February 28, 2023

Rules and Strategies for Three-Card Poker

Emily Patel
Written byEmily PatelWriter
Researched byAmara NwosuResearcher
Localised bySamuel KipropLocaliser

Poker has been around since its invention in the early 1800s. The game was initially meant to be played using five cards. But with player demands constantly evolving, mobile casino game developers have to be more creative, hence the introduction of Three-Card Poker. So, what exactly is Three-Card Poker? This guidepost explains everything about playing this exciting poker variant. 

Rules and Strategies for Three-Card Poker

What is Three-Card Poker?

The game has everything about it written in its name. Three Card Poker is an online video poker variant that lets players make the best hands using three cards. In a typical scenario, poker players would need a solid five-card hand to win the round. The game uses the standard 52-card deck shuffled after each round.

These days, Three-Card Poker has become one of the most recognized mobile casino games, thanks to the innovativeness of game developers like Playtech and Evolution Gaming. The game is a fan favorite because of its fast-paced and straightforward nature. 

To begin playing Three-Card Poker, players must place an Ante bet and decide whether to make an optional Pair Plus bet. After making the wager, the online live casino dealer will give players three cards. Note that the dealer's cards are dealt face-down, meaning players can only evaluate their own hands. If the poker player has a better hand than the dealer’s, they win the Ante bet. Gamers can also win the Pair Plus bet if their first hand has a pair or higher. 

But unlike other card games, players don't compete against other players in Three-Card Poker. Instead, they compete against the house or the dealer, to be precise. This means players should focus only on their hands and the dealer's cards. They will suffer the consequences if they make basic mistakes. 

The Results of Three-Card Poker Can Vary

To qualify in Three Card Poker, the dealer needs a queen-high or a higher. So, if the live dealer doesn't qualify, the player wins a 1:1 payout on the Ante bet. But if the live dealer qualifies, the two hands are compared, and the stronger one wins a payout. 

Conversely, the player will lose the Play and Ante bet if the dealer qualifies. The round can also end in a push if there's no outright winner. If that happens, the player's Ante and Play bets are returned before a new round starts. 

All in all, the player's hand is paid out according to the paytable if they create a stronger hand than the dealer's. Note that the hands can vary, depending on the game developer. 

Three-Card Poker Side Bets and Payouts

That said, the game has up to three common side bets. Gamers can play the Ante Bonus side bet with a theoretical RTP of 96.63%. In this side bet, gamers win a payout if they create a Straight Flush (5:1), Three of a Kind (4:1), or Straight (1:1). These hands are called Prial, Running Flush, and Run in the Playtech version. 

There's also the Pair Plus side bet. Three-Card Poker players receive a payout if they create a pair or higher, regardless of the croupier's hand value. The highest hand ranking on Evolution's version is a Mini Royal with a 100:1 payout, whereas Prial is the strongest hand in the Live 3 Card Brag from Playtech, with a 40:1 payout. The theoretical RTP for the Pair Plus bonus bet is 95.51%. 

Things even get juicier with the 6 Card Bonus side bet. The objective is to make the most substantial five-card hand by combining the player's three cards and the croupier's three cards. The strongest hand players can make in this side bet is a Royal Flush, with a 1000:1 payout. Gamers can also win 200:1 and 100:1 with a Straight Flush and Four of a Kind. However, the payout percentage for this side bet is lower at 91.44%. 

Being Successful at Three-Card Poker Requires an Effective Strategy

As discussed above, Three-Card Poker gives the casino/dealer a slight advantage, usually around 3.3% if played optimally. However, making side bets and not playing according to the rules can increase the percentage. So, to prevent this, it is best to adhere to a couple of basic Three-Card Poker strategy tips. They include:

Play Three-Card Poker for Free

Before playing Three-Card Poker or any other poker game for actual money, it's best to practice online. So, how can players achieve this, considering all live casino games are played using real money? Install a Three-Card Poker app from Play Store and App Store to practice playing the game using virtual currencies. By the way, these app stores are home to lots of free poker variants. 

Gamers can also play Three-Card Poker for free using live casino bonuses and promotions. Top mobile casino apps in 2023 offer players deposit bonuses, no deposit bonuses, risk-free bets, free spins, and more. Use these rewards to play RNG (random number generator) games like slots, baccarat, roulette, blackjack, and Poker and win money after meeting the wagering requirement. But don't cash out everything. Instead, leave a balance for playing Live Three-Card Poker. 

Keep Away from the Side Bet

Wagering on side bets in Three-Card Poker can be tempting for a beginner. After all, bright starts in Poker don't come any better than winning 100x and 1000x multipliers with the Mini Royal and Royal Flush side bets. 

However, players will surely lose more by making Three-Card Poker side bets. The 6-Card Bonus side bet has a scorching hot house edge of 8.66%., whereas the 4.49% house edge on the Pair Plus side bet is still on the higher side. Therefore, avoid these poker side bets at all costs. 

Use Specific Card Arrangement When Playing the Game

Learning the rules of playing Three-Card Poker is straightforward, and so is the technique. Gamers only need to recall one combination of cards and decide whether to stay in or fold. Because of this uncomplicated nature, the game is much more calming to play. Experienced players find it trouble-free to prevent mistakes, and no one has to worry about errors that might affect other gamblers.

Where to Play Live Three-Card Poker Online

Three-Card Poker is a standard live casino poker variant available at any Evolution Gaming or Playtech casino. Some online live casinos also have dedicated live poker rooms where players can find any poker variant, including Omaha Hi-Lo, Texas Hold 'em, Double Bonus, etc. But most importantly, confirm if the live casino offers titles from the most reputable software developers. 

It's also critical to ascertain if the Three-Card Poker casino offers any player incentives. In this era when competition for online gamblers is cut-throat, signing up for nothing is not a wise decision. Ensure that the live casino offers a welcome promotion and numerous loyalty programs. These casino rewards will come in handy along the way. Give it a try!

About the author
Amara Nwosu
Amara Nwosu

With roots in the vibrant city of Lagos, Amara Nwosu is MobileCasinoRank's premier researcher. Melding rigorous analysis with an intuitive grasp of the mobile gaming sphere, Amara unravels the intricacies of the casino landscape for readers worldwide.

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