Three Card Poker Strategy: How to Maintain Your Winning Streak

Three Card Poker is arguably the easiest to learn among the many variations of poker. However, mastering this game may take years of deliberate practice–unless you follow certain strategies that can help you maintain a winning streak in no time. 

But before we reveal the most essential Three Card Poker strategy, it wouldn’t hurt to know the basic rules. 

  • To begin the game, the player puts an ante wager and/or a pair plus wager. The goal is to have a hand of at least a pair or better. 
  • Next, three cards are dealt face down to each player and the dealer. 
  • Each player looks at his hand and decides if he wants to put a play wager, which is equal to the amount he puts as the ante wager. A play wager is used to pit against the dealer’s hand.
  • The best Three Card Poker strategy suggests that you should play all hands better than Queen, Six and Four, then fold all hands with a lesser value. 
  • If you fold, your hand is over and the dealer collects your ante wager and pair of plus wager. But if you put a play wager, the cards will be turned over to decide which one has the best hand. 
  • In the event that the dealer has a hand of Jack-high or lower, the play wager is simply returned to you. But if the dealer has a hand of Queen-high or higher, the ante and play wager are paid out one-to-one if you have a better hand than the dealer. 
  • If the dealer has a superior hand, both the play and ante bets are collected. Then, the pair plus bet is set independently from the dealer’s hand. 
  • The ranking of most hands is the same as the standard poker; the only major difference is that a straight is higher than a flush, and you’re only using three cards. That being said, straight flush and mini-royal flush are the highest, followed by three of a kind, straight, flush, pair, and lastly, the high card.

If your highest card and the dealer’s are the same, the second-highest card or third is then considered. 

What Is the Most Basic Three Card Poker Strategy?

When making a player wager, the common strategy is to bet every time you have Queen-6-4 or higher or any time your high card is a King or Ace. Meanwhile, it doesn’t matter how high the rest of your cards are. By contrast, it’s ideal to fold if your hand is not as high as Q-7 and if your high card is a Jack or worse, no matter how high the remaining cards are. 

When You Know One of the Dealer’s Cards

You can adopt this Three Card Poker strategy if you know one of the dealer’s cards: 

  • Queen – Make sure that you only play with Q, 9, 2, or higher. Remember, if the dealer shows a queen, your second card should be stronger. 
  • Jack or lower – Always make a play bet with this card because there’s a higher chance that the dealer’s hand is lower than yours or won’t qualify. 
  • Ace – Make sure that you only play with A, 9, and 2. 
  • King – Ideally, only play with K, 9, 2, or higher. After all, you need to have the same high card as the dealer and a better second card than the average card value. 

How to Win Up to 1,000 Times Your Wager

One of the most enticing features of Three Card Poker is the possibility to win up to 1,000 times the amount of your wagers on bonus bets, which come in two types: the Six Card bonus and the Pair Plus bonus. 

The Six Card bonus considers the three cards in your hand and the dealer’s. If you have a poker hand of three of a kind or better (after combining the six cards), you win this bonus wager in which the amount depends on what type of poker hand you have with your cards. 

Meanwhile, the Pair Plus bonus is determined by the three cards in your hand. You win this bonus wager if you’re dealt with a pair or higher in your three cards. Take note that the amount of money depends on what type of hand you’re dealt. 

How to Manage Your Money 

A good rule of thumb is to have a bet size that is relatively the same as the bankroll. For instance, if you’re playing a $300 bankroll, you may want to limit your bets to around $10 per hand; this means that even before the game, you have already established your win and loss limits.


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