A Comprehensive Guide to 3 Card Poker

3 card is a popular poker variation in South African casinos. Learn everything about the game rules, payouts, strategies, and more from our detailed guide

Poker is one of the most popular table games not only in South Africa but globally. One of the most appealing things about poker is it has multiple variations. 3 Card poker, which is a fast-paced game that requires skills and strategy to win, is believed to be the player’s favorite choice. What attracts many South Africans is the low house edge that guarantees big payouts.

Our complete 3-Card Poker guide covers all there is to know before playing. We’ve included a brief history of the game, playing rules and hand rankings, game payouts, winning tips & strategies, and much more.

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What is 3 Card Poker

One of the most popular casino games is Poker, and Three-Card poker appeared in casinos in 1994, after being invented by Derek Webb. However, it was not until 1997 that the game was patented. The initial idea of Webb was to create a unique player vs. dealer game. His ideal game was to have a higher tempo and big payouts that would attract more players and sustain the casino to host it. The exciting thing is that Webb got most of his ideas from Stud Poker. He removed two cards from the deck and adjusted the gameplay. Though Three-Card poker started in Britain, it is now available worldwide, including in South African online casinos.

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How to Play 3 Card Poker – Rules and Hand Rankings

If you’re a newbie, don’t worry because learning to play Three-Card poker is pretty easy, compared to other types of poker, and doesn’t take a lot of time, considering that it follows straightforward rules. The first thing is to ensure that you understand the rules and the objectives of the game. As the name suggests, the game’s goal is for the player and the dealer to make the best three possible. Here, we’ve shared the basic rules of playing Three-Card poker and the hand rankings you’ll come across:

Three Card Poker Game Rules

If you are a beginner, the following are simple rules for playing Three-Card poker:

  • The first step is to place an ante bet or a pair plus.
  • Then both the player and the dealer are dealt three face-down cards. 
  • The player checks to see if they have a better hand than the dealer.
  • The player places a wager equal to the ante bet if the hand is higher.
  • Players have the option to fold and forfeit the ante bet if the hand doesn’t beat the dealer.
  • Once all bets have been made, all cards are turned and arranged in their respective ranking. 
  • To win, the dealer must have a queen or higher.
  • Note that the ante and player wagers are forfeited if the dealer’s hand beats the player’s. 
  • Note that all ante-bets have pay-out odds of 1:1.

3 Card Poker Hand Rankings

There are six hands in Three Card poker. All suits of cards have the same rank. The hands of cards ranked from the highest to the lowest are the following: Straight Flush, Three of a Kind, Straight, Flush, Pair, and High Card.

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Three Card Poker Game Payouts

One of the vital things to know before playing 3 Card poker is the potential payouts you get from your wagers. As you may be aware, there are two main bets in this fast-paced game. These are:

Pair Plus Payouts

One of the strange things about Pair Plus bet is that you neither compete against the dealer nor other players. The bet is made on your outcome to be a pair or better. The payouts are done based on the hand ranking. The drawback of this wager is you lose the whole wager if you don’t get at least a pair. The house edge in the Pair Plus bet is 7.28%. The payouts of this wager are as follows:

  • Straight Flush – Pays at 40:1
  • Three-of-a-Kind – Pays at 30:1
  • Straight – Pays at 6:1
  • Flush – Pays at 3:1
  • Pair – Pays at 1:1

Ante Bonus Payouts

The ante bonus bet attracts many players because of the relatively low house edge of 3.37%. The wager requires South African players to bet on whether their hand will beat the hand of the dealer. Additionally, a player qualifies for the ante bonus, regardless of whether the dealer qualifies or not.

The payouts in the ante bet are awarded as follows:

  • Straight Flush – 5:1 payout, odds of 1 in 453
  • Three-of-a-Kind – 4:1 payout, odds of 1 in 415
  • Straight – 1:1 payout, odds of 1 in 29.6
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3 Card Poker Winning Tips and Strategies

As earlier mentioned, the advantage of 3 Card poker is that you can apply various strategies to increase your chances of winning big. Here are a few tips you can follow while playing at leading online casinos in South Africa:

Bankroll Management: Learn to manage your money before you start playing. It is recommended to start with 1% of the bankroll before advancing.

Choose Ante Bet: The reason why Ante bet is recommended is that it has a lower house edge than other betting options.

Don’t Play Side Bets: Though side bets are luring because of the high payouts, they are designed to benefit the casino in the long run. 

Claim Bonuses: When playing 3-Card poker real money, take advantage of the bonus offers to boost your bankroll.

Practice with Free Mode: Make sure you learn the game rules and practice in free mode before playing for real money at leading online casinos, this tip works for any casino game, that can be found online.

3-Card Poker

Our Verdict

3 Card poker is quite an exciting card game. You can enjoy this thrilling game in leading online and live casinos in South Africa. The outstanding thing about this poker variation is the faster gameplay and big potential payouts. Also, 3-card poker is playable across all platforms, including smartphones, tablets, and personal computers. You can enjoy this game at the best real-money casinos but in order to familiarize yourself, with it, we recommend to try free to play option, which most gambling websites offer to their members.


Yes, you can play 3-card poker in free mode, but the winnings are not withdrawable

Of course, yes, you can use different strategies to maximize your winning opportunities

The house edge in 3-card poker is 3.37% for the Ante bet and 4.49% for Pair Plus

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