Real Money 3 Card Poker

If you’re anything like me, you prefer to avoid casino games with a high house edge. Games like slots, scratch tickets and keno. You might as well hand your money to the casino.

Instead, we like to play table games like blackjack, pai gow or 3-card poker. 3-card poker will be the focus of this page. It has a 3-4 percent house edge and is super easy to learn.

But let’s start at the beginning.

3-card poker was invented by Derek Webb, a professional poker player. He first called the game Brit-Brag, then Casino Brag, while trying to get it patented in the mid-90s.

The British Casino Association passed on the game since they’d have to change their regulations to offer the game in UK casinos.

Webb had better luck in Reno. He convinced Barry Morris, the Vice President of Grand Casino, to a trial run. He sealed the deal by offering to train the dealers at no extra cost.

The game was popular with players. In fact, Webb couldn’t keep up with the demand.

He was then hit with a lawsuit from Progressive Games Inc. for patent infringement (which ultimately failed). Joseph Lahti, the president of Shufflemaster, offered to help him out. They countersued for $20 million – and won.

Lahti also offered Webb $3 million for the rights to the game, which Webb agreed to.

The game has continued to increase in popularity. It found it’s way to the UK in 2002. And nowadays you’ll find it at most brick and mortar and online casinos, either under the name 3-card poker or tri-card poker.

Where to Play 3-Card Poker Online

We recommend 1 of 2 casinos. – Here it’s called tri-card poker. Other than that you can play 130+ slots, table and video poker games. They also offer a 100% slots match bonus up to $5,000, a 100% table games match bonus up to $1,000, and $10 mobile bonus.

Lucky Red Casino – It’s called tri-card poker here, too. They have all Real Time Gaming games, so you can play blackjack, craps, video poker, slots, war, baccarat and slots, too. They’re offering a 400% match bonus up to $4,000 for new players, and a new offer every day of the week for everyone else.

The Rules (How to Play)

3-card poker is a simple game. Here’s how to play it.

  1. Make your ante and/or pair plus bet.
  2. The dealer gives each player 3 cards. The dealer’s cards are dealt face down.
  3. If you make the ante bet, you’ll need to raise or fold. If you fold you’ll give up your ante bet.
  4. If you raise you’ll need to make another bet, equal to your ante bet.
  5. The dealer then flips his cards over.
  6. The dealer needs a queen high or better to qualify.
  7. If the dealer doesn’t qualify you’ll earn even money on the ante bet. The play bet pushes.
  8. If the dealer qualifies then your hand will be compared with his. If you have a better hand both the ante and play bet will pay even money. If the dealer’s hand is better then they will win. If your hand is the same you’ll tie.
  9. If you made an ante bet and have a straight or better, you’ll receive the ante bonus no matter the dealer’s hand.

That’s all there is to it.

The payouts will depend on where you play. At this is what the payouts and odds look like:

Ante Bonus Pay Table & Hand Ranks

  • Straight Flush – 5:1
  • 3 of a Kind – 4:1
  • Straight – 1:1

Pair Plus Pay Table & Hand Ranks

  • Straight Flush – 40:1
  • 3 of a Kind – 30:1
  • Straight – 6:1
  • Flush – 4:1
  • 1 Pair – 1:1

I recommend playing here – it’s under the name tri-card poker. You can even play it for free to get a feel for the game. You don’t even need to create an account.

3-Card Poker Tips

Basic strategy states to raise with a Q-6-4 or better. That will give you a 3.3% house edge. Don’t get impatient and play worse hands – you’ll more than double the house edge.

But you can reduce the house edge, too. One way is by getting a peek (accidentally, of course) at the dealer’s cards. Just follow this strategy (thanks to the Wizard of Ods):

  • 2 to J – Always raise
  • Q – Raise with Q-9-2 or better
  • K – Raise with K-9-2 or better
  • A – Raise with A-9-2 or better
  • Face card – Raise with Q-J-5 or better
  • No face card – Always raise

Following this strategy you can get the house edge down to 2.41%.

Other than that, the best tip we can give you is to avoid the side bonuses, like the Mini Royal or Millionaire Maker. These boost the house edge to as high as 8-15 percent.

And with odds like that you might as well play slots.