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3 Card Poker Online Casino Overview - Old Dog, New Tricks

The best records available indicate that games of poker based on three cards are as old as poker itself. Its use of three cards was likely influenced by a 16th century British card game called Three Card Brag. Although listed in the Second Revised Edition of Hoyle's Rules of Games in 1983, a variant suitable for casino play didn't exist until 1994, when Derek Webb created a version that married casino game speed with poker's excitement.

Still, adoption took a while, what with regulatory bodies to impress, litigation related to fraudulent patent claims, and the usual positioning and posturing that takes place when something lucrative comes to market. Webb's innovation found a taker in the Grand Casino Gulfport in Mississippi, US. Eventually, rights to license the game in Britain were secured, and in 2002 UK gambling regulations finally permitted 3 Card Poker.

There are three wagers called the Ante, the Play, and the Pair Plus®. The Pair Plus® is an optional bet that the player hand will be at least as good as a pair and is paid regardless whether the player hand wins. The Ante and Play bets pertain to the clash between the player and dealer hands.

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Players who place Ante and/or Pair Plus® bets are dealt three cards face down, along with the dealer. Players examine their hands and decide whether to fold or play. If they fold, their Ante and/or Pair Plus® bets automatically lose. They stay by wagering a Play bet equal to their Ante bet.

After all Play wagers are in, players and the dealer expose their hands to determine and settle losses and payouts. The dealer hand automatically loses if lower than a queen high; otherwise it competes against player hands. When the player hand wins, the player is paid 1:1 on both the Ante and Play bets. Both bets push if hands tie.

The Ante Bonus is a feature that pays the Ante bet per a pay scale for straights or better. It's paid even if the dealer folds or still manages to have a better hand than the player.

Pay scales can vary from casino to casino. For example, while UK casinos pay 35:1 for a straight flush, others pay 40:1. Three of a kind pays 33:1 in the UK, but 30:1 elsewhere. Always research pay tables carefully before you play so there are no surprises, especially at online casinos.

Card Poker hands are ranked as follows (highest to lowest):

  • Straight Flush: Three sequential cards of the same suit
  • Three of a Kind: Three equally ranked cards
  • Straight: Three sequential cards
  • Flush: Three cards of the same suit
  • Pair: Two equally ranked cards
  • High Card: Anything other than the previous hands

Be sure to read our additional, in-depth information on the exciting game of 3 Card Poker. It's a game honed specifically for casino action, and right at home online. The more you know, the more you'll appreciate and enjoy playing this old game reborn for modern casino times!

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