How to Play Casino Three Card Poker

By Monique Finley

Casino three card poker is a table game played in a more relaxed setting. There is no rush when playing three card poker, as each player is given ample time to decide how to play his hand. Three card poker consists of two games on one table. The first game is the “Ante/Play” game, which means you are playing your cards against the dealer’s. The second game is known as “Pair Plus”, which means if your hand is a pair or better you win, regardless of the dealers cards. Some casinos require three card players to bet the Ante/Play, while the Pair Plus is optional. Other casinos have 'optional play' on either game. You may play both games at any time. Ask your dealer what bets are required to play three card poker in each casino. Payout schedules are listed next to every spot on the table.

How To Play Ante/Play Poker

Place your bet (no less than table minimum) in the spot marked “Ante”. The dealer will deal three cards face down to each position with a bet. Do not touch your cards until after the dealer pushes them to you.

Pick up your cards with one hand only. If you have queen/ten or better you should play the hand. To stay in the hand you must make a second bet, equal to the Ante bet in the spot designated “Play”. Once you place your wager in the Play spot, tuck the corner of your cards under the Play bet.

Dealers will qualify with a queen or better. If the dealer qualifies the Play and Ante bets are paid 1 to 1. Ante Bonus is paid regardless of whether or not the dealer qualifies. The Ante Bonus pays 1 to 1 on Straights, 4 to 1 on Three of a Kinds and 5 to 1 on Straight Flushes. If the dealer does not qualify, the Ante bet is paid 1 to 1 and the Play bet Pushes (doesn‘t win or lose).

Fold your hand by placing the cards next to your Ante wager. Do not put any chips in the Play spot. Be certain you don't have a winning hand before you fold, as the dealer does not look at folded cards.

Three Card poker Pair Plus

Place your bet in the spot marked “Pair Plus”. Follow casino rules regarding Ante/Play wager requirements (some casinos require Ante/Play wagers in order to play Pair Plus).

After you receive your three cards, determine if your hand is a pair or better. A Pair or better wins regardless of dealer’s hand ranking. Pair pays: 1 to 1. Flush pays: 4 to 1. Straight pays 6 to 1. Three of a kind pays: 30 to 1. Straight Flush pays: 40 to 1.

Always confirm your hand before folding. If you are uncertain, ask the dealer.

About the Author

Monique Finley has been writing avidly since 1990. Her first poem was published in 1994, when she was 14. She has contributed a variety of pieces (poetry, essays, commentaries) to various writers' sites, including Demand Studios, eHow, Associated Content, Helium and Triond.