Tips On How To Play Three Card Stud Poker

Three-Card Poker is a variant of the classic poker game; the primary goal is to get the best poker hand possible with only three cards.

Created in 1994, three-card poker was created by British poker player Derek Webb as a fast and easy-to-understand version. The game first appeared in the US until UK law changed in 2002 to allow three-card poker.

When it comes to online games, the more beginner-friendly the better, and it can’t get easier to learn than three-card poker. While it is primarily luck-based as a game, there are some strategies you can use.

How To Play

Unlike other poker games, three-card poker is played against the dealer. Three-card poker is also considered a stud game rather than a draw game because the cards you are dealt are the ones you play with. This is not drawing or exchanging. Here is a simple step-by-step guide on how to play three-card poker.

All ante wagers are made before any cards are dealt.

Once all wagers are made, three cards are dealt to the player and the dealer.

After looking at their hand, the player can choose to fold or play.

If they fold, then the hand ends, and the ante wagers are paid to the dealer.

If they choose to play, they must place an extra wager equal to the ante.

The hands are then revealed; the dealer’s hand must be a queen high or better to qualify. If the dealer’s hand doesn’t qualify, then the ante wager is paid 1 to 1.

If the dealer’s hand qualifies, then the 2 hands are compared.

You win if your hand ranks higher than the dealer’s after they qualify. If you both have the exact same hand then it is counted as a tie, and all bets are pushed.

The general ante wager payouts are:

Straight – 1 to 1

Three of a kind – 4 to 1

Straight flush – 5 to 1

Hand Rankings

Here are the hand rankings in three-card poker from best to worst.

Straight Flush

Three of a kind




High card

Unlike regular poker, because you only have 3 cards straight ranks higher than a flush.

Types Of Wagers

Three-card poker has a unique style of play in that you can almost play multiple games at the same time. This is in the form of different wagers that are separate from the typical rules of the game.

Pair Plus

For this bet, you wager over if you are going to get a pair or better in your hand. The dealer’s hand is irrelevant in this bet. This rule varies between casinos on whether you can choose to do a pair plus bet as an addition, or in place of a regular wager.

The Pair Plus payouts typically found are:

Pair – 1 to 1

Flush – 3 to 1

Straight – 6 to 1

Three of a kind – 30 to 1

Straight flush – 40 to 1

6 Card Bonus

This bonus is when the dealer and the player’s hands are combined to try and get the best poker hand. If the odds are in your favor then you can win big. This bonus isn’t available in every casino because of the large payouts, below are the payouts you may find.

Three of a kind – 5 to 1

Straight – 10 to 1

Flush – 15 to 1

Full house – 25 to 1

Four of a kind – 50 to 1

Straight flush – 200 to 1

Royal flush – 1,000 to 1

Tips To Help You Win Against The Odds

Since you only have 2 options in three-card poker (fold or play) you have to know the optimal strategy for when to play your hand. The general rule of thumb is to play any hand that is a Queen-6-4 or better. Anything else you fold. This is because the dealer’s hand needs to qualify in order for you to lose.

You should also play any hand which includes pairs, especially if you have a Pair Plus wager.

If You Know One Of The Dealer’s Cards

It’s not often that you are lucky to see one of the dealer’s cards, but when you do it can completely change up your strategy.

If the dealer has a Jack or lower, then play your hand as the chance of the hand qualifying is low.

If the dealer has a queen, then play your hand if your first or second card can beat it. This means play if you have an Ace or King, but if you have a Queen then play if your second card is a 9 or higher.

If the dealer has a King, then only play if your hand is better than a King-9-2.

If the dealer has an Ace then only play if your hand is better than an Ace-9-2.


Three-card poker is a fun and easy-to-learn variety of poker that appeals to beginners. It is quick and can be played at home with an easy setup. 

Hopefully, now you know how to play this exciting game and win a few hands.