Three Card Poker Tournament Strategy Tips

Three Card Poker Strategy Tips for Your Next Tournament!

Let's discover how to play and beat the house at three-card poker with some quick and easy strategy tips.

To win a three card poker tournament make sure you follow the strategy tips outlined in this article that have guaranteed professional players their wins for decades!
Three Card Poker Strategy Tips for Your Next Tournament!

Three-card poker is a casino table game based on poker and is often the most profitable table game for casinos due to a lack of strategic players.

This is exactly what makes it great:

The game is popular with players regardless of their skill level since the game play is pretty basic, the rules are simple, and with various bonuses available players can win big. While the house edge is quite high, with the right strategy tips you can win some decently sized wins!

So, let’s get started!

A Quick Summary of Three Card Poker Basic Strategy

To start the three-card poker game play, the player must make an Ante Bet or a Pair Plus Bet. Once this is done, the dealer gives each player three cards, the deals another three for his or herself. The player can then examine their own cards while the dealer’s remain face down.

If the player has made an Ante Bet they have to either raise or fold, but doing the latter forfeits the Ante Bet. If raising, the player makes an additional Play Bet equal to their Ante bet. Once this round is complete, the dealer turns over their cards and the hands are compared.

A Quick Summary of 3-Card Poker Basic Strategy

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How to Win a Three Card Poker Hand

How to Win a Three Card Poker Hand

For a three-card poker game play to continue, the dealer must have queen-high or better. Should the dealer not qualify, the player wins even money on their Ante Bet and the Play Bet pushes. When the dealer qualifies, however, the holder of the highest hand wins.

The player loses both bets if the dealer has the better hand, with the player’s Ante and Play Bets being paid at even money if their hand is better. On the occasions that the hands of the dealer and player are tied, both the Ante Bet and Play Bet push.

Keep an Eye Out for a Straight!

While you usually need to beat the dealer’s hand to win, there is an exception to the rule. That’s why it’s worth noting that if the player made an Ante Bet and has a straight or better as their hand, they receive an Ante Bonus irrespective of the dealer’s hand strength.


Being dealt a straight is rare and will happen only around 3.25% of the time, with three of a kind (0.235%) and a straight flush (0.217%) being extremely rare.

Overall, the house edge for Three Card Poker is typically around 3.4%, but like almost all table games, making side bets such as the Pair Plus Bet increases the house’s edge, with the most common pay table for Pair Plus Bets giving the house a 7.28% advantage on top of what it already has.

Win Your Next Three Card Poker Tournament!

Tips for Perfect Three Card Poker Strategy

Working out the optimal three-card poker tournament strategy is quite difficult because there are so many different variations of the rules. That being said, there are a few pointers to take on board if you want to adopt a winning Three Card Poker tournament strategy.

Winning Three Card Poker Tournament Strategy Starts Like This:

Tips for Perfect Three Card Poker Strategy

The first is to call on any queen/six/four you are dealt. This is classic three-card poker strategy and does not change simply because you are playing in a tournament scenario. On the other hand, you should fold all hands that are lower than queen/six/four!


Make sure you are placing equal bets on the Ante and Pair Plus option lines. If you bet too heavily on the Pair Plus you’re going to lose more than 70% of the time, while betting too much on the Ante won’t reward you enough to balance out the risk.

Another Important Three Card Poker Tip: Don’t Bet Too Little!

Now that you’ve gotten to a good start, the next Three Card Poker tournament strategy phase dictates that you should bet enough to see out the entire round.

For example:

If you are playing a tournament where you have a $5,000 bankroll and are playing a 30-hand round, you should divide your bankroll by the number of hands, and then divide by three. So in this example, $5K divided by 30 hands then divided by 3 would get you a $55 Ante and a $55 Pair Plus Bet.

It can be tempting to increase your bet sizes, but you should bet consistently so that you always have enough bankroll left to place the maximum safe bet ($55 in our example) without having to reduce your bets at any point.

Three Card Poker Tournament Winners Pay Attention

Three Card Poker Tournament Winners Pay Attention

Being observant of your opponents is another key aspect of foolproof Three Card Poker strategy. Keep an eye on your opponents’ stack sizes because you may find that some are playing a high-risk strategy (betting large) and only have a few chips remaining.

Sometimes merely surviving to the end of the round will see you progress if your opponents are playing risky. Moreover, some tournaments offer players the chance to buy bonus rounds. These should be avoided because buying a bonus round doubles your entry fee.

Where to Play Three Card Poker Online

Below are the best Three Card Poker casino rooms online, where you will find some generous welcome bonuses available for new players. Play your cards right with the tips on this page and you can walk away with some massive Three Card Poker jackpots!

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