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Three Card Poker Strategy

The game of Three Card Poker is simple to learn and play. One of the primary considerations that separates its strategy from other forms of poker is the lack of competition between players. Players only compete to beat the hand held by the dealer and, as a result, the idea of bluffing does not apply to this type of game. Another reason that the strategy behind Three Card Poker is rather simple is that each player has only the cards that are dealt to start and are not required to discard cards to get new ones.

Discover The Basic Strategies

Betting Decisions

The most important strategy that you can employ is based on the decision you have to make to either fold your hand or continue playing by betting more money. In the simplest terms possible, you should fold a hand that is not higher than Queen, Six and Four. However, the decision to bet or fold is determined by the cards in order, not as a whole. In other words, the following circumstances apply:

  • The first highest card is higher than a Queen but the second two cards are lower than six and four will result in a bet.
  • The first highest card is a Queen but the second card is lower than a six will result in a fold.
  • The first two highest cards are both a Queen and a six but the third card is lower than a four will result in a fold.

In other words, once your highest card beats any high card in the Queen, six and four set, you should place a bet in the Ante portion of the game. Provided that these rules are followed, a player will likely lose at 8.66% on the Ante but win 5.29% on the raise, resulting in a statistical profit.

A hand that is kept in when even only the final card is lowered to a three reveals the cutoff point for this strategy. Raising on a Queen, six and three results in a statistical chance of losing 1.00255 units (think of units as $1.00 for simplicity). However, raising on a Queen, six and four results in a statistical chance of losing 0.993378 units, tipping the odds in your favor.

Dealer Mimics

Another Three Card Poker strategy is to copy the actions of the dealer when making betting decisions. In essence, you must simply raise on any hand that contains a Queen or higher, just like the dealer. Although this is much less likely to result in profits over loss in most Three Card Poker games, it can still work as a solid strategy. By betting on any hand that contains a Queen or higher, you can cut the house edge down to 3.45%. If you were to play the game blind to determine the original house edge (betting every hand regardless of the cards in it), this would determine the true house edge of 7.65%. So, by playing like the dealer, you can effectively cut the house edge by 4.20%


Some online casinos allow all ties to be counted as a win by the player. If this is the case for your casino, the technical house edge is lowered to 3.24%. Even with such a small statistical adjustment, a change needs to be made to the basic betting strategy. Continue to follow the original raise on every hand higher than a Queen, six and four but also lower the requirement to Queen, six and three if the suits in your hand do not match each other.

If your hand contains three different suits, the likelihood of the dealer obtaining a flush is significantly lowered. By using the betting strategy, the tie is statistically likely at about 1 in 1518 hands. If you play blind and bet on every hand, the statistical chance of getting a tie is 1 in 904 hands.

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