Three Card Poker Strategy

Three card poker is a joy of a game because it has all the good qualities of all the good games; it requires decisions but isn't too complicate, one has control over one's destiny but it's not too stressful. Thankfully due to the straightforward but intelligent nature of the game, there are various approaches to three card poker strategy that may prove to be useful in improving your game. Remember however that there are essentially two games on offer in three card poker, the Ante game and the Pair Plus game. 

Before getting into the strategies, it's essential to know the possible differences in payouts for the two types of games:

Pair 1:1
Flush 4:1
Straight 6:1
Three of a Kind 30:1
Straight Flush 40:1

Whereas the Ante- Play payouts will be:

Straight 1:1
Three of a Kind 4:1
Straight Flush 5:1

































Pair Plus Strategy

When playing the Pair Plus game the player chooses how much to wager and that is around the extent of your involvement with the game; there is little that the player affects and thus there is little to strategise about. However, the house edge is fairly low on Pair Plus play so simply playing it is a good strategy in and of itself. The payouts, and house rules will be listed by each table and it is important that you understand what you are looking for. The payouts listed above are optimal, and so for good Pair Plus gaming options, you should be looking for as close to these as possible, which provides a house advantage of under 3%. 



Ante Play Strategy
Ante Play 3 card poker is where real strategy comes in due to its "betting round". Unlike the Pair Plus game which you can't do much about, in the Ante Play game you have a choice to raise after you've seen your cards. In order to make the right decision you must consider two factors:

1.Will the dealer qualify?
2.If the dealer does qualify can your hand beat the dealers? 

In order for the dealer to qualify he must have at least a queen high, which makes it fairly easy to consider the best strategy for three card poker, and this is it:

If you have a hand of Queen – 6 – 4 hand, you should bet on it, if you don't, you should fold; really it's as simple as that.



Implementing the Three Card Strategy
This really is a very easy strategy to follow, and unlike other casino games strategies it's not dependant on anything other than what you have in your hand. If you remember that you must have a queen, six, four highest hand in order to bet you will do okay, but what does this mean? If you have a Queen – 6 – 4 then of course it's obvious, as is a Queen – 7 – 5, but what if you have a King – 5 – 3, or a Queen – 5 – 2?

The first thing you must do to determine if your hand fulfils this criteria as being high enough to play you must look at the highest card in your hand and if it's higher than a queen it doesn't matter what the other two cards are, you play it. If you have a queen as your highest card then you must look to the second highest card in your hand, if this is higher than a 6 you will also play the hand irrelevant of what the third card is. The same logic carries through to  the third card. In all other situations you must fold. Therefore, let's figure out the two hands listed above.

In the case of the King – 5 – 3, we must ask if the highest card is higher than a Queen, to which we can answer, yes; thus we don't even need to look at the other two cards and it doesn't matter that they are lower than a 6 – 4, because if the highest card is higher than a Queen we play. Had the highest card been a Jack or lower we would not have played this hand.

In the case of the Queen – 5 – 2, we find ourselves in a slightly different situation. Unlike in the king hand when we could make our decision based solely on the high card, we now have to look at the first two cards. The highest card is a Queen so that qualifies for play but not alone, the second card must now also be assessed. The second highest card in this hand is a 5, which is not high enough to play with, and so this hand would not get played. 

Set yourself a few challenges like this and figure out what you should do and why. Once you think you understand the rules of the strategy try them out in free-play and see how it goes. If you do this for a while you will soon find that the response will come like second nature and you won't even be thinking about what to do anymore, you'll just do it. 


In conclusion therefore there are steps that you can take to prepare yourself for Three Card Poker play. Familiarizing yourself with the pay-tables and what they mean is very important, as is gaining a complete understanding of the different aspect of the game; for example the Pair Plus game and the Ante Play game. Seeing as the two are fundamentally different it essential that you have a clear understanding of how each works and what each is based on in order that you can both be in full control of your game, and avoid unnecessary mistakes. Finally, once you have understood the practical workings of the game you can start to play using the Three Card Poker strategy which dictates that you should bet on any hand of Queen- 6 – 4 or higher, and fold on anything lower. Following these simple steps will have you playing Three Card Poker not only in no time, but with great success. 


Knowing how to use this Three card poker strategy is half the battle, you may want also refresh yourself on the rules of Three card poker.

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