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The Secret to Three Card Poker
by Stan Friedman,
Updated 1 April 2003

Three Card PokerWant to maximize your chances of winning at Three Card Poker? Psssst. Here's the secret: Raise your bet when you have Q-6-4 or better. That's it!

Over the past year Three Card Poker has become increasingly popular. Many players view it as a superior alternative to Caribbean Stud Poker because you get paid on strong hands even if the dealer doesn't qualify. I thoroughly enjoy Caribbean Stud Poker, but it's sure frustrating when you get a Full House or 4-of-a-Kind and the Dealer has nothing -- you don't get the big payout it feels like you deserve.

Three Card Poker is easy to learn and simple to play. Let's say you are at a $5 table. Place a $5 chip on PairPlus and another on "Ante". Check your cards. If your hand beats Queen-6-4, place another $5 chip on "Play", otherwise fold.

There is one other key to maximizing your chances of winning: Pick a game with a good pay table. The PairPlus payout for a Flush is a good indicator of the quality of the pay table. Generally speaking, good games will pay 4 to 1 on your PairPlus bet when you hit a Flush. Tight games pay only 3 to 1.

Not too many online casinos offer three card poker, but I have seen the game at some casinos that use RealTime Gaming software such as Sci Fi Casino ( They call it "Tri-Card Poker". CryptoLogic casinos, like InterCasino, offer Three Card Poker in their "Bonus Pack".

For detailed instructions on how to play Three Card Poker and a full analyses of common pay tables, I recommend The Wizard of Odds. Also, here's a link to an informative article about Three Card Poker by Andy Glazer at the Detroit Free Press.

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