How to Play the Card Game Big Three

By Dana Severson

Big Three is a slightly different sort of “gambling” card game. It is played with two players competing against a single player with all players trying to rid their hands of cards. The team isn’t always the same per round. As cards are dealt and bids are made, the person who wagers the highest will “go it alone,” so to speak. The remaining two form the opposing partnership. The “gambling” portion comes into play through the bidding process as players win or lose chips based on the results of the game.

Divvy out the poker chips. Each player should start out with the exact same number of chips. A good number to begin the game is 15 chips each. However, feel free to play with less or more, depending on the length of time you’d like to play.

Decide the order of play. To decide the order of play for the game of Big Three, simply deal out the cards one at a time. The first person to receive a Jack is the first dealer. Play continues to his right around the table in a counterclockwise direction.

Deal out the cards. Starting with the dealer, the deck is dealt out one card at a time in a counterclockwise direction until each player has 16 cards in his or her hand. The four remaining cards are set off to the side.

Bid your hand. The person to the right of the dealer starts the bid. He may bid one, two, three (three being the highest bid possible), or pass. Bidding continues around the table with each following player either passing or raising the bid. The player with the highest bid leads out and adds the four remaining cards to his hand. The other two players become a “team” for this round of play.

Play your hand. After the bids have been made, begin to play your hand starting with the winning bid. Hands are played by either laying down one card, a pair, three of kind, four of a kind, runs, runs of pairs (two 8’s, two 9’s, two 10’s) , runs of three of a kind (three 5’s, three 6’s, three 7’s), and runs of four of a kind (four 7’s, four 8’s, four 9’s). Subsequent players must then play above the card or cards within the same type (pairs or runs) and number (one, two, three, or more cards). Once the highest possible card or combination of cards is played for that type or number, the player removes them from the table and leads next.

Win the round of Big Three by being the first person to rid your hand of cards. If the person who bid the highest wins, he would receive his bid from each player. If one of the other two people wins, the highest bidder would pay out his did to each player.

Continue to play in a counterclockwise direction for a set number of rounds. The winner will then be the person with the most chips at the end of the game.

About the Author

Based in Minneapolis, Minn., Dana Severson has been writing marketing materials for small-to-mid-sized businesses since 2005. Prior to this, Severson worked as a manager of business development for a marketing company, developing targeted marketing campaigns for Big G, Betty Crocker and Pillsbury, among others.