bet, but all other bets are pushed.

If the dealer qualifies, the hands compete according to the standard available poker rankings: a high card, a pair, a 3-card flush, a 3-card straight, three of a kind, and a 3-card straight flush. If the player’s hand beats the dealer’s, the player wins even money on both the ante and the second bet.

Pair Plus and Ante Bonuses Boost Wins

The Pair Plus bet is the standard 3 card poker side bet. Usually equal to the ante bet, it is an additional stake the player can place on a hand before the deal. If the player beats the dealer, they win a multiple of the Pair Plus bet according to the payout table in addition to their even-money wins. Standard Pair Plus pay-outs for a pair, flush, straight, three of a kind or a straight flush are 1:1, 4:1, 6:1, 30:1 and 40:1, respectively.

Many versions of 3 card poker also pay a bonus multiple of the ante for the top combinations: 1:1 for a straight, 4:1 for three of a kind and 5:1 for a straight flush.